Johnny Ray : LUSENET : Central of Georgia Railway Historical Soc : One Thread

The "Johnny Ray" ran from Opelika to Roanoke, al during the early years of the C of Ga. I believe it ran two trips each way and was discontinued approximately 1950. It was a passenger and/or mixed run. Does anyone know the story of "Johnny Ray"?

-- Bill Fuller (BILLFULLER@AOL.COM), August 03, 1998


Sad to report that the demise of the "Johnny Ray's" rails seems immient..Last information i got on Oct. 6, 2001 was Langley Wood Yard was closed down and East Alabama Lumber was Bought by Dudley Lumber and was shipping chips put by truck...only one chip hopper was still under the loading chute.. Famous short line operator Dick Abernathy was flying a crew down from Tennessee to run it on Saturdays only,, but this may even be discontinued at this time...

-- Glenn K. Marsh (, October 09, 2001.

The Johnny Ray also had a second Nick Name.. " The Roanoke Rockit" where as the track was in such bad shape ( 15 m.p.h speed limit with many 5 m.p.h. slow orders )that the freight cars would " keep each other on the track" by their rocking in opposite directions...Also there was and article written by Carolyn Danforth which told a good bit about the Johnny Ray and how it got that name..I was raised in LaFayette, Al and rode the Johnny Ray regulary with the crew . I intend on modeling this isolated district o fthe C. of Ga. If anyone has information concerning this district please let me hear from you.

-- Glenn K. Marsh (, September 24, 2001.

There is a photograph of the Johnny Ray Train and crew hanging in the ticket office of the depot at Lafayette, Al.

-- Steve Riley (, July 05, 2001.

J.W. Ray was born on Jan 14th, 1850. He was known as "Uncle Johnnie". He started his railroad career with the Montgomery and West Point. He later ended up with the East Alabama Railroad which became a Central of Georgia property. The train that Mr. Ray ran was hardly ever referred to by it number but was popularly known and called the "Johnnie Ray Train" by it's patrons. Mr. Ray was evidently a very honourable employee. He was known to frequently bring in a string of nuts and bolts that he would pick up from the right of way. He also would pick up coal lying on the ground and put it in his locomotive tender. The Central ran a special train to Roanoke, his home town, which carried his relatives and friends to the spot where he was buried in 1915 for this dedicated employee.

-- Todd Horton (, March 01, 2000.

The Johnny Ray was mixed train, daily except Sunday. In 1940 it was numbered 73 and 74, and showed as a mixed train in timetable #44, April 23, 1940. It left Roanoke at 4:30 AM, arrived Opelika at 6:30 AM, departed Opelika at 8:15 AM, and arrived Roanoke at 11:00 AM. Same schedule in timetable 46 of June 1, 1941. Timeable # 57 of December 12, 1946 shows times changed to reflect departure from Opelika at 8:15 Am, arrive Roanoke at 10:15 AM, depart Roanoke at 11:00 AM, and arrive Opelika 12:50 PM. Timetable #2, of December 1, 1947 shows departure from Opelika at 8:00 AM, arrival at Roanoke at 10:00 AM and departing at 10:30 AM. Arrival at Opelika was 12:20 PM. That's all I know about the Johnny Ray. Take care, Tom

-- Tom Holley (, August 04, 1998.

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