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Alabama Short Line Railroads

Published: April 23, 2023

By: Adam Burns

Alabama Export Railroad

(reporting mark, ALE):  This short line, a division of the Mississippi Export, serves the Mobile waterfront and the Port of Mobile.  It operates a short loop of track from the Mobile River, north of the port, stretching to the northwest, and then reaches the Mobile Bay waterfront at McDuffie Island.  

It maintains connections with Canadian National, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern, CG Railway, Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks, and Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway.

Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway

(reporting mark, AGR):  The is a G&W property operating nearly 350 miles of track running from eastern Mississippi, through western Alabama, and finally terminating at Pensacola, Florida. 

The route's heritage traces back to the eastern extent of the St. Louis-San Francisco's network and today the railroad handles more than 61,000 carloads annually including coal, iron and steel, chemicals, scrap iron, pulp and paper, and limestone.

Alabama & Tennessee River Railway

(reporting mark, ATN):  The A&TR is owned by OmniTrax and has been in service since 2004 after acquiring 120 miles from CSX. 

The route's heritage can be traced back to three predecessors including the L&N, Seaboard Air Line, and Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis.  Its current traffic includes steel, rubber, cement, agriculture, and other freight.

Alabama Railroad, LLC

(reporting mark, ALAB):  The Alabama Railroad was a Pioneer RailCorp property, originally operating 60 miles of trackage between Flomaton and Corduroy, Alabama. 

A former L&N branch, the short line began service in 1991.  The property filed for abandonment on April 18, 2019 but was reactivated in 2020 as the Alabama Railroad, LLC.  It currently operates 48 miles from Flomaton to Peterman.

Alabama Southern Railroad

(reporting mark, ABS):  This Watco property began service on November 20, 2005 and operates about 85 miles of track between Columbus, Mississippi and Birmingham, Alabama under lease with Kansas City Southern.  The property was formerly Gulf, Mobile & Ohio trackage.

Alabama Warrior Railway

(reporting mark, ABWR):  Formerly known as the Jefferson Warrior Railway prior to August 7, 2009, this Watco property operates about 15 miles of track around the Birmingham area.  Current freight includes pipe, scrap steel, cement, aggregates, and other traffic.

Autauga Northern Railroad

(reporting mark, AUT):  A division of Watco, the Autauga Northern launched in 2011 operating 43.62 miles of leased Norfolk Southern trackage between between Maplesville and the International Paper Company plant near Prattville.

The line is formerly Mobile & Ohio, then later Gulf, Mobil & Ohio/Illinois Central Gulf.  The short line also gains access to Montgomery via 10 miles of CSX trackage rights.

Bay Line Railroad

(reporting mark, BAYL):  The Bay Line was historically the Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay Railway which dated back to the early 20th century. 

It is currently a Genesee & Wyoming property operating more than 100 miles of trackage between the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama.  It has been a G&W-owned since 2005 and transports a wide range of freight.

Birmingham Terminal Railway

(reporting mark, BHRR):  Formerly known as the Birmingham Southern, this 76-mile system is owned by the Watco Companies. 

It operates west and south of Birmingham connecting Bessemer and Port Birmingham.  The road has its own mechanical and locomotive shop.  Its heritage can be traced back to 1899 and for many years was jointly owned by the Southern and Louisville & Nashville. 

In 1988 it was sold to Transtar which subsequently sold the property to Watco, which acquired it on February 1, 2012 renaming it as the Birmingham Terminal.

Chattahoochee Bay Railroad

(reporting mark, CHAT):  The Chattahoochee Bay is a 25-mile short line serving Dothan and points east.  It is owned by the Genesee & Wyoming (since 2006) with primary products including chemicals, forest products, and food and feed products.

Conecuh Valley Railroad

(reporting mark, COEH):  The Conecuh Valley is another G&W-owned property operating 12 miles of track from Troy to Goshen.  Its history dates back to the Central of Georgia and currently handles about 3,000 carloads annually with freight including poultry feed ingredients, plastic, lead, vegetable oil and food products.

Eastern Alabama Railway

(reporting mark, EARY):  The East Alabama was a longtime RailAmerica property, which operated former L&N trackage sold to Kyle Railways by CSX on November 26, 1990. 

It was purchased by RA in 2002, which was then acquired by G&W in 2012.  Today, it operates about 31 miles of track carrying limestone, urea, paper and corn syrup, moving more than 15,000 carloads annually.

Georgia Southwestern Railroad

(reporting mark, GSWR):  This large short line is primarily based in western Georgia but also extends into eastern Alabama at Eufaula.  The road operates more than 230 miles of track and handles more than 13,000 carloads annually amongst a wide range of freight.  It has been a G&W property since 2008.

Huntsville-Madison County Railroad Authority

(reporting mark, HMCR):  This locally owned short line operates on about 14 miles of former L&N track between Huntsville and Norton acquired from CSX in 1984.

Luxapalila Valley Railroad

(reporting mark, LXVR):  This short line operates about 38 miles of track from Columbus, Mississippi to Belk, Alabama handling forest and waste products.  It is another G&W line with interchange connections including NS, KCS, and Columbus & Greenville.

Meridian & Bigbee Railroad

(reporting mark, MNBR):  The historic Meridian & Bigbee has been in service since the 1930s and still operates its original route from Montgomery, Alabama to Meridian, Mississippi.  It is currently owned by G&W and handles a wide range of freight.

Mississippi Central Railroad

(reporting mark MSCI):  This trackage was originally an independent short line known as the Redmont Railway that had operated since 1995 over about 41 miles of track on former Illinois Central trackage. 

Its traffic is primarily based in agriculture but does include some other freight.  In 2013 it was acquired by the Mississippi Central Railroad and is now operated as its Redmont Division.

RJ Corman/Childersburg Line

(reporting mark, RJAL):  This unique property is actually owned by the United States government, running 13.32 miles between Childersburg, where connection is established with Norfolk Southern, and a CSX connection to the north.  RJ Corman took over operations in September, 2019. 

Sequatchie Valley Railroad

(reporting mark, SQVR): This railroad just penetrates Alabama's northern region and is mostly located in Tennessee running from Kimball, Tennessee to Bridgeport, Alabama. 

Its origins can be traced back to a carrier by the same but was for many years leased by the NC&StL.  It handles about 1,500 carloads annually with freight including plastics and lumber.

Terminal Railway-Alabama State Docks

(reporting mark, TASD):  This terminal railroad is based in Mobile and has been in service since 1928.  The railroad has a total of 75 miles of track and serves the local port moving everything from coal and scrap steel to automotive products and chemicals. 

The company interchanges with numerous systems including CSX, BNSF, Alabama & Gulf Coast, CG Railway, Canadian National, Norfolk Southern, and Kansas City Southern.

Tennessee Southern Railroad

(reporting mark TSRR):  This short line is owned by Patriot Rail and operates primarily in Tennessee from Natco and Pulaski as well as southeasterly to Florence, Alabama. 

It operates about 118 miles in all handling several thousand carloads annually with freight including scrap iron, coal, coke, woodpulp, pulp-board, sand, chemicals, steel, aluminum, and fertilizer raw materials.

Three Notch Railroad

(reporting mark, TNHR):  Another G&W property, the Three Notch operates about 34 miles of track from Georgiana to Andalusia on trackage once owned by the L&N.  It handles slightly more than 1,000 carloads annually which includes chemicals, polypropylene, fertilizer and agricultural products. 

Wiregrass Central Railroad

(reporting mark, WGCR):  This G&W line is located in southern Alabama operating 20 miles between Waterford and Enterprise.  Its history dates back to the Atlantic Coast Line and was originally sold to Gulf & Ohio in 1987 by CSX.  Today, the line handles more than 8,000 carloads annually.