Georgia railroading began with the building of the Central Rail Road & Canal Co. in 1835. The major railroads today are the Norfolk Southern, serving 1778 of the 4700+ total route miles along with the CSX, which serves the deep water seaports of Savannah and Brunswick. Several Amtrak trains provide passenger service, namely the Crescent, the Silver Meteor, the Silver Star and the Palmetto.
Museum rolling stock includes former 1911 Florida East Coast No. 88, renumber 107 in the 1930's. An HO-scale model train layout currently occupies a 70-foot Southern Railways baggage car interior, which is heated and cooled. The car’s exterior has been restored to its 1939 original Pullman paint scheme.
The centerpiece of the Atlanta Cycloram & Civil War Museum is the steam locomotive Texas, which played a key role in the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862 (also known as Andrews' Raid). The Texas was used by the Confederates to pursue and recover the locomotive General, stolen by Union raiders led by James J. Andrews. The raiders planned to tear up tracks behind them to disrupt the vital Western and Atlantic Railroad supply line between Atlanta and Chattanooga. The General is currently on exhibit at the Kennesaw Civil War Museum in Kennesaw, Georgia. The Great Locomotive Chase was the subject of a Disney movie in 1956. Directions.
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway runs a 3 1/2 hour, 26 mile round trip train ride traveling through the historic Murphy Junction along the beautiful Toccoa River in vintage climate controlled or open air railcars. This railroad was built over 100 years ago and is the only mainline railroad excursion service based in Georgia. Christmas Express trains run during November and December. Directions
Ride in airconditioned 1949 vintage cars on the Sam Shortline Excursion Trainfor a 34 mile scenic train ride to President Carter's birthplace with stops along the way to visit local attractions and shops.Directions
Ride in restored cabooses behind steam or diesel locomotives, stand next to the massive driving wheels of the locomotive that once pulled passenger trains to Key West on the “railroad that went to sea”. Tour the business car that helped bring the Olympics to Atlanta, pose on the platform of the private car once used by President Warren G. Harding, and see just how green Southern Railway green can be as you walk the length of the diesel-electric locomotive that ran the point on the last Crescent before AMTRAK assumed control of the famous train. Directions.
The Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History has three impressive permanent collections and a membership in the prestigious Smithsonian Affiliations Program. The museum offers a wide range of exhibits, including a glimpse into the daily lives of soldiers during the Civil War; a reproduction of a turn-of-the-century locomotive factory; and an exciting depiction of the Civil War's Great Locomotive Chase featuring the General 4-4-0 steam locomotive. Directions.
The Georgia State Railroad Museum was a former 1830's Central of Georgia Railway headquarters, with repair shops and a turntable. Listed as the oldest and most extensive railroad site in the western hemisphere it also features antique machinery dating back from 1833. Some of the rolling stock includes a BLW 1907 Central of Georgia 2-8-0, No. 223, an 1886 0-6-0 Tank - 6 Wheel Switcher, No. 8, and a 1964 Savannah & Atlanta GP-35, No. 2715, diesel-electric locomotive. For a truly unique dining experience, be sure to check out another piece of history at the Whistle Stop Cafe in the Central of Georgia diner car # 805, located across the street at the Savannah History Museum.
Climb aboard the Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad for scenic train rides pulled by a full size locomotive from the 1940s with open-air cars that will take you on a lively five-mile scenic rail excursion around the mountain. Marvel at beautiful views of Stone Mountain and the surrounding landscape.Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad has rebuilt two ex-Southern Railroad FP7A diesel locomotives that will also have a new paint scheme. Directions.
Okefenokee Heritage Center displays include a 1912 Baldwin steam locomotive along with a 342 foot train (including a caboose). An original train depot housing a collection of railroad memoralbelia.
The history of Georgia's Great Locomotive Chase during the Civil War:
On April 12, 1862, twenty Union soldiers in disguise boarded a train in Georgia to execute a scheme that was meant to bring a quick end to the Civil War. The plan, devised by a quinine-smuggling Union scout and an astronomer turned general, was to steal a locomotive and drive it to Chattanooga, capturing a key railroad connection whose loss would cut the Confederacy in half. The raid might have succeeded if not for the train's conductor, who pursued the hijackers on foot ("this seemed to be funny to some of the crowd," he said later, "but it wasn't so to me") and then by handcar and a series of three engines. The Union men were captured, and eight were hung as spies; some of the survivors later became the first Medal of Honor recipients.