Roswell Railroad

The Roswell Railroad Company was incorporated in Georgia in 1879 as successor to the Atlanta & Roswell Railroad Company. It was controlled by the Atlanta & Charlotte Air-Line Railroad Company, which constructed the 10-mile, 3-foot gauge line and opened it for business on September 1, 1881. In the same year, the A&CAL was leased to the Richmond & Danville Railroad (which became Southern Railway in 1894).

The line joined the A&CAL at Roswell Junction (now Chamblee) and proceeded north to the south side of the Chattahoochee River. Although the railroad’s owners had planned to cross the river and continue into Roswell, no bridge was ever built because of the expense.

In 1888 the little railroad had one locomotive, one passenger car, two box cars, and four flatcars. Its tracks were converted to standard gauge in 1902-1903.

In 1902 a branch line opened from a point just north of the Dunwoody Station to Bull Sluice Shoals. First called the Bull Sluice Railroad and later the Morgan Falls Branch, the 2.75-mile spur was built to haul materials for constructing a dam and power plant at the site.

Roswell Railroad tracks running to Morgan Falls Dam site

Roswell Railroad branch line running to Morgan Falls dam construction site.
More photos. (From: Art Work of Atlanta, Georgia, published in Nine Parts, by Gravure Illustration Company, 1903. Online at Internet Archive.)

In 1905, the railroad brought President Theodore Roosevelt to Roswell to visit Bulloch Hall, the childhood home of his mother, the former Martha Bulloch.

In 1921, Poor’s Manual reported that the railroad had one locomotive, one passenger car, and six freight cars. It was abandoned the same year.

According to an article in the June 1, 1994 issue of the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, the railroad “began in Chamblee about a half-mile south of the site of Oglethorpe University on Peachtree Road. (Chamblee originally was known as Roswell Junction.) Its path crossed Little Nancy’s Creek, ran through the present site of Chamblee First Methodist Church and continued northward through the Ramada Inn property at Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, then Roberts Drive and Northridge Road before crossing Georgia 400. It traveled northward along the east side of Dunwoody Place before reaching the Roswell Depot located at what is now the North River shopping center on Georgia 9 on a bluff overlooking the river.”

A short section of the Bull Sluice/Morgan Falls branch line can be seen in Big Trees Forest Preserve.


1883 map (42K)

1888 map (290K)

Suggested Reading:

Michael D. Hitt. History of the Roswell Railroad, 1853-1921, published 1994. See Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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