Chattanooga Railroad Series: Central Of Georgia

Thursday, April 03, 2014

(Chattanooga, in the 1890s had 10 railway outlets with 66 passenger trains arriving and departing daily. The town was criss-crossed with train tracks, including not only the main lines but the connecting Belt Line. It's not so often today that you get a glimpse of a train in Chattanooga, but many of the old tracks remain. Many railroad crossing signs and switches are still in place, but these days receive little or no use).

Chattanoogans could once step on the Central of Georgia Railroad at a downtown depot and take a train to Savannah.

A line was built into town from Summerville, LaFayette, Chickamauga and Rossville by the Chattanooga, Rome and Columbus Railroad, which was chartered in 1881 as the Rome and Carrollton Railroad. As plans for the line stretched north, the name was changed to the Chattanooga, Rome and Columbus in 1887. 

Tracks had reached Chattanooga by 1888 from Carrollton. It was the middle of Boom times.

The line was later the Chattanooga, Rome and Southern. It afterward became part of the Central of Georgia that stretched to the ocean.

The Central of Georgia built a large brick freight depot on South Market Street by what is now the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex. When the Choo Choo opened, it was included as part of the attraction's convention center.

The Central of Georgia freight depot was later torn down when it was decided to build a center for the electric bus shuttle as well as a parking garage.

The tracks are still in place on the Central of Georgia, though few trains still cross at Main Street by the old Cherco-Cola bottling plant.

The line, however, is used by the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum for steam train excursions to Summerville, where an engine turntable was installed.

The Central of Georgia went by the old Peerless Woolen Mill in Rossville, and there was a depot where the Park Woolen Mill was on one side of the track and the Richmond Hosiery Mill on the other.

The line stayed just below Rossville Boulevard, though it came close on the section before Hamill Road (now Workman Road). Just past Hamill Road, there was an extension that went to the factories at Alton Park.

There was a long spur built to serve the D.M. Steward plant, and a short section of it can still be seen in the roadway to the plant.

The Central of Georgia passed near Calhoun Avenue and went by Clifton Hill before a crossing of Chattanooga Creek.

It continued on to the Central of Georgia yards near Rossville Avenue. A number of rail cars are still in the old yards.

Many new homes have been built by the Central of Georgia tracks at Jefferson Heights on the Southside.

The line crosses Main Street by the old brick Office Coordinators and by the Hajoca facility. There is a large signal arm at Main Street that is seldom used.

The Central of Georgia then goes to the rear of the old Terminal Station, where it took a turn to its freight depot. Track remains behind the Choo Choo and through the warehouses just to the north.  

A short line railroad operates on a section of the Central of Georgia between Chattooga County and Chickamauga. It has a depot at LaFayette.

 


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