Gainesville Midland Railway

No. 116 at Jefferson (May 2013 photo)

The Gainesville Midland, chartered in 1904, purchased most of the property of the Gainesville, Jefferson & Southern Railroad under a foreclosure sale the same year. It acquired a two-pronged, narrow-gauge line connecting Gainesville, Jefferson, and Monroe.

In 1906, the GM constructed a extension south from Jefferson to a connection with the Seaboard Air Line two miles west of Athens at Fowler Junction. From there, GM trains continued to Athens through a trackage rights agreement with SAL.

No. 208 at Winder.

The Athens extension was built at standard gauge but the rest of the line was still a narrow-gauge operation. The tracks from Jefferson to Gainesville were the first to be converted, in 1908. It was not until 1913 that the Monroe branch's tracks were widened.

In 1947-48 the GM abandoned the Monroe branch (Belmont to Monroe). Among the communities losing rail service were Braselton, Hoschton, and Bethlehem.

In 1959, GM’s 40-mile line from Gainesville to Athens was sold to Seaboard Air Line Railroad.

Maps, Timetables, and Other Information:

1906 timetable (25K)

1908 timetable (220K)

1913 map (247K)

1917 equipment list (180K)

1918 timetable (150K)

1929 timetable [Official Guide] (192K)

1929 timetable [Russell] (182K)

1931 map of Monroe branch (65K)

1955 map (51K)

No. 209 in downtown Gainesville.

Photo of No. 209 in operation at Digital Library of Georgia.

Online movie footage of GM No. 208 (shot in 1956 by Robert M. Soule, Jr. in and around Athens).

Suggested Reading:

Douglas van Veelen. The Gainesville Midland and her Sister Short Lines. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006. 

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. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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