Former Man-O-War line in danger : LUSENET : Central of Georgia Railway Historical Soc : One Thread

This past week the Central sections of Alabama and Georgia were hit with some pretty heavy rain that has disrupted service on several rail lines and appears to have put a former Central of Georgia line in peril.

The "R" line operates north out of Columbus and formerly extended all the way to Raymond GA (Milepost 72) where it joined the old CofG Griffin-Chattanooga mainline. The Man-O-War used the entire route then ran north of Raymond for about 6 miles to Newnan where it acquired the rails of the AW&P for the leg into Atlanta. In latter years Norfolk Southern abandoned the section from Allie (Milepost 55) to Raymond and the line saw a single local that originated in Columbus. The primary customers on the line in latter years have been the Georgia Pacific plant in Durand and a chip mill in Greenville along with a rock mine closer to Columbus in Barin (Milepost 10).

Getting back to very present times, I have copied the following posts from the Alabama Rails bulletin board that have been posted the past couple of days. Some of these posts were made by CGRHS members:

I was called late yesterday (5/9/2003)afternoon ( around 5PM CDT ) and informed that a bridge on the "R" line, Columbus to Allie (Greenville ), has washed out and he was told by his supervisor that NS would not replace the bridge and would probably abandon the line north of Fortson rock quarry. This will leave Georgia Pacific at Durand and Chip Mill at Allie stranded. ***************************************************** Only bad trouble we've had was the bridge at R38 on the Allie line got washed out. Will they rebuild it? Don't know yet. ************************************************************* Just got back from R38 Bridge. Walked with a NS T&S man. He said it didn't look that bad.. 54 ties suspended. Northern head wall washed behind and collapsed. Steel girders down on one end. Rumor is it won't be rebuilt but will have to wait on someone who counts to make that decision. ********************************************************************

To the best of my knowledge there is not much rail business between Barin and Durand. At one time there were several woodyards but they have been long closed. The Georgia Pacific plant at Durand is also served by CSX's former AB&C Lineville Sub and I'm not sure about the volume of business from the chip mill at Greenville. If NS chooses to pursue it, the section from Durand to Greenville could be turned over to CSX which would probably result in no customers being without service. I did see some postings that alluded to the above happening and the line still being repaired and operated out of Columbus as a tourist type attraction. The line serves the Calloway Gardens/Pine Mountain tourist areas which have really grown in the past several years. This of course is pure speculation and dreams at this point and would require much effort and would also depend greatly on what decisions NS makes over the coming weeks. (But could you picture the GSWR's FP-9's in the CofG inspired scheme operating an excursion over the line....remember GSWR serves Columbus)

On a more realistic view, I think it points up once again the danger of a line depending on a single customer for it's existance and what can happen when something catastrophic occurs on the line. The last remnants of the old CofG from Eufaula to Ozark fell victim of this lately when Louisiana Pacific closed their plant at White Oak, the last customer on the branch. Now the line sits unused except for a mile or two around Eufaula.

The perils of the "R" line also reinforce the oft heard line: "Get them pics while you can!!!"

If I see any further updates on the "R" line, I will keep everyone informed.

Bryan Smith

-- Bryan Smith (, May 11, 2003


Is there any chance the Georgia Department of Transportation may step in and purchase the track? They've done quite a bit of this in recent years, having purchased the ex-SAL trackage of both the Heart of Georgia and Georgia Southwestern, the ex-CofG LaFayette-Chattanooga section of the Chattooga and Chickamauga, portions of the long dormant ex-G&F in south GA, etc. as well as assist in rehabilitating a good bit of the privately owned shortline trackage in the state. Also, if the 17 mile Raymond-Allie portion of the route were restored, one would again have an Atlanta-Columbus passenger route, which is sort in fashion these days given all of the talk of commuter rail. Further, the line traverses through Harris County, which is becoming a populated bedroom community of Columbus, and by Calloway Gardens. I'm not saying the line wont ultimately have the same fate as the adjacent Southern Columbus branch, but it seems to me that there would be some interest in preserving it.

-- Eric Rickert (, September 24, 2003.

An update on the "R" line was posted today by Glenn Marsh on the Alabama Rails bulletin board. It doesn't look good and if the cost estimate holds true, it would appear NS was just looking for any excuse to close this line. Perhaps a politician or two will recognize the importance of maintaining rail service to this area and lean on NS to not abandon the line. Here is a copy of the post from Alabama Rails:

Went over to Georgia Pacific plant at Durand, Ga. Spoke to the extra CSXT crew switching the GP Plant since Bridge at "R 38.1" was heavily damaged in flood last week.( Bridge is repairible, estimates in less than a week for maybe as high as $100,000 )Just another way of trimming off some more unwanted branchlines. They were told by their supervisor that in next few days, 2 NS locomotives would be delivered to GP plant at Durand for one last trip to the MEAD chip mill in ALLIE to retrieve the 45 cars they have stranded there. NS WAS NOT going to rebuild the bridge and apparently is going to cease service north of MP 12 at Fortson Rock Quarry. Pray for a miracle. Hopefully someone will come to the rescue and start operating it as a short line. Will try to keep ya'll posted if I hear anuthing else. Any one learning the delivery date of the last run needs to post it.. GET your Pictures of the "R LINE" while it is still there. A DISGUSTED Glenn K. Marsh ( aka roanoke_rocket )

-- Bryan Smith (, May 13, 2003.

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