Incorporated in 1872, the 10-mile Louisville & Wadley Railroad opened in October 1879. It ran from Louisville, the county seat of Jefferson County, to Wadley, on the main stem of the Central of Georgia Railway.
Although Louisville had once been Georgia's state capital, its lack of a railroad before the 1870s had made it somewhat of a backwater. A historian writing in the early 1900s described the change brought by the rails:
|"Louisville was not very prosperous after the capital was changed to Milledgeville, until the Louisville and Wadley Railroad was built about 1875, connecting the town with the Central. Ever since then the town has been fairly prosperous, a statement attested by the fact that it supports two banks, has an oil mill and a guano mixing plant, and does a good mercantile business. The population of the town is about 1,500."
Lucian Lamar Knight. Georgia's Landmarks, Memorials, and Legends; Volume One, 1913.
In 1889 the railroad reported operating 1 locomotive, 2 passenger cars, and 2 freight and miscellaneous cars.
The L&W was sold to the Central in 1898, but was allowed to operate independently.
In 1919 the L&W reported operating 1 locomotive and 2 combination cars on 40 and 56 pound rails. For that calendar year it carried 14,151 passengers and moved 24,895 tons of revenue freight.
Expenses for structures and maintenance of way added up to $12,364, and expenses for maintaining equipment totalled $2,622. Expenses categorized under transportation, traffic, and general added up to $21,606. The deficit from operations was $3,619 and unpaid taxes amounted to $1,212. Uncollectible revenues in the amount of $38 were also reported.
At the time the L&W was under the control of the U.S. Railroad Administration, so it was perhaps not a typical year.
In 1961 the Central sold the line to a new company which operated it as the Louisville and Wadley Railway.
1883 map (39K)
Old photos of the L&W at carrtracks.com