Georgia Short Line Railroads

Published: October 24, 2022

By: Adam Burns

Athens Line, LLC

(Reporting mark, ABR): This short line is operated under contract to the Great Walton Railroad albeit its assets are owned by the city of Athens.  The road operates 38 miles of former Central of Georgia trackage between Madison and Junior State via Athens.

Bay Line Railroad

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

Among the road's more than 100 miles of trackage in Alabama is a former section of the Central of Georgia Railway it maintains between Dothan, Alabama and Hilton, Georgia where interchange is established with the Chattahoochee Industrial and Hilton & Albany.

Chattahoochee Bay Railroad

(Reporting mark, CHAT):  The Chattahoochee Bay is a 25-mile short line serving Dothan, Alabama and stretching just slightly into the Georgia state line at Hilton where it interchanges with NS. 

The property is former CoG lines.  It is owned by the Genesee & Wyoming (since 2006) with primary products including chemicals, forest products, and food and feed products.

Chattooga & Chickamauga Railway

(Reporting mark, CCKY):  The C&C is a Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary operating 49 miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee south to Lyerly on trackage originally owned by the Central of Georgia.  Its freight currently consists of chemicals, metals and plastics.

Chattahoochee Industrial Railroad

(Reporting mark, CIRR): This former Georgia-Pacific property was acquired by G&W in 2004.  It currently operates 15 miles connecting with CSX and Norfolk Southern lines near the Chattahoochee River.  Its traffic currently includes chemicals, coal, forest products, steel and scrap.

Columbus & Chattahoochee Railroad

(Reporting mark, CCH):  This 26-mile short line launched in 2012 between Girard and Mahrt, Alabama with Norfolk Southern trackage rights into Columbus Yard at Columbus, Georgia.

The road is a Genesee & Wyoming property and has interchange with NS and the G&W-owned Georgia Southwestern in Columbus.  Its traffic consists of paper, fuel oil, carbon black, aggregate minerals, scrap iron, and bricks.

First Coast Railroad

(Reporting mark, FCRD):  This short line began in 2005 over former Seaboard Air Line property leased from CSX running from Fernandina Beach, Florida to Seals, Georgia (slightly north of Kingsland) via Yulee, Florida where it interchanges with CSX. 

The 32-mile line is operated by G&W and handles chemicals, coal, forest products, metals, pulp/paper products, and petroleum products.

Fulton County Railway

(Reporting mark, FCR):  This OmniTRAX property began service in 2004, currently operating about 20 miles of trackage serving the Fulton County Industrial Park.  It moves a wide range of freight handling about 8,000 carloads annually.

Georgia Central Railway

(Reporting mark, GC): This large short line is a property of G&W (since 2005) over trackage formerly of SCL heritage.  The route is 171 miles in length connecting Macon with the coast at Savannah. 

Its traffic is highly diversified and includes coal, chemicals, agriculture, food products, forest products, minerals/aggregates, plastics, and pulp/paper products.

Georgia & Florida Railway

(Reporting mark, GFRR):  This large short line operates around 264 miles of trackage running from Albany, Georgia to Foley, Florida. 

The route's history dates back to the Southern.  OmniTRAX acquired the property in 2005 from Georgia & Florida RailNet, renaming it as the Georgia & Florida Railway.  It currently handles a variety of freight including wood pulp, beer, ethanol, agricultural commodities, limestone/aggregate, and other traffic.

Georgia Northeastern Railroad

(Reporting mark, GNRR):  This privately-owned short line uses part of the former Louisville & Nashville's famed "Hook & Eye" route. 

It currently runs from Marietta northward to McCaysville near the Tennessee state line, more than 100 miles in length.  Service began around 1990 and traffic currently consists of timber, grain, poultry, and marble products.  The railroad is also noted for hosting the popular Blue Ridge Scenic Railway on a section of the property.

Georgia Southern Railway

(Reporting mark, GS):  This Pioneer Railcorp property was formerly known as the Georgia Midland prior to 2010. 

The system currently operates three disconnected lines running from Perry to Roberta (30 miles), Swainsboro to Midville (16 miles), and Meter to Dover (28 miles).  Its current freight includes sand, asphalt, plastics, lumber, grain, scrap, fertilizer and stone aggregates.

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.

Georgia Woodlands Railroad

(Reporting mark, GWRC):  This short line, currently owned by OmniTRAX, has been in service since 1988 operating just over 17 miles between Washington and Barnett. It currently handles less than 1,000 annual carloads that includes plastic pellets, wood chips, lumber, forest products, and petroleum gases.

Golden Isles Terminal Railroad

(Reporting mark, GITM):  This small terminal road began service in 1998 over trackage formerly owned by the Colonel's Island Railroad. 

It operates a total of 13 miles on main line and primarily serves the Georgia Port Authority at Brunswick.  It interchanges with both CSX and NS with primary traffic including automobiles, chemicals, food products, and animal feed.

Great Walton Railroad

(Reporting mark, GRWR):  The small, independent Great Walton has been in service since 1987 and currently operates 10 miles between Monroe and Social Circle. 

The trackage was once owned by the Georgia Railroad, part of the West Point Route.  The short line currently moves more than 3,500 carloads annually with traffic including clay, feldspar, grain, machinery, fertilizer, woodchips, plastics, pulpwood, and silica.

Hartwell Railroad

(Reporting mark, HRT):  This historic short line dates back to its chartering in 1878 as a three-foot, narrow-gauge that would eventually connect Hartwell and Bowersville (10 miles). 

The Southern acquired the property in 1902, converting it to standard-gauge but resold it to private owners in 1924.  Today, the Hartwell is contracted out to the Great Walton which operates freight service on the line.  Additionally, the road also now owns the former NS route between Toccoa and Elberton (48 miles).

Heart of Georgia Railroad

(Reporting mark, HOG):  This railroad is privately owned by Atlantic Western Transportation. It has been in service since 1999 operating 177 miles between Mahrt, Alabama and Vidalia, Georgia on trackage once owned by the Seaboard Air Line. 

Its freight ranges from agriculture to petroleum products. Aside from freight service the line also hosts the popular SAM Shortline excursions.

Hilton & Albany Railroad

(Reporting mark, HAL):  This short line, another Genesee & Wyoming property, launched in 2011 over 60 miles of leased Norfolk Southern trackage (ex-Central of Georgia) between Albany and Hilton, via Arlington.  

It interchanges with NS in Albany, the G&W-owned Georgia Southwestern in Arlington, and the G&W-owned Chattahoochee Industrial and Bay Line Railroad in Hilton.

Riceboro Southern Railway

(Reporting mark, RSOR):  The Riceboro Southern operates between Richmond Hill (south of Savannah) and Riceboro on trackage once owned by SAL.  Its freight currently consists of chemicals and pulp/paper products.

Sandersville Railroad

(Reporting mark, SAN):  The privately owned Sandersville Railroad, also known as the "Kaolin Road," dating back to its chartering in 1893 soon completing its route from Sandersville to Tennille, where it interchanged with the Central of Georgia (3 miles). 

For many years traffic was sparse but grew prodigiously after 1938 when the Champion Paper & Fiber Company decided to begin processing its kaolin deposits located in the local Washington County region. 

A plant was built in Sandersville and today kaolin remains an important source of freight while other commodities include plastic pellets, ethanol, turkey feed, and chipwood.

Savannah & Old Fort Railroad

(Reporting mark, SVHO):  This Watco property began operations in 2019.  It operates 6.45 miles of former Atlantic Coast Line industrial trackage in the heart of Savannah. 

The short line runs from an interchange with CSX at Southover Yard, through Thomas Square, to the Savannah River waterfront serving various businesses along the way. Its traffic consists of sulfuric acid, sulfur, gypsum, pulpboard, wood pellets, and petroleum.

Savannah Port Terminal Railroad

(Reporting mark, SAPT):  This small terminal road is owned by G&W that first began service on June 9, 1998 over property formerly owned by Savannah State Docks Railroad. 

It operates about 18 miles of main line track in the Savannah area with primary freight including chemicals, food products, intermodal containers, and pulp/paper hauling more than 46,000 carloads annually.


St. Marys Railroad

(Reporting mark, SM):  The historic St. Marys Railroad has been in operation since it was renamed in 1939 from property originally known as the St. Marys & Kingsland Railroad of 1865. 

The small line has always served the St. Marys area, running to Kinglands (10 miles) where it currently interchanges with the First Coast Railroad.  For many years the company served a burgeoning paper mill and later the U.S. Army's Kings Bay ammunition storage facility. 

It is presently owned by the Boatright Companies and has no known sources of freight revenue.  However, in recent years the company has been able to launch a successful excursion service.

Valdosta Railway

(Reporting mark, VR):  The Valdosta Railway has been in service since 1992 running from Clyattville to Valdosta (10 miles) interchanging with both CSX and NS.  It has been under G&W ownership since 2005 and currently hauls chemicals, food products, animal feed, forest products, plastics, and pulp/paper products.

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