A , B and A

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Recently I was reading, Wayne Cline's book "Alabama Railroads". This book states that the Atlantic and Birmingham Railway was aquired in 1906 and extended to Manchester GA, where it split into a line leading into Atlanta GA and the other heading for Birmingham AL. It was then called the Atlanta, Birmingham and Atlantic Railroad. The book then states that the Birmingham Branch followed the roadbed for the defunct Macon and Birmingham Railway through Roanoke AL and Pyriton AL. Can anyone give any information ont he Macon and Birmingham Railway? I reside and Roanoke and have never heard any mention of that railroad and the book does not mention it other than that the A B and A followed their defunct route. Anyhelp would be appreciated.

Thanks James

P.S. there is a little town located not too far from Roanoke called Abanda. Does anyone see the hidden name?

-- James Ray (strkeagl2@aol.com), June 18, 1999


I've never heard this story - very interesting. Can you post the details on the Roanoke book, including title, cost, and how I can get a copy by mail? Thanks.

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), June 25, 1999.

One last question. Old tales from the area state that the East Alabama Railway's construction stalled due to lack of money and lack of a way off the ridge Roanoke is located on. Ok, the A, B and A was originally supposed to bypass Roanoke a little to the south, passing from Standing Rock to Welch, to the Clacksville area and finally crossing the Tallapoosa below Wadley. Rumor has it that a group of wealthy buisnessmen from Roanoke convinced (possibly with some $$) the A, B and A to detour to the north to Roanoke. This hasty detour also left the A, B and A stranded, for a while, without a way off the ridge. It is said, that a local found the way off the ridge for the A, B and A by using the High Pine Creek. Like I said, thats what I have heard ,years ago, from many old timers around the area. Does your research confirm this? I dont doubt that this didn't happen, but I am wondering if this was widely publisized or just a local affair with town and railroad? Does that question make sense?? If not maybe I can reword what I am looking for.


-- Jim (jwray123@aol.com), June 24, 1999.

Thank you for the information. I have a paperback book entitled "The History of Roanoke" which includes two wonderful pictures of the A,B and A laying track. Never once was the M and B mentioned...so it kinda threw me off when I read "Alabama's Railroads". Its all clear now. Thanks :D


-- Jim (Jwray123@aol.com), June 24, 1999.

Someone clearly more alert than I am pointed out that I "meant" to say Atlanta, Birmingham, & ATLANTIC yesterday.

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), June 22, 1999.

The Atlanta, Birmgham & Atlanta was actually formed in 1905, although in 1906 it took over the Atlantic & Birmingham and began building the extension to Atlanta and Birmingham. The Birmingham line was not actually thought of as a "branch," but was in fact initially considered the mainline of the AB&A. The railroad's promoters thought a new and more direct route from Birmingham to the Atlantic ocean (the AB&A had port facilities in Brunswick) would prosper by shipping Birmingham's mineral and industrial output to the sea. The AB&A went bankrupt shortly after it reached Birmingham, but that's another story that will be told in my "forthcoming" book on the AB&A and its successors.

The M&B projected its route to Birmingham through the same Alabama counties as the AB&A's eventual route. I have not uncovered any specific evidence that the AB&A used any of the exact right of way that M&B had mapped out (if indeed M&B ever got to that stage of planning), but several accounts make this statement.

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), June 21, 1999.

The Macon & Birmingham Railway ran from Macon to LaGrange, GA, and was built by the Macon Construction Company, the same outfit that built the Georgia Southern & Florida Railway. The line was completed to LaGrange in 1891, entered receivership in 1892, and was reorganized (independent of the GS&F) in 1896. After a second receivership in 1908, Southern Railway ended up with the railroad through ownership of its bonds. The Southern didn't want the railroad, but operated it as an autonomous company, with little help/interference from the parent.

The M&B operated until November, 1922, when the money ran out. The line was officially abandoned in 1927 after several unsuccessful efforts to sell the property as an operating (?) entity.

I have also heard or read that the AB&A west of LaGrange was built on the former M&B right of way, possibly some of its unused grade, but cannot remember where I read or heard this information. I heard it years before Mr. Cline's book was published.

Hope this helps.

Bob Hanson

-- Robert H. Hanson (RHanson669@aol.com), June 19, 1999.

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