History Of The Central Of Georgia Railway (In and near Wadley):

Central Of Georgia Rail Road Main Line:

The Central Rail Road and Canal Company was organized in 1833 by a group of Savannah businessmen. Construction of their new line began in late 1835. Meanwhile the company decided to go into the banking business to attract capital investment in the railroad. To better reflect its new interests it changed its name to Central Rail Road and Banking Company of Georgia.The line was complete from Savannah to Oliver by 1839 and to Macon in 1843. (It was not until 1851, however, that a bridge over the Ocmulgee was built.) At Macon a connection with Atlanta was made by way of the Macon & Western Railroad, which had completed its line in 1846. At Millen, the Central connected with the Augusta and Waynesboro Railroad, a 53-mile line to Augusta. The A&W was chartered in 1838 and completed in 1854. Its name was changed to Augusta and Savannah Railroad on February 16, 1856.The Eatonton Branch Railroad, from Milledgeville to Eatonton, was leased by the Central. Chartered in 1850, the line opened in 1853. It was later consolidated into the Central by an act of 1859. It connected with the Central main line at Gordon via the Milledgeville and Gordon Railroad (chartered 1837, opened 1852).The Central leased the Augusta and Savannah Railroad in 1862 and the Southwestern Railroad in 1869.The 16-mile Upson County Railroad from Thomaston to Barnesville was controlled by the Central from the early 1870s. The Central eventually acquired all of its stock.n 1875, the Georgia Railroad and the Central jointly purchased the Western Railroad of Alabama.
In 1881, William M. Wadley, president of the Central from 1866 to 1882, personally leased the Georgia Railroad. Along with it he acquired the Georgia’s interests in the WR of A and the Atlanta and West Point. Wadley then assigned the lease jointly to the Central of Georgia and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.In 1886 the railroad changed the gauge of its tracks from five feet to the standard four feet, eight and a half inches.In June and July, 1888, the Central consolidated a number of lines it owned or leased into the 400-mile Savannah & Western.By 1888, the Central was controlled by the Richmond Terminal Company, a holding company with extensive railroad interests throughout the South.In July of 1890, the Central acquired all of the stock of the Savannah and Atlantic Railroad, an 18-mile excursion railroad between Savannah and Tybee Island. See 1897 map (132K).In 1890 the Central owned or controlled 2300 miles of railroad and was one of the most efficient and prosperous systems in the South. Unfortunately its control by the Richmond Terminal Company would lead to financial disaster.As a result of a bond default and a shareholder’s lawsuit in 1892, the Central entered receivership. The Terminal Company suffered the same fate that summer, along with the Terminal Company-controlled lines Richmond & Danville and East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia.
The Central was sold at foreclosure three years later. Reorganized as Central of Georgia Railway on November 1, 1895, the new company also acquired the properties and franchises of the Savannah and Atlantic Railroad, the Macon and Northern Railway, and the Savannah and Western Railroad, as well as two lines in Alabama. A major interest in the Central was held by the Southern Railway, successor to the Terminal Company.On April 1, 1896, Seaboard Air-Line Railway began operating the Central’s 58-mile Lyons Branch (Meldrim-Lyons) under a perpetual lease.In 1897, the Central purchased the Middle Georgia and Atlantic Railway, a 64-mile line from Milledgeville to Covington, and the following year it bought the Louisville and Wadley Railroad, a 10-mile line in Jefferson County.In 1898, the Central’s half-interest in the lease of the Georgia Railroad was sold to the Louisville & Nashville Railroad.
Sometime before 1899 the Central built a short connecting line between Andersonville and LaCrosse, the latter a place about five miles southeast of Ellaville on the Central’s Columbus-Americus line. This line was abandoned before 1915.The Central completed a branch line to Porterdale, south of Covington, on June 30, 1899.
In July of 1900, the Central acquired the 58-mile Bruton and Pineora Railway which ran from Bruton (now Brewton) to Register, and in 1901 bought the Dover and Statesboro Railroad, a ten-mile line between those two towns. It connected these two by building 9 miles of tracks between Register and Statesboro. The new line opened June 9, 1901.On May 16, 1901, the Central reacquired the Chattanooga, Rome and Southern Railway, a 138-mile line between Carrollton, Ga. and Chattanooga. (This purchase included the 17-mile branch line between Chickamauga and Durham.) The Central had previously owned the CR&S through its Savannah and Western subsidiary, but had lost it during the financial troubles of the mid-1890s.During 1902-04, the U.S. Army built a new cavalry post on 800 acres near the community of Dodge, which was situated at the northern edge of Chickamauga Battlefield Park. Included in the work was a new rail spur from the CR&S tracks at McFarland Gap on Missionary Ridge to the military camp, which was soon named Fort Oglethorpe.
In 1904 the Central built a 9.5-mile line from Lyerly southwest to Dewey, Alabama. The latter was at the foot of Dirtseller Mountain, about two miles from the Georgia-Alabama state line.In 1905 the Central bought the unfinished Greenville and Newnan Railway and completed it to Raymond. It opened for traffic in mid-1906.In 1906, the Central acquired the Stillmore Air Line Railway and merged it with the Wadley and Mount Vernon to form the Wadley Southern Railway.In 1907, rail baron Edward H. Harriman gained control of the Central. He sold his interest two years later to his Illinois Central Railroad. In 1920 the 4 miles of branch line from Lyerly to Woodyard was abandoned. This was the last remaining section of the 9.5-mile Dewey branch, much of which had been abandoned earlier.
The Central entered receivership again in 1932 and endured a shaky financial situation throughout the Depression and World War II. The Illinois Central gave up on its interests in the system in 1942, writing off the substantial investments made by Harriman and itself since 1907. In 1944 the Central sold its half ownership of the Western Railway of Alabama.After the war, the railroad’s finances improved significantly and in 1948 the long receivership came to an end. In 1951 the Central bought the Savannah and Atlanta Railway.The Central Junction-to-Oliver line was abandoned in 1962. It was replaced by a parallel section of the former Savannah & Atlanta. In 1956 the Frisco (St. Louis-San Francisco Railway) gained control of the Central after several years of purchasing its stock. The Frisco had reached as far east as Birmingham and Pensacola and was planning to gain direct access to the Atlantic seaboard. Citing a concern about limited competition, the Interstate Commerce Commission forced the Frisco to sell its Central stock in 1963. The purchaser was Southern Railway.The Central’s name was changed in 1971 to Central of Georgia Railroad when Southern Railway decided to merge it, the Georgia and Florida, the Wrightsville and Tennille, and the Savannah and Atlanta into a single subsidiary. This arrangement survived the 1982 merger of Southern and Norfolk and Western, and the Central continues to be an operating unit of the Norfolk Southern Corporation.

*Comes from RailGa

Branch Lines:

Louisville And Wadley Branch:

This railroad was first incorporated in August 1872 as the Louisville Branch Railroad Company. The 10-mile Louisville & Wadley opened in October of 1879. The name was changed to the Louisville and Wadley Railroad Company Aug. 14, 1879. Ten miles in length, the tracks were constructed in 1879 connecting Louisville and Wadley.

The Central bought the railroad Dec. 7, 1898, and sold it to a group of citizens on Sept. 18, 1961.

Passenger service ended in 1953.

Service to Louisville was discontinued in 1971 due to bridge failure over Boggy Gut Creek just northeast of Wadley. The track now ends short of the US Route 1 Bypass in Wadley, extending from the connection with Norfolk-Southern (formerly Central of Georgia) in Wadley for a total of 2 miles. Rail service has been suspended on the remaining line and the track is in an advanced state of disrepair.

From Wadley, the line extended through Gibson Junction, Moxley, Aldreds and into Louisville.

This line is now known as the Louisville and Wadley Railway Company. Click Here To see some pictures!

This Information comes from the Central of Georgia Historical SocietyRailGa, and abondonedrails.com.

Wadley & Mount Vernon Railroad:

The first 16 miles of the W&MV, from Wadley southwards, was built as a logging road. A 13-mile extension of the line to Ricksville was completed in 1889. According to Poors 1895 Manual, the entire property was sold to the Wadley and Mount Vernon Railroad Company, chartered April 30, 1890, which intended to connect its namesake towns via a 54-mile line. Some time later, however, the original plans changed and the W&MV set its sights farther, to lands south of the Ocmulgee River. The line was extended to Rockledge in 1902 and to the Oconee River soon afterwards. At Barrows Bluff on the Ocmulgee, the W&MV built a line south to Douglas between 1902 and 1904.No additional trackage was ever constructed. Perhaps the costs of bridging both the Oconee and the Ocmulgee were too great for the W&MV to bear.The short section of track from Rockledge to the Oconee River was abandoned around 1905, and the Douglas-Barrows Bluff line was sold to the Douglas, Augusta, and Gulf Railroad the following year. The Central of Georgia bought the W&MV in 1906 and merged it with the Stillmore Air Line Railway to form the Wadley Southern Railway.

This Information comes from RailGa.

Stillmore Air Line Railway:

Chartered in November 1892, the Stillmore opened its first section of tracks from Stillmore to Collins in July 1893. A northern extension to Swainsboro opened in 1896, and by 1901 the rails had been extended north from Swainsboro to Wadley.In 1906, the Central of Georgia acquired the line and merged it with the Wadley and Mount Vernon, forming the Wadley Southern Railway.

This Information comes from RailGa.

Wadley Southern Branch:

Originally this rail had a total mileage of 89 miles, but later was reduced to 20 miles connecting Wadley to Swainsboro. First incorporated as the Wadley and Mount Vernon Railroad Company on June 25, 1889, the name was changed to Wadley Southern Railway Company by charter amendment in 1906.

The Central acquired the Wadley Southern on July 1, 1906, and had sold it to a group of citizens on April 25, 1962. This line is now known as the Wadley Southern Railroad Company.The new Wadley Southern operated a 53-mile line from Wadley to Collins (the former Stillmore Air Line) and a 37-mile line from Wadley to Rockledge (the former W&MV).

Wadley-Rockledge abandoned in the 1920s.

Collins-Swainsboro abandoned 1929.

Swainsboro-Wadley abandoned 1964.

This Information comes from the Central of Georgia Historical Society, and RailGa.

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