Hartwell Railroad

The Hartwell Railroad Company was chartered in 1878, and its 10-mile, 3-foot gauge line from Hartwell to Bowersville was completed in late 1879. In 1898, it was reorganized as the Hartwell Railway.

Southern Railway gained control of the line in 1902 and converted it to standard gauge in 1905. The Hartwell's narrow-gauge wood-burner Nancy Hart was then replaced with a larger coal-burning engine.

In 1917, Poor’s Manual of the Railroads reported that the Hartwell operated one locomotive and one passenger car.

In 1924, Southern Railway sold the line to a group of local businessmen.

Hart County Scenic Railway caboose and steam engine in Hartwell, 1980s.

In the 1980s, the Hartwell briefly operated a tourist train, the Hart County Scenic Railway, between Hartwell and Bowersville. Motive power was occasionally provided by No. 11, a Baldwin 2-6-2 steamer built in 1925.

In addition to its original line, the Hartwell now operates the 48-mile former Norfolk Southern line between Toccoa and Elberton.

The Hartwell Railroad Company has no employees; it contracts with the Great Walton Railroad to operate its lines.

Reporting mark: HRT.

Side of Hartwell locomotive shows green and yellow lettering and logo


1883 map (50K)

1889 map (501K)

1889-90 map (301K)

2000 map (72K)

More information and photos at hawkinsrails.net.

Hartwell Railroad diesel locomotives

Hartwell Railroad locomotives at work in Lavonia in early 2000.

Hartwell Railroad, 1886 timetable

Hartwell Railroad timetable of 1895


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

Railroad History | The Depot List | Locomotives On Display | Odds & Ends | Sources & References | Home