The SR&D was chartered in 1848 as the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad. The line was planned as a Selma to Gadsden connection but at the end of the Civil War it reached only as far north as Blue Mountain (near Anniston). By 1867 the company’s directors had decided to abandon their Gadsden plans and instead extend the line one hundred miles to Rome and Dalton where it could connect with the Western and Atlantic Railway and other well-established routes between the upper and lower southern states.
In 1868 the company reported operating 135 miles of railroad with 16 locomotives, 4 passenger cars, 45 box cars, 80 flat cars, 3 stock cars, 3 baggage/mail/express cars, and 20 other cars.
The line was completed to Dalton in 1870.
The extension did not, however, ensure the financial stability of the company. It entered receivership in 1874 and was sold and reorganized as the Georgia Southern Railroad. In 1881 the line was sold again, this time to the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad, which had owned much of the stock of the Georgia Southern.
1870 timetable (60K)
1877 map (340K)
1877 map 2 (63K)
(Photo above is from George M. Battey, Jr. A History of Rome and Floyd County. Atlanta: Webb & Vary, 1922. Online at Internet Archive.)