Wiregrass Central Railroad
|Wiregrass Central Railroad|
|Dates of operation||1987–|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) (standard gauge)|
|Length||19.5 miles (31.4 km)|
|Wiregrass Central Railroad|
The Wiregrass Central Railroad (reporting mark WGCR) is a shortline railroad operating 19.5 miles (31.4 km) of track from a CSX Transportation connection at Newton to Enterprise, Alabama via the south side of Fort Rucker. The company, a subsidiary of Gulf and Ohio Railways, began operations in 1987 on a former CSX Transportation branch.
Industrial customers include Pilgrim's Pride, Wayne Farms, and the Sessions Company. Primary commodities include peanuts, peanut oil, corn, soy, and grass seed, generating approximately 8,200 annual carloads.
In April 2011, the Wiregrass Central was named as one of the three railroads being acquired by RailAmerica from Gulf and Ohio for $12.7 million. In 2012, RailAmerica was purchased by Genesee & Wyoming.
The Southwestern Alabama Railway was a Plant System subsidiary and completed its line in 1898, connecting Elba to the Alabama Midland Railway; both companies were later absorbed by the Atlantic Coast Line. Prior to the arrival of the SWA the region surrounding Elba and Enterprise had only hosted logging railroads. The Atlantic Coast Line maintained control of the line from 1902 until 1967 when it was merged with the Seaboard Coast Line. Additional changes came in 1983 with the creation of the Seaboard System and in 1986 it became CSX Transportation.
The Seaboard System cut the line back 16.1 miles (25.9 km) to Clintonville on August 13, 1984 and designated the remaining 22.3 miles (35.9 km) as an industrial spur, protected by a derail at the entrance near Newton. The remaining portion of the line was sold by CSX to Gulf & Ohio subsidiary Wiregrass Central on December 11, 1987.
The railroad was initially operated by L.A. Transportation and traffic included pulpwood, aggregates, and grain. On July 10, 1992 an additional segment running approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) from Clintonville to Enterprise was abandoned by the Wiregrass Central, prompted by the closure of a woodyard at the end of the line.
Additionally the railroad supports unit grain trains destined for the Pilgrim's Pride mill at Enterprise.
- "Wiregrass Central Railroad". 7 May 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
- "RailAmerica to Acquire Gulf and Ohio's Three Alabama Short Lines". Progressive Railroading. 11 April 2011.
- "Genesee & Wyoming - Our History". Retrieved 22 December 2014.
- Owen, Thomas M. (1921). History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography 1. S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. p. 71.
- "Alabama Rail Plan 2008". December 2008. pp. Table 4–1. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
- Seaboard System Railroad: Jacksonville Division Timetable #4. 1 January 1985. p. 9.
- Lewis, Edward A. (1996). American Shortline Railway Guide (5 ed.). Kalmbach Publishing Company. p. 340. ISBN 0-89024-290-9.
- Lewis, Edward A. (1991). American Shortline Railway Guide (4 ed.). Kalmbach Publishing Company. p. 284. ISBN 0-89024-109-0.