Questions Regarding History of Georgia and Florida RR : LUSENET : Central of Georgia Railway Historical Soc : One Thread

I have a few questions regarding the history of the Georgia and Florida RR. I do know that it was pieced together from logging lines by John S. Williams in 1907 after he was ousted as president of the SAL (as vengence?), went into receivership in 1929 and remained there until Southern purchased its rail assets in 1964.Was it conceived as just a link between Augusta and south Georgia/north Florida or did it intend to extend beyond to ,say, Tampa and Charlotte? Why did it build its extension from Augusta to Greenwood, SC so late in 1929?(to connect with SAL?)Did it have any substantial industrial or overhead/bridge traffic or was it essentially a 300+ mile collection of light density agricultural branch lines? Finally, if the last question is true why did Bill Brosnan want to purchase such an operation on behalf of the Southern?

-- Eric J. Rickert (, October 06, 2001


"Bob, Is it plausible that the Southern in the early 1960's was anticipating trackage rights into Florida, particularly the Gulf coast-Tampa area, with the upcoming ACL-SAL merger? It's sort of farfetched, but I thought it was worth asking."

Off-hand I am not sure that it was as much an issue of what the Southern might gain in regards to the ACL-SAL merger as it might have been an issue of simply trying to develop a third, competing route... one that would not be quite so "weather sensitive" during hurricane season.

I know as late as 1971 there was talk of trying to upgrade the line from Augusta - south out of the hope of using it as a Northeast - Florida route but that the traffic never materialized at levels that the SR would have liked, leaving them with a line that didn't have enough to sustain itself, except in small segments (many of which are still in use today, albeit by shortlines). Sad really... but it was the same problem with SR's acquisition of the Pidcock lines (Georgia Northern, Albany and Northern and G.A.S.&C.)... traffic out of Albany to Florida never materialized as the SR had hoped, even though the GANO line survived to be operated for a while by Norfolk Southern and is now in use by a shortline.

-- Jerry M. LaBoda (, November 20, 2003.

Bob, Is it plausible that the Southern in the early 1960's was anticipating trackage rights into Florida, particularly the Gulf coast-Tampa area, with the upcoming ACL-SAL merger? I recall reading that the Southern wanted trackage rights in the Jax-Tampa corridor over the new SCL, so perhaps they were also considering trackage rights from Tampa to Perry, FL and then via the LO,P,&SG and G&F to have a West Florida-Northeast routing. It's sort of farfetched, but I thought it was worth asking.

Also, I realize that this is a CofG message board, but how was a city as large as Tampa allowed by the ICC to have service from just one railroad (SCL-CSX)and not grant the Southern access to it?

-- Eric J. Rickert (, November 20, 2003.

I can answer (or at least shed light on) a couple of parts of this question.

The G&F built its Greenwood extension in order to connect with the SAL and the P&N (and, indirectly - through the P&N - the Clinchfield). The G&F was sorely lacking in friendly connections at Augusta. The C&WC was owned by the ACL, the Southern was reluctant to short-haul itself by turning loads over the G&F, and a GaRR routing was circuituous except on business originating on the Georgia Road.

As to why Brosnan wanted the G&F - I don't know, but I can tell you that the Southern had some fairly major problems with the ACL on its trackage rights arrangement between Hardeeville, SC, and Jacksonville in 1949 and again in 1963, along with other minor skirmishes in between these major battles. Brosnan may have seen a way out of this ongoing struggle by buying the G&F and upgrading it as a through route from Florida to the northeast.

Speculation, based on a little research.

Bob Hanson

-- Robert H. Hanson (, October 08, 2001.

While not an expert on the old GA and FL Railroad, I'll take a stab at answering some of your questions. My source of information is Prince's book on the Central of Georgia. There is a section covering short lines that the CG was closely aligned with and the G&F is one of the roads covered.

The original plan for the G&F and proposed in 1906 consisted of a line that ran from Columbia SC to an unmanned deep sea port and railroad terminal to be developed in Florida and located on the Gulf of Mexico. At the height of it's success there were branches off the mainline extending to Statesboro, Tennille, Millen, and Moultrie. The branch to Statesboro was originally planned to extend further eastward where the G&F would gain access to Savannah via trackage rights on the Savannah and Statesboro Railroad to Cuyler GA, then trackage rights from Cuyler into Savannah over the SAL. The Division point was Douglas GA which also served as the location of the shops. As info, the old G&F depot in Douglas survives and is now used for city offices. I was over there recently and they did a really good job in their restoration.

A 1923 timetable shows 2 passenger trains a day in each direction between Augusta and Madison FL. The night train carried a Pullman that went through to Jacksonville via the GS&F at Valdosta.

There was no mention of the maount of freight business on the line but maybe someone else can fill in that detail.

Hope this helps a bit, Bryan Smith

-- Bryan Smith (, October 06, 2001.

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