In 1834, the Monroe Railroad Company began building a rail line between Forsyth, the county seat of Monroe County, and Macon, the planned northern terminus of the new Central of Georgia Railroad. The first train traveled the 25 miles between the two towns in December, 1838.
The economic depression of the early 1840s lead to the bankruptcy of the new railroad, and it was sold in 1845 to Daniel Tyler, of Norwich, Connecticut. Tyler established the new Macon and Western Railroad Company to own and operate it.
Tyler and his associates completed the 103-mile line between Macon and Atlanta in the summer of 1846, giving the latter city three railroads (the other two were the Western & Atlantic and the Georgia Railroad), with a fourth, the Atlanta & West Point soon to come. It also provided the city with a rail connection to Savannah by way of Macon.
As an important Confederate supply line, the railroad was a target of Sherman's troops in the 1864 Atlanta Campaign and the early stages of the March to the Sea. It suffered some damage during the war, but not nearly as much as the Georgia Railroad between Atlanta and the Oconee River and the Central Railroad from east of Macon to Savannah.
Union troops tearing up a section of the M&W in 1864. (From: Life and Deeds of General Sherman: including the story of his great march to the sea, 1890. Online at Internet Archive here.)