The West Point Route

The West Point Route was a fondly remembered southern system. Although it was not very large, spanning only a few hundred miles between Alabama and Georgia, it was a trademark of the south for well over 100 years. The system itself was actually not even a railroad but a marketing name used by the Atlanta & West Point Railroad and Western Railway of Alabama who's east-west main lines met at West Point, Georgia. Almost throughout their entire existence the companies were under the control of the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company, itself under the control of the Atlantic Coast Line. Because of this the railroads became part of the marketing name of the Family Lines System and later CSX Transportation in the 1980s. Today, both railroads' main lines continue to be an important part of the CSX system.  

The first component of the West Point Route was the Atlanta & West Point Railroad. The A&WP began life in 1847 as the Atlanta & LaGrange Rail Road which was chartered to connect Atlanta (its actual eastern terminus was a little community known as East Point) with West Point, 80 miles to the west. This it did in 1854 and three years later in 1857 appropriately changed its name to the Atlanta & West Point Railroad. Because the A&WP was one of the south's first railroads it became an integral part of the a route serving the Potomac River in the Northeast and the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile, Alabama.

The A&WP would come under the control of the Georgia Railroad & Banking Company due to its financing of the A&WP's construction. The Georgia Railroad, aside from controlling the A&WP and its sister also owned its own principal lines. Its route connected with the A&WP at Atlanta running eastward to Augusta as well as a branch south from Camak to Macon. The Georgia Railroad itself was actually controlled by the Central of Georgia and Louisville & Nashville railroads. In 1944 in the CoG sold its interest to the L&N, which itself would come under the control of the Atlantic Coast Line.  

The second component of the West Point was the Western Railway of Alabama. The WRoA dates back to January, 1832 when it was chartered as the Montgomery Railroad to connect its namesake city with Columbus, Georgia. Its eastern terminus was later changed to West Point. After financial woes forced the system into bankruptcy it emerged in 1842 as the Montgomery & West Point Railroad, eventually completing its main line nine years later in 1851. Five years later it opened a branch to Columbus from Newnan although this line was eventually purchased by the Central of Georgia in 1882.

With its new line now open the railroad began building west and in doing so created the Western Rail Road Company of Alabama in which the M&WP system became part of. It reached Selma in 1870 and five years later jointly came under the ownership of the Georgia Railroad and CoG.  After the Georgia Railroad had control of both railroads they became marketed as the West Point Route in 1886, a name which would come to define the two systems for the rest of their days. Although both had separate identities under the banner they were essentially operated as one railroad, in conjunction with their parent's routes to the west.

As small as both railroads were, operating a total of 225 miles they surprisingly saw very fine passenger trains traversing their territory! The most famous trains were owned by other larger railroads like the Southern and Louisville & Nashville connecting such cities as New Orleans, New York and other points north and south. Still, even though the West Point served as a through route for these trains it saw some of the finest to operate in the south that included all-Pullman service, parlors, observations, diners, you name it!   After the West Point came under total control of the Atlantic Coast Line in 1944 it operated mostly independently until the formation of Family Lines System in 1972. At this point the railroad was still on the books but had mostly lost its identity.

Atlanta & West Point Diesel Locomotive Roster

Road Number(s) Builder Model Amount Date Built
1005EMDFP711949 (Ex-WRoA #502)
675BaldwinDS-4-4-100011949 (Ex-Georgia #921)
4978EMDGP1611951 (Ex-ACL GP7 #246)

Western Railway of Alabama Diesel Locomotive Roster

Road Number(s) Builder Model Amount Date Built
520EMDGP711950 (Ex-SAL #1734)
4977, 4979EMDGP1621951-1952 (Ex-WRoA #524, Ex-ACL GP7 #141)

Georgia Railroad Diesel Locomotive Roster

Road Number(s) Builder Model Amount Date Built
1005EMDFP711949 (Ex-A&WP #551)
1019-1020EMDGP721950 (Ex-A&WP #571-572)
4975EMDGP1611954 (Ex-Georgia #1042)
6051-6052EMDGP38-221980 (Ex-SCL #6051-6052)

Steam Locomotive Roster (Including both the A&WP and WRoA)

Class A: This class included the railroads' roster of 4-6-0 Ten-wheelers.

Class C: This class included the railroads' roster of 2-8-0 Consolidations.

Class E: This class included the railroads' roster of 0-6-0 switchers.

Class F: This class included the railroads' roster of 2-8-2 Mikados.

Class G: This class included the railroads' roster of 0-8-0 switchers.

Class M: This class included the railroads' roster of 4-8-2 Mountains.

Class P: This class included the railroads' roster of 4-6-2 Pacifics.

The Family Lines System was merely a marketing tactic which brought together the allying railroads of the Louisville & Nashville, Clinchfield, Seaboard Coast Line, and included a number of other smaller lines (such as the Georgia Railroad, Atlanta & West Point Railroad, and Western Railway of Alabama). With this came a new livery applied to all of the railroads (with sub-lettering stenciled under locomotive cabs identifying company). This marketing scheme also was short-lived, lasting only from 1972 until 1982 when these railroads merged together formally to create the Seaboard System (itself a very short-lived railroad). After this point the West Point Route remained on the books until 1986 when it formally dissolved into the Seaboard System and soon after becoming part of CSX.

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