Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad

GS&F no. 117 at Valdosta in 1911. Built by Baldwin in 1900.
(State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory).

Chartered in 1885, the Georgia Southern & Florida Railroad built a rail line from Macon, Georgia, to Palatka, Florida, over a distance of 285 miles. It was opened between Macon and Valdosta in February 1889 and was completed to Palatka in March of the following year.

The company quickly encountered financial trouble, entering receivership in 1891; President W.B. Sparks of Macon was appointed receiver. In 1895 it was reorganized as the Georgia Southern & Florida Railway under the control of the Southern Railway.

In the 1894 edition of The Official Railway List, the GS&F reported operating 382 miles with 34 locomotives, 25 passenger cars, and 1,445 freight and miscellaneous cars.

In 1902 the GS&F bought the property of the Atlantic, Valdosta & Western Railway between Valdosta and Jacksonville. It also owned the Macon & Birmingham Railroad and the Hawkinsville & Florida Southern Railway.

In 1917GS&F logo the railroad reported owning 392 miles of line consisting of 285 miles from Macon to Palatka and 107 miles from Valdosta to Grand Crossing, near Jacksonville.

The line’s nickname was the Suwanee River Route. It crossed the stream, made famous by an 1850s Stephen Foster song, at White Springs, FL. A second Suwanee crossing, at Fargo, GA, came with the acquisition of the Atlantic, Valdosta & Western.

Today the GS&F remains officially in existence as a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern. It no longer extends to Palatka, ending at Lake City instead. The NS main line is now the former Atlantic, Valdosta & Western to Jacksonville.

Old postcard showing the GS&F Suwanee River bridge at White Springs, FL. The railroad was misidentified as the "G&FS."
(State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory).

Maps, Timetables, and Other Information:

1888 timetable (185K)

1895 timetable (383K)

1895 map (340K)

1910 map Macon to Valdosta (172K)

1910 map Valdosta to Jacksonville (68K)

1917 equipment list (38K)

1918 timetable (290K)

1918 map (335K)

1918 list of officers (108K)

GS&F no. 504 at Valdosta, 1911. Built by Baldwin in 1910.
(State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory)

GS&F no. 157 at Macon in 1916. Built by Baldwin in 1905.
(State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory).



connections list 2

This list of the GS&F's rail connections appeared in a booklet titled A Souvenir of the Georgia Southern & Florida Railway published in Macon around 1895. Among the railroads mentioned are the Southern Railway, the Central of Georgia, the Macon & Northern, the Georgia Railroad, the Macon, Dublin & Savannah, the Savannah, Americus & Montgomery, the Plant System, the Florida Central & Peninsular, the Georgia Midland & Gulf, the Columbus Southern, and the Atlanta & West Point.

Suwanee River Route logo Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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