The Covington and Macon Railroad Company was chartered in 1885
to build a rail line from Macon to the town of Covington, a small
but prosperous community on the Georgia Railroad about 35 miles
southeast of Atlanta. Construction began in the spring of 1886.
A year later a 34-mile section from Macon to Hillsboro had been
completed, but the company was struggling financially. Not long
after the rails reached Monticello in June of 1887, the railroads
officers decided to alter their plans by building to Athens instead
of Covington, a move primarily designed to attract new investment
dollars in the failing enterprise.
The strategy was successful and by March of 1888 the railroad was completed to Madison. The last section of the 105-mile standard-gauge line was built by the end of that year and the line opened for business January 15, 1889.
In that year, it reported operating 7 locomotives, 9 passenger cars, and 159 freight and miscellaneous cars.
Traffic on the new road fell below expectations, however, and
it was ordered to be sold at public auction on May 21, 1891. The
line was reorganized two days later as the Macon and Northern