Rome-Attalla and Rome-Piedmont Lines : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

Can anyone tell me when the Rome(Coosa), GA - Attalla (Gadsden) AL line was abandoned?

Similarly, Rome (Atlanta Junction)-Piedmont-Maxwellborn-Jacksonville.


-- Tom Randall (, June 26, 2000


The Attalla branch (Rome GA--Attalla AL) was abandoned in 1947 or '48. My back issues of Ties are packed up, so I can't give you an exact date, but Frank Ardrey, who documented the final runs on the Attalla branch with his camera, did a good article about it in Ties a few years back. Don't know if that back issue is still available from SRHA. Much of the right of way is now under Lake Weiss, and more of it was bulldozed with the recent four-laning of US 411. Between Gadsden and Centre, the right of way ran parallel with US 411 a good distance, and there are a few places where you can still see the grade of the right of way if you know it's there and know where to look. At Turkeytown, you can still see the remnants of a small trestle that has just about rotted down. Just north of Gadsden on 411, there was a narrow arched overpass over the railroad that was the cause of many deadly accidents (I narrowly missed participating in a couple!--my wife is from Gadsden and we used to drive that road a lot when we lived in the Dalton GA area). They didn't get around to eliminating that overpass until about 45 years after the rails were taken up. Southern was severely limited in the motive power they could use on that branch due to weight restrictions on bridges. A 1929 list of Atlanta division engine assignments shows tenwheelers in use on that line. Later on, G class 260 and H3 339 worked the Attalla local. In the final years, G class 2-8-0 #29 and H-3 2-8-0's 333 and 335 were kept tied up at Rome for use on the Attalla local. The G class was the oldest and lightest of SR's Consolidation types, and the H3's were not much bigger or heavier. The familiar Ks class Consolidations seen on local and branch line trains all over the Southern system were too heavy for the Attalla branch. (There was a similar situation down on the Hawkinsville branch, where the last surviving Mogul [2-6-0] types on the Southern roster, 3004, 3047 and 3412, were retained to cope with the severe weight restrictions.) The 29 pulled the last train on the Attalla branch and handled the work train that took up the rails according to the recollection of retired Southern conductor H. D. "Cowboy" Mintz. Cowboy started to work for Southern in 1946, and he was often the flagman on that run in the first year or so of his career. Engineer King (don't remember his first name) often handled the Attalla local in later years. He is deceased, but "Buster" Dean, who frequently fired that run, was still living the last I heard. I've got a good photo of the 335 on the Attalla local with engineer King and fireman Dean visible in the gangway.

I don't know about Rome-Jacksonville. I'll have to ask Cowboy Mintz the next time I get down to Georgia, or maybe somebody else on the list knows.

-- Lamar Wadsworth (, June 28, 2000.

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