Eufaula-White Oak line in troublegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Central of Georgia Railway Historical Soc : One Thread
What was rumored here a few months ago has come to pass. The Dothan Eagle newspaper reports that Louisiana Pacific has announced they will close their particleboard plant at White Oak on January 28th, 2001. This comes after employees received 60 day notice which was given to them on November 28th. This is the last industry located on the line from Eufaula to White Oak, which originally went all the way to Ozark, so it can be reasonably stated that service west of Eufaula on the former CofG is about to end. There is at least one industry located on this line, Carbo Ceramics, but it is located in town. The official reason given by LP was that the plant, 26 years old, was outdated and could not compete with newer more modern plants. LP stated they had done a 2 year evaluation of the plant and said modernizing it would be cost prohibitive. The article also stated that hourly employees, that recently voted to go union, would receive severance packages. Which brings up what I have heard unofficially. Prior to the union vote, LP alledgedly told the employees of the plant that if they voted the union in, LP would close the plant. I have nothing to collaborate this, only hearsay so there may be nothing to it.
It also brings up the continued operation from Cuthbert to Eufaula. LP was the biggest customer west of Cuthbert and there are only a couple of small customers in Eufaula. Revenue loads to and from Eufaula probably are in the single digits per week. 25 miles of track from Cuthbert to Eufaula, including many trestles one of which is the large one crossing the Chattahoochee River, is a lot to maintain for such a small amount of revenue.
In any event, if you want pics of the old CofG line in Eufaula while still in operation, especially west of Eufaula, and you've been putting it off......you might not want to tary much longer.
As info, the entire line from Smithville to Eufaula to White Oak is welded rail. NS laid welded rail just before leasing this line to Railtex. A shame such an investment may be about to go unused.
-- Bryan Smith (email@example.com), December 06, 2000
The location you mentioned at Carbo Ceramics has been used for rolling trains by for years. Back in the 80's crews would roll by as many as 15-20 cars. It is a perfect spot for such since there is a fairly steep drop off with no road crossing to contend with except for the private crossing leading into Carbo.
As for the grade upon exiting the Chattahoochee River trestle; back in the 80's when I worked in Eufaula a single GP-38 was limited to 20 loads leaving Eufaula so as to make this grade. Many Saturdays I would sit out on the porch of the depot and listen to the lone GP-38 (or GP-30/35 or occasional U23B) struggle against the hill. They had to have been going very slow as I could hear it for some time before it faded out. Back then the train went east to Dawson 3 days a week with work being done in Eufaula and down to White Oak the other 3 days a week. Business at that time was good enough that we commonly left cars at Eufaula to keep from being too much over tonnage. We always tried to only leave empties but sometimes loads got left as well. It was one of those things that if you left loads one trip you put yourself in a hole for the next trip to Dawson since you would start out with loads from the previous trip in addition to other loads generated since then. The train operated to Dawson on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. It was not unusual to have Albany forward another locomotive on Thursdays when traffic was heavy so as to clean up Saturday. If you left loads on Saturday they wouldn't leave Eufaula until the following Tuesday. Not good from a service standpoint and may explain the decline in business on the Eufaula line during the last days NS operated it.
-- Bryan Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 18, 2001.
Was in Eufaula on October 16. Lots of covered hoppers stored on spur to industrial park, sidings near Carbo Ceramics, and on main at White Oak. Train pulled two cars from industrial park, picked up three more near Carbo, headed east with five. Limited track and stored hoppers makes for tricky switching w/lots of non-revenue moves. No place to run around train or wye means crew has to drag everything out to grade near Carbo, put loco in siding, then let train coast past on main. Otherwise, they'd be backing 20+ miles to Cuthbert. Track from Eufaula west has some pretty bad looking stretches, east of town looks better, but train speeds are low. Quite a grade climbing out of the Chattahoochee Valley eastbound.
-- David Harris (email@example.com), October 18, 2001.
Sorry to read that this mileage may go the way of a lot of the old Central trackage. The big paper and lumber mills sometime seem to close on a whim, even when making money. That really effects rail operations in the rural areas, not to mention jobs!
-- Greg Hodges (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 07, 2000.