Beginning of the Central of Georgia Railway : LUSENET : Central of Georgia Railway Historical Soc : One Thread

Although the corporate details of the various components of the CofG seem to be well-documented, there seems to be little or no detail whatsoever on the actual birth of the Central of Georgia Railway apart from the year ‘1895’. Edson in his “Railroad Names” is reticent. He only gives the year – not even the month. The brief history of the CofG on the Historical Society’s web page also fails to give any mention of the date. Drury in his “Historical Guide” fails to mention either the year or even the Atlanta-Macon line – another mystery! I have also singularly failed to find any dates or further details on the web. Is there any reason for this? I was wondering if the company’s records had been lost or destroyed? If anyone could enlighten me I would be very grateful.

I am British and have an avid interest in your railroads and their histories. Unfortunately, books on North American railroads are virtually non-existent in British libraries. So I would also be very grateful to anyone who could recommend any good books that contain hard historical facts (incorporation dates, opening dates of lines, and etc) on the CofG, Southern, ACL, and SAL, but all South-eastern railroads in general. Thank you.

Stephen Dale

-- Stephen Dale (, January 11, 2001


I have a small collection of CofG artifacts that I have gathered the following dates from that might be considered significant in the creation and development of the Central of Georgia. The birth of the CofG would most likely depend on whether you consider the date to be when the name was actually used or when the lines that made up the CofG were constructed. In any event, you might find these dates important: December 20, 1833 A charter was granted by the Georgia legislature to the Central Railroad and Canal Company for the purpose of laying, building, and making railroad and canal communications from the City of Savannah to the interior of the state. In October 1843, after much financial and legal rangling including a dispute over the actual route, the line reached the Ocmulgee River just outside Macon GA. Soon afterward the Ocmulgee was bridged thus making a continuous line from Macon to Savannah. During roughly this same time, the Macon and Western was building a line from Macon to Atlanta. August 24, 1872 The consolidation of the Macon and Western Railroad Company with the Central Railroad and Banking company was approved by the State of Georgia General Assembly thus creating a continuous line from Atlanta to Savannah under one ownership. During these years and in subsequent years much railroad construction was going on in Georgia and Alabama on lines that would eventually end up in the CofG camp. Some were built by the Central or received financing from the Central. Others were built as independant roads that would be acquired by the Central. July 1, 1892 The Central RailRoad and Banking Company of Georgia defaulted on its loans and an unsuccessful attempt at reorganization was made. Some lines were separted from the system, notably routes that had been built in South Carolina, and in May 1895 an agreement was entered into between the Merchantile Trust Company of New York, which represented various bondholders interests, and the banking and brokerage firm of Thomas and Ryan of New York City which provided for the purchase and reorganization of the properties that then comprised the railway system of the Central RailRoad and Banking company of Georgia. These properties were sold to Thomas and Ryan for 2 million dollars. October 31, 1895 The purchasers took possesion of all of the property of the Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia which was then renamed The Central of Georgia Railway. This property did not include assets pertaining to the banking department which was liquidated and ceased to exist by February 1896. This information comes from Richard Prince’s book “Central of Georgia Railway and connecting lines” and from the December 1958 issue of the CofG magazine “The Right Way”. I invite anyone to correct any mistakes in dates or information I may have made. So, 1833 or 1895.......depends on whether you consider the “birth” as when it started or when the name was applied.

If you need any further dates on specific lines, let me know and I'll see what I can find. Bryan Smith Columbia Alabama

-- Bryan Smith (, January 15, 2001.

According to Indiana University Press, the only other Prince books to be reprinted under their current contract with him are the L&N volume, released last fall (although I have not seen it anywhere) and the NC&StL book, due in May. His other books, presumably including CofG, may still come in the future if IUP continues working with Mr. Prince on additional reprints.

-- Larry Goolsby (, January 12, 2001.

Stephen, The book "Central of Georgia Railway and Connecting Lines" by Richard E. Prince was written in 1976 contains a wealth of historical data on the Central of Georgia Railway and its predecessors, the Central Railroad and Canal Company and the Central Railroad and Banking Company. Incorporation dates and opening dates of many predecessor roads are included, as well as opening dates of many sections of trackage.

This book is, however, currently out of print. Copies do show up on e- bay on occasion. You might also check with any rare book dealers dealing with transportation subjects. An earlier Q&A on a similar topic stated that Ron's Books, who advertises in Trains magazines, has recently had a Prince CofGa book for sale. You can expect to pay between $120-$400 (U.S.) for a good copy.

Mr. Prince also wrote similar books on the Southern, the Norfolk & Western, the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line, and several other southeastern railroads. Recently, the Indiana University Press released reprints of the Seaboard and ACL books. They were originally going to reprint all of the Prince books, including the CofGa, but I have not heard if this is still going to happen. If the CofGa book is reprinted, it will likely cost around $45.00 (U.S.)

A great deal of the Central of Georgia's records are still in existence. The Georgia Historical Society, in Savannah, has an immense collection of documents and drawings. They have nearly 40,000 drawings from the Engineering Department and several thousand boxes of correspondence and other documents. There are some documents from the 1890s, although the majority are 1930-1960. Recently, another large collection of CofGa documents was located in a Savannah warehouse. The CGRHS is currently working to make an inventory of these records (12 pallets!!)

-- Allen Tuten (, January 11, 2001.

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