Georgia Northeastern Railroad

Georgia Northeastern train at Jasper's wooden truss bridge, March 2015.

The Georgia Northeastern dates back to 1987 when CSX ceased its operations on the old Louisville & Nashville line between Marietta and Ellijay. CSX sold the tracks between Marietta and Tate to the new shortline and leased to it the tracks from Tate to Ellijay.

In August 1990, the Georgia Northeastern was sold to Wilds Pierce, an Atlanta businessman and owner of Railcar Management, Inc.

The railroad was originally built in the 1870s and 1880s by the Marietta & North Georgia Railroad as a narrow-gauge line from the Western & Atlantic at Marietta to the North Carolina town of Murphy. Most of the route was converted to standard gauge in 1889-90. (The Blue Ridge-Murphy section was not changed over until late in 1897).


Georgia Northeastern locomotive at Canton.

No. 9708 at Canton.


Georgia Northeastern train passes Holly Springs depot, 2015.

Georgia Northeastern train passing by Holly Springs depot, 2015.


Georgia Northeastern diesel locomotive

No. 7562 at Blue Ridge. (Photo by Leamon Scott).


In the mid-1990s, Georgia DOT purchased the line between Whitepath (about 5 miles north of Ellijay) and Blue Ridge, along with the tracks from Blue Ridge to McCaysville/Copperhill and the short branch from Blue Ridge to Mineral Bluff. These were leased to Georgia Northeastern.

DOT also worked with Georgia Northeastern to rehabilitate the tracks between Whitepath and Blue Ridge. These had been inactive and seriously neglected for years.


Motorcar on Turniptown Creek trestle, between Ellijay and Blue Ridge, in 1997. At the time, NARCOA volunteers were helping to remove overgrowth from years of disuse. (Photo by Kenneth Huffines).

No. 4125 at Tate. (Photo by Kenneth Huffines).

A particularly notable success was the establishment of a passenger excursion line, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which began operating over the 13-mile section between Blue Ridge and McCaysville/Copperhill in the spring of 1998. The line follows the west bank of the picturesque Toccoa River, crossing it about a mile before entering McCaysville.

Excursion trains also run to McCaysville/Copperhill from the Tennessee side, thanks to the Copperhill Special route of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. These trains run from Etowah, TN, through the lower Hiwassee River Gorge and over the Hiwassee Loop, two renowned features of the Hook and Eye Line.

Reporting marks: GNRR.

2000 map (204K)

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

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