End of the line for former CofGA branches of Pinebelt Southern RR

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My friend Wes, a database programmer in Columbus, Ga, has informed me that the Pinebelt Southern RR will cease operations on the Hurtsboro, AL line to its junction with NS at Nuckols, AL as of this upcoming Friday, January 15, 2000. He apparently talked to the wife of the manager of the Georgia-Pacific log load-out at Hurtsboro, AL. G-P is one of two customers on the line, the other being US Silica, also located at Hurtsboro. The talk is that the owner is old and discouraged by the apparent slackness in the operation and wants to get out of railroading all together. I have no information on the other operation of the Pinebelt Southern, the branch from Lafayette, AL to Opelika, AL. G-P was reported to have considered purchasing the Hurstboro line to preserve service, but the cost was prohibitive. If you have seen how these lines have deteriorated since the PBSR took over, you would understand how daunting the task would be to restore them. I understand he operates the SQVR in North Alabama, the South Alabama in Troy, AL and possibly more. Anyone heard anything? If anyone knows anything, please let me know.

-- Hank Stephens (hstephens@knology.net), January 10, 2000


Last Word I heard on Oct. 6,2001 is that Langley Wood Yard is empty and East Ala. Lumber was bought by Dudley Lumber shipping the chips out by truck.. My friend reported there was one chip hopper still under the chip chute to catch chips between truck movements..it was reported the the Pine Belt crew down here were released and Dick Abernathy was flying a crew from Tennessee to run it on Saturdays only.. but no oen i have asked has seen this train in Opleika recently..rumor is that Abernathy ( after running the line into the ground ) will pull out and return it to Norfolk Southern.. It is estimated that it will take in excess of a millin to get the track back in decent shape... right noe it was down to 5 mph.. with numberous derailments..with that in mind NS will probably file for abandonment when it is returned to them... A Sad Day Indeed, because that little branch had some hope of being a money maker.. This an example of how greed and ruin any business...

-- Glenn K. Marsh (glennm@imspipe.com), October 09, 2001.

Pine Belt is currently running three days a week, though some days they have just 3-4 cars. I think some very minor track work has been done, but probably not enough to stay even with the continuing deterioration. It is pretty interesting to watch the Pine Belt crew trying to get their Opelika work done while at the mercy of CSX and NS trains and dispatchers. Hurtsboro locos (ex-SR GP35 & ex-SS GP30 3059) came up NS from Columbus to Opelika, were interchanged to CSX for trip to Troy. A side note - The GP18 in Troy is ex-IC, not ex- CRI&P. The red and yellow scheme was applied while the unit was on an Abernathy line in Mississippi - Columbia & Silver Creek (I think).

-- David Harris (barbed2@auburn.edu), May 16, 2000.

The Gentleman in question is Richard G. Abernathy and he not only has control of the Pine Belt Southern and the Sequachie Valley, he also runs the Walking Horse & Eastern and was at one time the owner of the Georgia Northeastern. I don't know about the Pine Belt Southern but the SQVR is down from 40 to around 12 miles. If you want to check out a former CofG line ran by sharp folks, may I suggest the Chattooga & Chickamauga Railway. Regards, Warren

-- Warren D. Stephens (wdstephens@prodigy.net), January 10, 2000.

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