Rome & Northern Railroad

Rome & Northern Railroad route

Silver Hill Road, on a section of the old Rome & Northern route.


The 19-mile line from Rome north to Gore was built in 1909-10 by R. G. Peters, a businessman from Manistee, Michigan, primarily for hauling iron ore from his mines in Chattooga, Walker, and Whitfield counties. Peters planned for his railroad to continue north through Subligna to Tunnel Hill, where it would connect with the Western & Atlantic Railroad, but it never proceeded any farther than Gore, a tiny community at the foot of Taylor Ridge in eastern Chattooga County.

A difficulty arose early in the project when Berry Schools' founder Martha Berry objected to the railroad's proposed route across the institution's property, fearing that it would disrupt school operations. Rome & Northern representatives assured her that the railroad would be a first-class, standard-gauge, passenger-carrying line, not merely a mining tramway. Berry reportedly sought $250,000 for the right of way, but later agreed to a relocation of the line away from the main campus and a $495 settlement.

Rome & Northern locomotive

This Tampa & Gulf Coast locomotive was earlier used on the Rome & Northern. (State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory).

One part of the mining operation was described in a 1912 publication:

Both of these methods of mining [open-cut and underground] have recently been employed by the R. G. Peters Mining Co., which operated mines just west of Shackelton for a year or so prior to 1911. Openings were made along several of the ravines and the ore was trammed in small cars to bins near the foot of each ravine. From the collecting bins the ore was fed into small steel cars or conveyors, which traveled on an aerial cable. In one place ore was carried from one hollow to another over an intervening spur. From the main collecting point the ore was carried by the aerial cable line to the Rome & Northern Railroad at Shackelton and then by railroad to the blast furnace of the Silver Creek Furnace Co., at Rome. It is understood that the operation of the aerial tramway was not a complete success.

Ernest F. Burchard, Preliminary Report on the Red Iron Ores of East Tennessee, Northeast Alabama, and Northwest Georgia, U. S. Geological Survey, 1912.

After several years of financial struggle, the railroad was abandoned in 1923. Berry purchased the south end of the line in 1925 and shortly afterwards sold it to the Central of Georgia. For a number of years it remained in operation to a point just west of Victory Lake.

Iron furnace at Rome, Georgia

Iron furnace at Rome. (From: Floyd County, Georgia, A Compilation of Facts for the Information of Home Seekers, Business Men, and the World at Large, Floyd County Industrial Association, 1895. Online at HathiTrust Digital Library here.)

Description of iron furnace at Rome,  c.1907

(From: Directory of Iron and Steel Works in the United States and Canada, 1908. Online at Hathi Trust Digital Library.)


Maps, Timetables, and Other Information:

1910 timetable (58K)

1912 map (96K)

1913 map (107K)

1915 map (20K)

1917 equipment list (132K)

1918 timetable (70K)

1920 map (44K) Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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