Chattanooga Railroad Series: Summerville, Ga.

  • Monday, February 2, 2015

Summerville, Ga., has welcomed the railroad in a big way.

It is one of the few communities wise enough to save its historic depot.

And Summerville made a big train investment when it arranged to have a 1916 turntable that was headed to be scrapped moved from Birmingham. The cost was around $2 million.

The 100-foot turntable, which was built by the American Bridge and Iron Company, was moved in November 1999. The dedication was held in 2003 after a new turntable pit was constructed for the 90-ton structure in the city's downtown Dowdy Park. A short track connection was then made to the old Central of Georgia line.

The turntable began rotating steam locomotives for the Tennessee Valley Railroad, which began periodic steam train excursions from Chattanooga. The route is along the Central of Georgia tracks through Rossville, Chickamauga and LaFayette.

In a rarity, TVRM locomotives 630 & 4501 teamed up to pull the final Summerville Steam Special of the season on Nov. 8, 2014.

At one time, it was possible to take the train along the Central of Georgia all the way to Savannah. However, the tracks are no longer in use south of Summerville and are grown up in weeds.

The frame depot at Lyerly, Ga., to the south of Summerville was boarded up and then dismantled. The Central of Georgia continued on to Rome, Ga., and points south.



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