Central of Georgia Railway

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Central of Georgia Railway
1903 Poor's Central of Georgia Railway.jpg
1903 map of the Central of Georgia Railway
Reporting mark CG
Locale Georgia, Alabama
Dates of operation 1895–1963
Successor Southern Railway
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 1,944 miles (3,129 km) in 1929
Headquarters Savannah, Georgia

The Central of Georgia Railway (reporting mark CG) started as the Central Rail Road and Canal Company in 1833. As a way to better attract investment capital, the railroad changed its name to Central Rail Road and Banking Company of Georgia. This railroad was constructed to join the Macon and Western Railroad at Macon, Georgia and run to Savannah, Georgia. This created a rail link from Chattanooga on the Tennessee River to seaports on the Atlantic Ocean. It took from 1837 to 1843 to finish this railroad all the way to Macon and until 1851 to get a bridge built across the Ocmulgee River.[1]

During the Savannah Campaign of the American Civil War conducted south of the Ocmulgee during November–December 1864, rails were torn up and converted into "Sherman's neckties."[2]


Over the years, this railroad steadily acquired other railroads by either lease or purchase:[3]

  • Augusta and Savannah Railroad 1862
  • Eatonton Branch Railroad 1855
  • Milledgeville and Eatonton Railroad 1855
  • Milledgeville and Gordon Railroad 1855
  • Mobile and Girard Railroad 1886
    • Girard Railroad 1857
  • Savannah and Tybee Railroad 1890
  • Savannah and Western Railroad 1890
    • Chattanooga, Rome and Columbus Railroad 1891
      • Rome and Carrollton Railroad 1887
    • Columbus and Rome Railroad 1888
      • Columbus and Atlanta Air Line Railroad 1879
        • North and South Railroad of Georgia 1877
    • Columbus and Western Railroad 1888
      • Savannah and Memphis Railroad 1880
    • East Alabama Railroad 1888
      • East Alabama and Cincinnati Railroad 1880
  • Savannah, Griffin and Northern Alabama Railroad 1890
  • Southwestern of Georgia Railroad 1869
    • Montgomery and Eufaula Railroad 1879
    • Muscogee Railroad 1868
    • Vicksburg and Brunswick Railroad 1879
    • Southwestern Railroad 1869
  • Upson County Railroad 1891
    • Barnesville and Thomaston Railroad 1860

Richmond Terminal Company[edit]

Troubles began in 1888 when the Richmond Terminal Company gained control of the railroad. The financial problems of the parent company forced this railroad into bankruptcy and it was sold at foreclosure three years later. It was reorganized as Central of Georgia Railway on November 1, 1895.

Postcard depiction of the railroad's streamliner Man O' War.

The famous passenger train the Nancy Hanks, ran from Atlanta to Savannah, via Lovejoy, Griffin, Macon and Millen. Another from its famed fleet was the Man o' War, a Columbus, Georgia - Atlanta route, via Pine Mountain, Raymond and Newnan, Georgia. Both of these trains were named after prize winning steeds.

In 1907 E. H. Harriman gained control of the railway, and later sold it to the Illinois Central Railroad which he also controlled. The Illinois Central lost control in 1948 and the Central of Georgia was bought by the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (“Frisco”) in 1956. The Interstate Commerce Commission did not approve the purchase, so the Frisco sold the railway in 1961.

At the end of 1956 CofG operated 1764 miles of road and 2646 miles of track; that year it reported 3208 million net ton-miles of revenue freight and 73 million passenger-miles. Those totals do not include the 144-mile S&A, the 10-mile L&W, the 20-mile WS or the 36-mile W&T.

The C of G became a Southern Railway subsidiary on June 17, 1963. In 1971 the Southern formed the Central of Georgia Railroad to merge the Central of Georgia Railway, the Savannah and Atlanta Railway, and the Wrightsville and Tennille Railroad.

Today the Central of Georgia exists only as a paper railroad within the Norfolk Southern Railway group. Forty-two miles of the CG's former mainline are currently leased by the Chattooga and Chickamauga Railway from the State of Georgia.

Preserved historic sites[edit]

A number of former properties of Central of Georgia are preserved as historic sites. These include the following six that are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places:

Heritage Unit[edit]

On April 5, 2012, Norfolk Southern unveiled NS 8101, a GE ES44AC, painted in the scheme found on Central of Georgia's diesel locomotives. It was the fourth of twenty units that NS painted in the colors of their predecessors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ RailGa.com. "Railroad History: Central of Georgia Railway." Accessed 2011-07-30.
  2. ^ "Sherman's bowties". Civil War Potpourri. Retrieved Jan 9, 2011. "Source: The March To The Sea/Franklin And Nashville By Jacob D. Cox, LL. D., Late Major-General Commanding Twenty-Third Army Corps Chapter II.--The March Through Georgia." 
  3. ^ Hallberg, Milton C. (2009-12-21). "Railroads in North America; Some Historical Facts and An Introduction to an Electronic Database of North American Railroads and Their Evolution."
  • Drury, George H. (1985). The Historical Guide to North American Railroads. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing Company. pp. 53–56. ISBN 0-89024-072-8. 

External links[edit]