The MG&A was incorporated in October 1889 as successor to the Eatonton and Machen Railroad Company, which apparently constructed little, if any, track. The line between Eatonton and Machen opened in 1891. An extension from Machen to Covington was completed in 1893. (Machen is a tiny community in Jasper County on the south side of slightly larger Shady Dale.)
On October 1, 1893, the MG&A leased the Eatonton Branch Railroad, a 22-mile line between Milledgeville and Eatonton, previously leased to the Central of Georgia.
The MG&A planned to build a branch line from Carmel Junction (Mansfield) to the Georgia Railroad at Social Circle, but it was never constructed.
In the 1894 edition of The Official Railway List, the MG&A reported operating 65 miles of railroad with 3 locomotives, 5 passenger cars, and 12 freight cars.
In December 1896 the Central of Georgia bought the MG&A in a foreclosure sale and operated it as its Milledgeville-Covington branch line. The Central completed a 4-mile branch line from Covington to Porterdale on June 30, 1899.
The Central abandoned the 18 miles of line from Eatonton to Machen in 1959; Machen to Covington/Porterdale remained in operation.
In 1988 the Porterdale-Covington section was abandoned, and the following year Central successor Norfolk Southern leased the Covington-Machen line to Great Walton Railroad, an arrangement that lasted until 2009. Afterwards, the eastern section of the line (12.5 miles from Newborn to Machen) was leased to Squaw Creek Southern Railroad, while the western section from Newborn to Covington became inactive.
In mid-2013 Norfolk Southern received STB approval to abandon the Covington-Newborn section and remove the tracks.
Eatonton to Milledgeville remains in operation as a branch of Norfolk Southern.
Maps and Timetables:
1895 map (156K)
1895 map of projected line (102K)
1895 timetable (196K)
1911 map, then Central of Georgia (37K)
1919 map, Putnam County, then Central of Georgia (324K)