Birmingham Terminal Railway

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Birmingham Terminal Railway
Birmingham Terminal Railway logo.jpg
Reporting mark BHRR
Locale Birmingham, Alabama and surrounding area
Dates of operation 3 March 1899 (Birmingham Southern)
1 February 2012 (Birmingham Terminal)–present
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Pittsburg, Kansas (corporate); Fairfield, Alabama (operations)
Website Official website

Birmingham Terminal Railway (reporting mark BHRR)[1] (formerly Birmingham Southern Railroad) is a subsidiary of Watco Companies, operator of several short-line railroad companies. The BHRR operates on 75.9 miles (122.1 km) miles of track,[1] providing switching services in the Birmingham, Alabama area.


The Birmingham Southern Railroad Company was organized on March 3, 1899. The line was originally built between 1878 from Birmingham to Pratt City, AL to haul coal to the steel mills in Birmingham. The line was extended to Ensley, AL in 1887.

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad and the Southern Railway jointly purchased and operated the Birmingham Southern shortly after the Birmingham Southern's organization. The Birmingham Southern was later sold to the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company, which in 1906 became a part of the United States Steel Corporation and remained a U.S.S. Corp. subsidiary until 1988. The railroad expanded its lines in the western industrial section of Jefferson County by 1910. In 1966, the Birmingham Southern acquired the 18-mile Federal Barge Lines (also known as the Barge Line Railroad) that ran from Ensley to Port Birmingham, giving the Birmingham Southern access to Mobile, AL via the barge lines of the Warrior River. The Barge Line Railroad track was formerly owned by the Southern Railway.

In 1988 the Birmingham Southern was sold to Transtar, Inc., the transportation subsidiary of United States Steel. In 1989, United States Steel sold Transtar and Transtar became a privately held company specializing in the operation of short line railroads and barge lines that primarily serve United States Steel and its predecessors.

On May 17, 2007, Birmingham Southern Railroad was awarded a Gold E. H. Harriman Award in the S&T Group for the railroad's 2006 safety record.[2]

On December 2, 2011, Watco Companies announced plans to purchase the Birmingham Southern.[3] The railroad was subsequently renamed Birmingham Terminal Railway; operations under the new name began on 1 February 2012.[1]


  • Edward A. Lewis, American Shortline Railway Guide 5th ed. (Kalmbach Books, 1996)
  • Mike Walker, SPV's Comprehensive Railroad Atlas of North America – Southern States (Steam Powered Publishing & SPV, 2001)
  • Birmingham Southern Railroad
  • Transtar
  1. ^ a b c "Watco launches 26th short line". Progressive Railroading. 2 February 2012. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Railroad Employees Post Safest Year Ever in 2006" (Press release). Association of American Railroads. 2007-05-17. Retrieved 2007-05-18. 
  3. ^ "Watco adds third railroad in a week". Trains Magazine. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2011.