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Mount Yonah's Steam Locomotive

About halfway between Cleveland and Helen is Mount Yonah, an isolated mountain with a distinctive bare rock face near its top. Near its western base was once the Gainesville and Northwestern Railroad, a 35-mile line that connected the lumber mills at Helen to the Southern Railway main line at Gainesville. It was abandoned in the 1930s. Old maps indicate that two stations, Yonah and Mount Yonah, served the area.

A few years ago a gift shop named Yonah Station opened up in a railroad depot-styled building near the mountain. This locomotive was placed out front beside the highway (GA 75), presumably to grab the attention of tourists passing by. A saddle-tank ALCO 0-4-0, the 1904 engine came from the Rockton & Rion Railway, a quarry line in Fairfield County, South Carolina, where it was engine No. 20. The Rockton & Rion is now incorporated into the South Carolina Railroad Museum.

A few parts are missing but at least it avoided the scrapper's torch.

 


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