Southern Railway

Southern Railway was chartered in 1894 as successor to the Richmond and West Point Terminal Railway and Warehouse Company, a holding company which owned or controlled several rail lines in the South, including the Richmond and Danville Railroad, the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway, the Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad, and the Alabama Great Southern Railroad.

In 1895, Southern bought the 105-mile Atlanta and Florida Railway.

In 1896, Southern leased the 100-mile Georgia Midland Railway.

Southern Railway gained control of the South Carolina and Georgia and the Augusta Southern in 1899. (The Augusta Southern was sold to the Georgia and Florida in 1917.)

Consolidation-type freight hauler built for Southern by Brooks Locomotive Works in 1896.

Southern acquired the Central of Georgia Railway and the Georgia and Florida in 1963. (The G&F was merged into the Central in 1971.)Southern Ry logo

In 1966, Southern acquired the Georgia Northern and the Albany and Northern.

In 1971, Southern purchased the Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia Railway.

Also in 1971, Southern merged its South Georgia Railroad and Live Oak, Perry and Gulf Railroad to form the Live Oak, Perry and South Georgia Railway, running from Adel, Georgia to Perry, Florida.

In 1972, Southern merged the Albany and Northern, the Georgia, Ashburn, Sylvester, and Camilla, and the Georgia Northern into a single subsidiary.

In 1980, Southern and Norfolk & Western announced an agreement to merge into a combined system encompassing over 17,000 miles of track. On June 1, 1982, the merger was completed and the Norfolk Southern Railway was born.

Baldwin ten-wheeler built for Southern in the early 1900s.

Southern's Palm Limited passenger train. (From: Railway and Locomotive Engineering, June 1906).

Abandonments:
• Roswell - Chamblee (former Roswell Railroad) abandoned 1923.
• Villa Rica branch abandoned 1925.
• Roseland (Atlanta) - Williamson (former Atlanta & Florida) abandoned 1939.
• Coosa (Rome) - Alabama (former Rome & Decatur) abandoned 1948.
• Cornelia - Franklin, NC (former Tallulah Falls) abandoned 1961.
• Albany - Cordele (former Albany and Northern) abandoned 1977.
• Williamson - Roberta (former Atlanta & Florida) abandoned 1977.
• McDonough - Griffin (former Georgia Midland & Gulf) abandoned 1979.
• Greenville - Raymond (former Central of Georgia) abandoned 1981.
• Chambers/Silver Creek - Relay (former CofG south of Rome) abandoned 1981.

For later abandonments, see Norfolk Southern. See also subsidiary railroads such as Georgia & Florida, Georgia Northern, and Central of Georgia.

Two Southern Railway lines once crossed at Williamson, a small town southwest of Griffin. One connected Atlanta and Fort Valley and the other linked Columbus and McDonough. Both are now gone.

Maps and Timetables:

1895 timetables

Atlanta and Birmingham

Atlanta and Brunswick

Atlanta and Charlotte

Atlanta and Fort Valley

Chamblee and Roswell

Chattanooga-Rome-Anniston

Cohutta-Rome-Atlanta

Rome-Gadsden

Toccoa and Elberton

Cochran and Hawkinsville


1895 map

1897 map at Library of Congress

1901 map at North Carolina Maps

1916 map

1917 map


1917 timetables

Athens-Lula

Atlanta-Birmingham

Atlanta-Charlotte

Atlanta-Columbus

Atlanta-Fort Valley

Chamblee-Roswell

Chattanooga-Atlanta-Macon-Jacksonville-Brunswick

Cochran-Hawkinsville

Rome-Attalla

Rome-Selma

Toccoa-Elberton


1922 map at North Carolina Maps

1929 map at North Carolina Maps

1944 map (102K)

1909 & 1947 maps at University of Alabama Map Library

1953 map, Cochran - Hawkinsville (281K)

1955 map, Columbus - Warm Springs (516K)

1953-55 map, Warm Springs - Griffin (667K)

1953 map, Griffin - McDonough (268K)

1968-70 map, Rome - Piedmont, AL (675K)

Baldwin mallet articulated compound engine built around 1911 for Southern. (From: Railway & Locomotive Engineering, June 1911.)

Equipment summary from The Official Railway Equipment Register, Volume 33. October, 1917. Complete publication is online at Google Books.

Suggested Reading:

Burke Davis. The Southern Railway; Road of the Innovators. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985.

Maury Klein. The Great Richmond Terminal; A Study in Businessmen and Business Strategy. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1970.

Sallie Loy, Dick Hillman, and C. Pat Cates. The Southern Railway. (Images of America series). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Sallie Loy, Dick Hillman, and C. Pat Cates. The Southern Railway: Further Recollections. (Images of Rail series). Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2005.

Tom Murray. Southern Railway. (MBI Railroad Color History). Osceola, WI: Voyageur Press, 2007.

More:

Southern Railway in Georgia -- "family tree"

More info at Southern Railway Historical Association

Vintage photos of the Southern at hawkinsrails.net.

Southern R.R. Co. Crescent Locomotive in 1916. (Cropped photograph; complete photograph is online at Library of Congress here.)

Southern No. 6901 at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth, GA.

Southern passenger car at the Southeastern Railway Museum.


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