The first spike of the Greenville, Columbus and Birmingham Railroad, today known as the Columbus & Greenville Railway (reporting marks, CAGY) , was driven in Greenville on January 5, 1879 by Mrs. H. B. Theabold who was a prominent Greenville, Missisippi
citizen. The track was completed eastward to Stoneville on March 31,
1878, and the first scheduled passenger service was started April 8,
1878, with two round trips scheduled daily between Greenville and Stoneville, Mississippi. Passenger train service was extended as each track segment was completed. The construction of the station at 205 Central Avenue was authorized in 1886 and the building was completed in 1888.
It was what I call mock fortress architecture in which the top of the
walls all around looked like a fort with no overhang and fake gun ports.
The main line was completed between Greenville and Atlanta June 18, 1889, and through train scheduled service began between Greenville
and Atlanta on July 8. 1889. The ownership and name of the railroad
also changed to Georgia Pacific Railroad in 1889. A through Pullman
sleeping car was operated on this train for many years. On September 1, 1894, the ownership and name again changed to Southern Railway in Mississippi. The Southern Railway in Mississippi was part of the Southern Railway,
but, in 1892 the Mississippi legislature passed a law that any new
railroad operating in Mississippi had to be chartered in Mississippi,
thus the “IN Mississippi" part of the name.
In 1912 the Southern Railway in Mississippi enlarged the station
building with a fifty foot addition on the rear and completely remodeled
the building. They removed the “fortress" wall tops and added roof
overhangs all around the building to the basic present look of the
building. On November 6, 1920 The Southern Railway in Mississippi changed the name to Columbus and Greenville Railroad. On August 6, 1923 Mr. A. T. Stovall purchased the railroad and renamed it the Columbus and Greenville Railway. During the Columbus and Greenville era, the premier passenger train between Columbus and Greenville was the “Deltan". The “Deltan" C&G Train Number 11/12 made a across platform connection with the Southern Railway Train Number 11/12 to and from Atlanta. The “Deltan" was completely air conditioned in 1938. The last run of the Deltan was July 15, 1948.
All scheduled passenger service ended in 1949 although special passenger
trains were still run. The last “Special" was a football special from
Columbus to Greenville and back in 1957. The Stovall family operated the
railroad until it was taken over by the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad
on September 29, 1972. The Illinois Central Gulf, also formed in 1972, was a massive
system (for its time), controlling much of the trackage in the center of
the country along the Mississippi River between Chicago and the deep
south near New Orleans. It consisted of the Gulf, Mobile & Ohio and
Illinois Central railroads, which both operated in the same regions and
served many of the same markets. Similarly, both railroads were unique
in that they operated north-south main lines instead of the more
traditional east-west systems.
Columbus & Greenville All-Time Locomotive Roster
102, 608, 614-615, 618, 621, 701-704
Ex-GM&O, Ex-FEC, Ex-Southern
507, 509, 510-514, 520-522, 524
Ex-Fernwood Columbia & Gulf, Ex-TRRA, Ex-IC
Bought New, 1946
Bought New, 1951
Ex-Santa Fe F7As
2000, 2777, 2880, 2884-2885
8715, 8718, 8720
On October 30, 1975, a group of local investors purchased the
railroad and operated it as the Columbus and Greenville Railway. The
railroad continues operation today as the Columbus and Greenville
Railway although ownership changed in July, 2008, to Genesee and
Wyoming, Inc., which owns and operates railroads in the United States
and other countries as well. The current Columbus and Greenville Railway
operates between Greenville
and Greenwood and between Columbus and West Point. The track is out of
service between Greenwood and West Point although efforts are underway
to possibly restore service between Greenwood and West Point.
All information on this page is courtesy of Harold Holiman.