St. Mary's Railroad
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The SM&K eventually became the Atlantic, Waycross and Northern Railroad. After the death of Johnson in 1918, the railroad was sold to the Southern Fertilizer and Chemical Company in Savannah, Georgia with the sale being completed on January 24, 1918. The AW&N was sold in 1939 to Gilman Paper Company-St. Mary's Kraft Corporation and became the St. Mary's Railroad. The SM purchased its first diesel locomotive #500 in 1945 which was nicknamed the "Goat." Ten years later the railroad constructed a 4-mile spur to service the US Army's Kings Bay ammunition storage facility which is now the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
The SM was merged into the Gilman Paper Company on January 11, 1999, and operated initially under the Gilman name. The Gilman Paper Company separated the railroad by establishing a limited liability corporation operating under the name of Saint Marys Railroad, LLC. On December 17, 1999, the paper plant and railroad were purchased by the Durango Paper Company (changing its name in 2000 to the Durango-Georgia Company) and the railroad was renamed the Durango Railroad. All federal reporting requirements for the railroad were filed under that name. The company declined to change its reporting marks however, thus the locomotives and rolling stock continued to use the St. Marys Railroad name.
The Durango Paper Company closed its doors in 2002 after two industrial accidents at the plant resulted in nearly $200,000 in fines from OSHA. All employees of the paper plant lost their jobs, putting the future of the railroad in doubt. The railroad continues to operate and the St. Marys Railroad right-of-way and assets remain intact. The railroad has always maintained its own locomotives and cars with a fully equipped shop facility in St. Marys.
Currently the St. Marys Railroad owns two locomotives; 507 and 506. 507 is a GP16u with 2,000 horsepower while 506 is an SW1200RS. Recently the railroad acquired ex-NS 2379 (MP15DC, built as SOU 2379) and ex-NS 2389 (MP15DC, ex-SOU 2389). These were used on the Santa Train on Dec. 3rd, 2016.
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