Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway

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Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway
Alabama Gulf Coast Railway logo.png
Overview
HeadquartersMonroeville, Alabama
Reporting markAGR
LocaleAlabama, Florida and Mississippi
Dates of operation1997 (1997)
PredecessorBurlington Northern
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Length339 miles (546 km)
Other
WebsiteOfficial website

The Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway (reporting mark AGR) is a Class II railroad[1] owned by Genesee & Wyoming. It operates 348 miles (560 km) of track[2] from the Pensacola, Florida export terminals, west of downtown, north to Columbus, Mississippi, with trackage rights along BNSF Railway to Amory, Mississippi. A branch uses trackage rights along Norfolk Southern from Kimbrough, Alabama west and south to Mobile, Alabama, with separate trackage at the end of the line in Mobile.

History[edit]

Predecessor lines[edit]

The current AGR is composed of numerous lines built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which were gradually consolidated into a system that was purchased by the St. Louis – San Francisco Railway and remained under that railroad or its successor's control until 1997, when it was spun off into an independent company.

Pre-1922[edit]

The earliest ancestor of the AGR was the Pensacola and Mobile Railroad and Manufacturing Company, which in 1861 constructed 5 miles (8.0 km) of track between Muscogee, Florida and Cantonment, Florida. This line was dismantled by Confederate forces during the Civil War so that the iron rails could be used elsewhere.[3] The railroad was not rebuilt until 1877. In 1874, the company took control of the Pensacola and Perdido Railroad, which ran west from Pensacola about five miles to a lumber mill at Millview, Florida on Perdido Bay. In 1892, the system merged with the Pensacola, Alabama and Tennessee Railroad, which connected the Millview and Muscogee branches. Shortly thereafter, the railroad was renamed the Gulf Ports Terminal Railway.[4]

In 1910, the Gulf Ports Terminal Railway was acquired by Southern States Lumber, which operated 68 miles (109 km) of track to move lumber from forests in Baldwin County, Alabama, to its large mill at Muscogee, and on to the port of Pensacola for export. The combined system had a total length of around 80 miles (130 km).[4]

In 1911, the railroad was acquired by the Gulf, Florida, and Alabama Railway. Soon after, construction of a line from Cantonment to Pensacola was begun, being completed in 1913. Almost immediately following the completion of this line, another, much longer line was begun, this one from Cantonment north via Atmore and Frisco City, Alabama to an interchange with the Southern Railway at Kimbrough, Alabama. The line, including a large bridge over the Alabama River, was completed in 1915.[4]

1922-1997[edit]

In 1922, the Gulf, Florida, and Alabama Railway was acquired by the Muscle Shoals, Birmingham and Pensacola Railroad (MSB&P), which only three years later was bought by the Frisco (St. Louis – San Francisco Railway). After the acquisition, the Frisco constructed a line from Aberdeen, Mississippi to Kimbrough, connecting the former MSB&P with the rest of the Frisco's system. This line was completed in 1928.

During the middle of the 20th century, the railroad operated as part of the Frisco, moving bulk products south to Pensacola for export and produce products north, although chemical and paper products took on increased importance by the 1970s. Passenger service over the line continued until 1955, when the Sunnyland, operating between Pensacola and Kansas City, Missouri, via Amory, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee, was discontinued.

In 1980, the Frisco was acquired by the Burlington Northern Railroad (BN), itself a product of a merger of several railroads in 1970. In 1995, the BN merged with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to form the BNSF Railway.

Current railroad[edit]

In 1997, when BNSF spun off the route between Kimbrough and Pensacola, the Alabama and Gulf Coast was formed to take over operations. In 2003, BNSF sold additional trackage to the AGR: a line between Kimbrough and Columbus, Mississippi, as well as isolated trackage near Mobile, Alabama formerly part of the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railroad. As part of this deal, the AGR gained trackage rights on BNSF between Columbus and Amory and on the Norfolk Southern Railway between Mobile and Kimbrough.[4]

In 2002, the AGR, which had been formerly owned by States Rail, Inc., a short-line holding company, was acquired by RailAmerica.[2][4] In late 2012, Genesee & Wyoming acquired the railroad as part of its acquisition of RailAmerica.

Fleet[edit]

As of December 2020, the AGR fleet consisted of the following:[5]

Number Type Built Notes
2273 EMD SD40 1973-19 Is variant SD40M-2, rebuilt by Morrison Knudsen in 1993.
3060-3062 EMD GP40 1967-1971
3213, 3309, 3311, 3354–3362, 3373–3375, 3395, 3411–3412, 4223, 4226 EMD SD40-2 1969 4223 and 4226 are leased from Wells Fargo Rail.
3814, 3858 EMD GP38 1969-1970

Route[edit]

The AGR operates on a total of 339 miles of owned and leased trackage in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. Its also runs via trackage rights over BNSF Railway between Columbus and Amory, MS and Norfolk Southern Railway between Kimbrough and Mobile, AL. The AGR is separated into the following four subdivisions.[6]

The following route maps at right were created using actual track charts, timetables and maps with satellite imagery.[7][8][9]

Traffic[edit]

The railroad's traffic comes mainly from chemicals and plastics, lumber and forest products, metals, pulp and paper. The AGR hauled around 61,000 carloads in 2008.[2] [6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2013 Alabama Rail Directory" (PDF). Alabama Department of Transportation. June 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "RailAmerica's Empire". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing. June 2010.
  3. ^ "Pensacola & Mobile". Confederate Railroads. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e "History of the Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway". The Unofficial AGR Railfan Site. Archived from the original on 19 September 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  5. ^ "ALABAMA & GULF COAST RR". www.thedieselshop.us. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  6. ^ a b "Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  7. ^ BNSF Railway Springfield Division Track Chart 1998
  8. ^ Norfolk Southern Railway Alabama Division Track Chart 2002
  9. ^ Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway Track Chart 2003 Crouch Engineering

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°35′35″N 87°24′37″W / 31.59304°N 87.41031°W / 31.59304; -87.41031