CofG/SOU/NS about to be gone from S. Alabama??? : LUSENET : Central of Georgia Railway Historical Soc : One Thread

As most of you have probably heard, Norfolk Southern has announced their intentions to sell off over 3000 miles of trackage in order to try and reduce debt load and turn things around from their disastrous Conrail merger. While no specific routes have been named by NS, I learned today that the Dothan line will only see T&S work this year as far as the MP J357 (Hilton GA). NS T&S'd part of the line last year and I understood at that time that their intentions were to come back this year and go all the way to Dothan. It now appears they are only going as far as Hilton, the junction point with the CIRR. The speed limit from Hilton to Dothan is now 10MPH which should give everyone an indication of how bad this line needs some attention. I would not be at all surprised to see the segment from Hilton to Dothan sold off to a short line. It has been rumored in years past and in looking for weak performing branch lines, this segment would most likely qualify. Todays local had about 6 cars westbound out of Hilton and the return trip had about 15 cars out of Dothan. It's not always this weak with Berg steel pipe and Stone Container in Panama City FL(via the Bayline) still able to provide much business on occasion.

Also, the old depot at Dothan has been sold to a private individual who I understand is going to move his photography studio into it. Here again we could be seeing NS selling assets before selling the entire operation to another party.

The Dothan line is the last former CofG line in South Alabama operated by NS. Might not want to put off that trip much longer if you want to get some photos of this line under NS ownership.

Bryan Smith

-- Bryan Smith (, September 26, 2000


Bryan, I was also passing through Dothan last weekend and wanted to know if they are still planing on converting the old CofG depot to a photography studio? The property was posted no tresspassing and no trucks with a policeman parked there also. It looked pretty much the same as it was nine year ago when I first saw it. Somebody was out there with a weed eater trimming the high grass. While in town I took pictures of the CSX yard and the former ACL depot. Did I miss any other structures or yards and does the Bay Line have a yard or depot in Dothan? Thanks. Justin Dzan

-- Justin Dzan; Louisville, KY (, May 21, 2001.

Bryan, My wifes great uncle is in public relation for Stone Container in Panama City and he stated that they are very unhappy with Norfolk Southern's service on the Dothan line. The paper mill in Panama City requires 15 cars of coal a week to operate the mill. Their contract is with N.S. to provide the coal. N.S.'s contract is with Massey Coal in West Virginia. He told me that some days N.S. will interchange three cars and other days they will deliver 45 cars. Around Labor Day weekend the plant was about to shut down due to lack of coal. They are set up to burn natural gas and wood by-products but this changes production cost. They were having to truck coal in from northern Alabama which added greatly to the cost per ton of coal. Last I heard Stone had pressured N.S. to run an extra train to Dothan with Stone's coal but N.S. had lost the cars at Knoxville, TN. N.S. is also supposed to maintain reserve coal for Stone in Albany, GA. As for N.S. selling the line to a short line I have not heard anything. I am now glad that I took pictures of the Dothan depot about five years ago when the railroad still used it. Unfortunately a short line might offer better service. So much for N.S. paying $1,000,000 for a $500,000 railroad(Conrail). As an engineer for CSXT I get to see the damage of the merger to our railroad almost daily and our stock shows it. I hope that this information could be of use to you and the society. You'all have a great web page. Best Regards, Justin Dzan Louisville, KY

-- Justin Dzan (, September 30, 2000.

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