Incorporated in 1888, the Midville, Swainsboro & Red Bluff Railroad Company opened its line from Midville, on the Central of Georgia, to Swainsboro in 1889. Previously named the Midville, Swainsboro & Mount Vernon Railroad, it was intended to reach the lower Oconee River at Red Bluff or Mount Vernon, but it never progressed beyond Swainsboro.
Railroad historian H. Roger Grant notes that the railroad probably originated as a logging tram constructed between Midville and Swainsboro between the late 1870s and 1887.
In the 1894 edition of The Official Railway List, the Midville, Swainsboro & Red Bluff reported operating 20 miles of railroad with 3 locomotives, 1 passenger car, and 20 freight and miscellaneous cars.
Sometime around 1905, the line became the Atlantic & Gulf Short Line . It was briefly leased to the Augusta & Florida Railway before the Georgia & Florida Railroad bought the A&F in 1906.