Gainesville & Northwestern Railroad

Gainesville & Northwestern Railroad locomotive

Chartered in 1912, the G&NW built a rail line from Gainesville to Cleveland in 1913 and extended it to Robertstown (about two miles west of Helen) in 1915.

The 35-mile line, nicknamed the Nacoochee Valley Route, served the lumber mills of Helen and Robertstown, as well as Cleveland, Clermont, and other communities along its route.

In 1917 it was operating three locomotives, two passenger cars, and seven freight cars.

The lumber business declined during the 1920s, and the other shippers along the line could not keep it in operation. The 1.5 miles between Helen and Robertstown was abandoned in 1928. The remainder was abandoned and dismantled in June of 1934.

Nacoochee Valley landmarks include the Indian mound and gazebo at the Nichols-Hardman farm. Yonah Mountain is in the background.
(Library of Congress).

Gainesville & Northwestern depot at Nacoochee, near Helen. More info.

Maps and timetables:

1918 timetable (90K)

1920 map (52K)

1929 timetable in Russell's Railway Guide (70K)

1929 timetable in Official Guide (300K)

1931 map (59K)


Suggested reading:

Thomas Fetters, Logging Railroads of the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, Vol. 2, Tallulah Falls, Anna Ruby Falls, and Jeffrey's Hell. Hillsboro, OR: Timber Times, 2010.

Gainesville & Northwestern Railroad, 1913 mileage chart

* Indicates non-agency station. From: Report of the Railroad Commission of Georgia, 1913.


From The Official Railway Equipment Register, Volume 33. October 1917. Complete publication is online at Google Books. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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