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Georgia Southwestern Railroad Rare Mileage Trips 2005 Sponsored by the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum Part 3

by Chris Guenzler

Georgia Southwestern Eufaula Route Special 11/21/2005

Smithville, GA - Eufaula, AL. This portion of the GSWRR was the Central of Georgia route that ran between Smithville, GA and Eufaula, AL and a portion of the connecting branch from Eufaula, AL to White Oak, AL. The line between Smithville, GA and Eufaula, AL was constructed by the South Western Railroad in 1860. In 1869 the South Western Railroad leased its lines to the Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia. By 1954 the Central held the majority of the stock of the South Western Railroad, thus making those lines part of the Central of Georgia system. The rail line was extended from Eufaula to Montgomery between 1869 and 1870 by the Montgomery and Eufaula Railroad, and was initially acquired by the Central Railroad and Banking Co. in 1879. The railroad was formally transferred to the Central of Georgia in 1895. The connecting branch at Eufaula was originally the Eufaula and Clayton Railroad built in 1872 (actually constructed by the Vicksburg and Brunswick Railroad). Between 1887 and 1888 the line was extended from Clayton to Ozark by The Eufaula and East Alabama Railway. In 1888 both the E&C Railroad and E&EA Railway were consolidated into the Savannah and Western Railroad. In 1895 the Central of Georgia acquired the Savannah and Western Railroad. In 1972 the Central of Georgia abandoned the line between Eufaula, AL and Union Springs, AL. Later in 1985, under the control of Norfolk Southern, the Central of Georgia abandoned the line between Union Springs, AL and Montgomery, AL. The line between Ozark and Clayton was abandoned in 1977, and later in 1986 the line between Clayton and White Oak was abandoned. In 1988, the Norfolk Southern leased under its Thoroughbred Short Line Program the line between Eufaula, AL and Smithville, GA, and the connecting branch between Eufaula, AL and White Oak, AL to the Georgia & Alabama Railroad (a subsidiary of RailTex).

Georgia Southwestern Eufaula Route Special 11/21/2005

Chris and I meet at the hotel lobby before we drove north stopping for snacks on the way out of town before heading to Sasser.

The view of the end of track on this line which has been Railbank and may one day be returned to service towards Albany.

Looking north into Sasser from end of present track MP 72.88. We then drove north to Pulpwood Road and our boarding area for our final day on the Georgia Southwestern.

Our train waited in the steady rain at the Georgia Southwestern Station at Sasser.

Bart announced that due to freight activity this morning that we would either have to wait here until 10 AM to go first to Smithville or we could leave now and head for Eufaula first which we decided to do. We left on time heading back to the end of track again in Sasser for the few new people who joined us just for today's ride. The rain continued as we reversed and headed back north up the Sasser Sub towards Dawson Junction.

Here is our train curving into Dawson Junction in the pouring rain.

As we swung onto the mainline, you could see a freight coming down the line from Smithville.

The former Central of Georgia station at Dawson on this very wet morning.

One of the Golden Peanut Mills located in Dawson. Our train headed for Shellman where if the weather would cooperation we would do a Photo Stop. Sure enough, as we made our way towards Shellman the rain let up.

We arrived into Shellman and I shot this picture as I detrained.

The former Shellman Central of Georgia Station.

The train was spotted in front of the station and these pictures we taken of our train over the next ten minutes. Back on board I rode in the train enjoying a Coca-Cola as the train made its way to Cuthbert where I returned to the vestibule.

Our train starting my new mileage as we stayed on the line to Eufaula instead of turning off to go to Bainbridge like we did yesterday.

The former Seaboard Air Line crossing on the line which used to go from Columbus to Tallahassee. Today this line only goes 5.1 miles to the end of track north. It started to rain hard again so I returned inside the warmth of the train for a while. We rolled west through Springvale and Morris then across Pataula Creek and Tobenanny Creek before I returned to the vestibule.

The rain kept falling hard as we neared Georgetown. I had set up a cab ride across the Chattahoochee River and into Alabama the first day of our trip. Jason Revalee came to the vestibule, found me and we walked the length of the train into the cab of locomotive GSW 6302. I sat down in the fireman's seat.

The train passed through Georgetown as I got used to timing my pictures to the wind shield wipers clearing the rain drops from our front cab window.

We passed MP 332 as we started out onto the long fill to the bridge across the Chattahoochee River.

Heading out onto the fill.

A slight curve to the left to get us in line with the bridge.

Approaching the Chattahoochee Bridge.

Running out onto the bridge.

Crossing into Alabama on the Chattahoochee River.

Exiting the main span about to hit the ground in Alabama.

As we came into Eufaula, we passed the connecting track to the State Dock Lead.

Next came the southeast leg of the wye switch.

At the northwest leg of the wye switch just beyond was the old Central of Georgia Eufaula Station.

We continued west through Eufaula.

Passing the switches to local industries.

Continuing west by a team track off to the south.

Passing through some local Eufaula vegetation.

Reaching as far west as we would travel at MP 335.5 near the Carbo Ceramic Plant. I thanked the crew for them giving me this unique cab ride. I returned through the train back to the front vestibule to get ready for our trip now east to Smithville, Georgia.

The Eufaula, Alabama station sign.

At the station crossing, we dropped off some of our passengers who had to catch flights home later this afternoon and evening.

The weather had improved as we approached the Chattahoochee River Crossing. The lake which was created in 1963 is known either as Lake Walter E George or Lake Eufaula.

Approaching the main bridge.

Off to the east the highway bridge across the Chattahoochee River and state line.

The highway runs on a fill most of the way across the lake. Our train climbed away from the river and through Georgetown.

One last lake at the Chattahoochee River and lakes.

Crossing Tobenanny Creek.

Crossing Pataula Creek.

Yard Limit sign for Cuthbert.

The stop sign that protects our route across the old Seaboard Air Line in Cuthbert.

The GSW units waited at the ex SAL Crossing for our train to cross on our way east to Smithville.

The Cuthbert water tower stands over the town. I returned inside the train until we neared Dawson.

The yard limit sign for Dawson.

Heading onto the last new trackage of the trip as we head east at Dawson Junction.

The stop sign at the ex Seaboard Air line crossing on the former line from Albany to Richland Line. This line only now extends a mere 1.75 miles north today.

Crossing Chickasawhatchee Creek just before Bronwood on a 113 foot long trestle.

The YL or yard limit sign for Smithville.

We entered a small section of Norfolk Southern owned track to get near the Smithville depot. Views from both sides of the train of Smithville.

Heading back to our stop at the Smithville Yard. There we detrained for a look around.

Ex Conrail B23-7 2009.

Ex Salt Lake Southern GP-9 2207.

This executive caboose with tier seating for track inspection is for sale.

Our train at rest at Smithville.

Georgia Southwestern FP-7Au 6302.

The view of our train from the cupola of the executive caboose which I got to tour.

The rear of our train at Smithville. A few minutes later we continued west towards Dawson.

At the Dawson Crossing a view looking north up the old Seaboard Air Line.

At Dawson we stopped, the crew changed ends and the switch thrown for the Sasser Sub.

Here, we turned off the Smithville onto the Sasser Sub.

Here we make the tight curve at Dawson heading back to Sasser.

The look back at our train on that tight curve. I went back inside the train for a few more inside pictures.

The passengers still enjoying the trip even into the last hour. I asked if I could go back into the cab for a few more pictures with an answer of yes.

Jason Revalee, Operations Manager, running the train back to Sasser.

View out of the cab heading back into Sasser. I returned inside the train and said my goodbyes to my other passengers. I thanked Bart for yet another great series of rare mileage trips. I can not wait to take more trips in my future with Bart. We arrived back into Sasser early ending three days of great train riding in Georgia.

I walked down off the train for one last view of the south end of our train.

Back on the platform it was time to say goodbye to David thanking him for a great trip.

Our passengers leave the train for their homes all around the country.

A final view of our train after everyone but Bart and Sarah had left. Chris and I helped the Jennings unload the lounge stock from the train in order so they could get on the road heading to friends and family up in Tennessee. Chris and I drove back to the Best Western in Albany. I checked my e-mail before Chris and I went to the Outback Steak House for dinner. We returned to the Hotel and I relaxed the rest of the evening.

For the last part of this trip