C of Ga operations in East Point , Ga area.

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I am interested in Central's operation in my hometown of East Point, Ga. This is the point at which the Central, running parallel with the A&WP, turned to the SE on it's route to Macon. There was a large tower at this point....was this tower a joint operation...or singularly Central or A&WP ? What is frequency of traffic today on this East Point-Griffin-Barnesville-Macon line? Thanks-Greg H -Richmond, Va.

-- Greg A Hodges (105452.2520@compuserve.com), May 09, 1998


In addition to the GO trains, there's still a frenzied amount of traffic between Industry Yard and the Hapeville Ford Plant, thanks partly to the popularity of the Ford Taurus. It's not unusual to see three or more trains battling for track space in that area, including the autorack loading facility near what used to be Mountain View and the Forest Park Yard, which is used primarily for sorting the 86-foot auto part boxcars. A few years ago, the city fathers of Hapeville became annoyed at the constant horn sounding as train crews switched the Ford Plant, so an ordinance was passed to prohibit engineers from using the airhorns. The next day, of course, a GP38 plowed into a pickup truck at a crossing. I'm also a native (or escapee) from East Point, growing up there in the 1960s, and remember it as a place where you would see countless switch engine crews working everything from the Ford Plant to the Red Hill industrial spur. At the time, East Point proudly claimed it was "the Industrial Center of Georgia." Now it could easily claim the title of "abandoned warehouse center of Georgia." During its heyday in the late 1950s, I understand that there were six switch engine crews needed to work all the industries between south Atlanta and the Ford plant. It was a big deal when they "radio equipped" the switchers so they could coordinate what was going to come down that five-track mainline next. Industry yard is still a busy place in 1999, it's just that most of the industries it serves are no longer in East Point.

-- Rob Richardson (RichDent10@aol.com), June 01, 1999.


I offer the explanation below in a light hearted defense of AW&P trains getting delayed on the C of G between East Point and Spring. I worked for Southern as a clerk/operator from 1981 until 1988 and frequently worked the operators job at Inman yard which had control of this area. AW&P trains entered/left the mainline at two locations close to Spring which they refered to as "the circle track" and "the office car track". The office car track was located near Southern's Spring street office building at the site of the old Terminal station. The circle track was a bit south of there. AW&P trains would call and ask permission to use the mainline between either of these locations and East Point and would call when wanting to go from East Point to either of them....they would tell you which one they wanted to go to. The CTC block at this time was from Spring to East Point. Once you authorized a train to come out on the mainline between those points, you had no more control over them. They had the mainline until they cleared up. This stretch of track could also "heat up" due to Ford's plant being located just south of East Point at Hapeville. As a trainee I was told of how the AW&P trains operated on the mainline and how they would call for permission. However I wasn't told of certain "special situations" that could occur. I remember one of the first times I worked the operators job after finishing my "cubbing". I was working the second trick and knew that a hot switch move occured every evening from the Ford plant to Inman. I had this in my mind when a AW&P train called and wanted to go from East Point to the circle track. It was never my intention to delay trains.....even of another railroad, but I also knew that the Ford move took priority over everything else and trainmasters and yardmasters (the suits) weren't real crazy about having the AW&P on the line to start with and saw them as a terrible inconvience. Since there are 2 mainlines between East Point and Spring, I saw nothing wrong with letting the AW&P train come on out. There was always the other mainline for the Ford move. I gave them a signal and permission to come on. Soon the light on the CTC board that represented the segment between East Point and Spring on track #1 lit up indicating the AW&P train was making its move. It was early in the evening and I was thinking that the AW&P train should be clear of the block by the time the Fords got ready but in any event, there was always the other mainline, Track #2. I continued monitoring the other portions of the CTC board (Inman yard to Austell and Howell Tower toward Conley on the Southern side to Macon) all the while watching for the light to go out on Track #1 on the C of G indicating the AW&P train was clear. After a sufficient amount of time, it was still on......and the Ford move was approaching. It was about this time that the Inman yardmaster called and said he had a cut headed to East Point (something that could happen at any time of day). The mainline going south out of the yard splits at Spring with the Southern line and the C of G parting company there. So from Inman to Spring was a hot area also. They liked to get C of G cuts out of the way and onto the C of G line as soon as possible to keep from tieing up the Southern mainline to Macon. With the AW&P train still showing on track #1, even a rookie operator could see trouble brewing. I lined the move from Inman to East Point up on track #2 hopeing either they would make a quick move to East Point or the AW&P train would get clear in the event the Fords got ready. The AW&P train had been there about an hour and a half by now.....plenty of time to get clear...but was still showing on the mainline. Also, this was before the time of programable radios and such. As unsafe as it may seem, we had no radio communication with the AW&P train. That was the reason they would have to call on the phone. We could call the AW&P operator at College Park, but it was hard to get him at times. Nervousness was setting in, so I called the operator at College Park to see if he could tell me if their train had any trouble and when would they be clearing up. The answer I got was enough to tell me that I still had plenty to learn about this job. He told me that they would be meeting a train coming FROM the circle track to East Point on our double track. This was perfectly legitimate and happened a lot I found out later.......but the procedure was not to allow an AW&P train out on the mainline to meet another AW&P train until BOTH trains were in place, so as not to tie up the mainline for long periods of time. This was something that had been overlooked in my training. To make a long story a bit shorter...about the time the yard move was passing Spring headed to East Point, the yardmaster at East Point called and told me to line up the Ford move because "Here it comes!!!!". I sheepishly told him he would have to have them wait for the yard move on Track #2 to make it in since an AW&P train had Track #1 fouled waiting to meet another AW&P train. Lets just say he was not impressed and I received a not-so-subtle review of procedures for handling AW&P trains from someone who saw them as in the way in the first place. Lessons learned the hard way. I soon learned that AW&P trains knew when they would be meeting on double track but liked to go ahead and get permission and get out on the mainline so as to be ready to go when the other showed up. No problem there, but some would tie up one of the mainlines for several hours waiting for the opposing train. I learned to ask when they called for permission if they would be meeting a train or going right on in. If they were meeting a train I would tell them to call me back when they heard the other train enter the mainline. It really didn't delay them any further, they had to wait for the opposing train anyway, it only kept the delay from occuring on the double track between East Point and Spring.

I got along really good with the AW&P crews and fully understood their situation and tried not to delay them any more than possible. But sometimes it was unavoidable, just as our own crews oftened got delayed. Good communication between myself, the AW&P, and our yard moves was the key the keeping things flowing between Spring and East Point.

Hope I haven't been too long winded or come off as too one-sided.....like I said, light hearted defense.

Bryan Smith

-- Bryan Smith (bsmith3608@aol.com), May 19, 1998.

I knew that the East Point Tower was a CofG operation, but didn't know why. I do know that when I worked for the A&WP in the early 1970's - after the tower was closed and the junction was worked by Spring Street - the operator in charge was notorious for "nailing" A&WP trains if a CofG train was within radio range, even if the A&WP train was practically on top of the switch! After a couple of CofG trains went on the law after being "nailed" outside Chester Yard - a joint facility - the delays suddenly cleared up.

Other than the fact that the SouRy route between Atlanta and Macon is 15 miles shorter and was better equipped to handle the traffic (heavier, welded rail, etc.) I do not know why the SouRy line was selected over the CofG.

Bob Hanson

-- Robert H. Hanson (RHanson669@aol.com), May 15, 1998.

I formerly worked for NS as a clerk/operator and worked some in Griffin. I still have several friends who are still with NS and they tell me that in addition to the locals that operate on this line, NS also operates some Macon-Atlanta freights over this line when they get congested on the old Southern mainline. The people I talk with says this happens more on the weekends and is always "drag freight" types. In other words, don't look for the hot piggybacks on this line. At one point when I was working for NS the talk was they were going to abandon the line from Macon to Bollingbrook. I guess they are glad they didn't now as this line gives them a "pressure release" when the mainline gets full. I was always curious as to why Southern/NS did not operate over more trains over the former CG line in the first place. The CG line has had CTC for many years whereas the Southern line only recently got CTC about 10 years ago. Up until that point, the Southern line operated by train order authority. Does anyone know why the CG line was foresaken for the Southern line as the primary route between Atlanta and Macon after the Southern takeover of CG????

-- Bryan Smith (bsmith3608@aol.com), May 11, 1998.

The operators at East Point tower were CG employees. I was told that the CG/WPR agreement "gave" the operators' jobs at East Point and Opelika to the Central and Newnan and Montgomery to the West Point Route.

The old Atanta District (East Point to Macon) is worked by five jobs:

G02 Macon to Barnesville Mon-Fri G03 Griffin to Barnesville Mon-Fri and to Thomaston on MWF G04 Griffin to East Point Sun-Fri G05 Griffin Switcher Mon-Sat has limits on the mainline G09 Macon to Milner/Griffin Sun-Fri

Assigned days for G02, G04, and G09 change from time to time. This info is a couple of months old.

-- David Payne (DavidCofGa@aol.com), May 09, 1998.

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