Atlanta to Fort Valley

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The passenger depot at Inman. The Southern Railway called this station "Ackert". Photo by Neal Brown.

This abandoned railway line was originally chartered as the Atlanta and Hawkinsville Railroad in 1886. Despite the A&H's intent to build from Atlanta south to Cordele, GA, the line only went as far as Fort Valley by 1888. The line ran parallel to both the Central of Georgia mainline and the Southern Railway mainline between Atlanta and Macon.

During its early years, several passenger trains were run along the line, as evidenced by the 11 passenger stations found along the route, including one in both Atlanta and Fort Valley. The line was renamed to the Atlanta and Florida Railroad before ultimately coming under the control of the Southern in 1895.

The Great Depression in the 1930s resulted in the loss of many lines and the Southern made the decision to redirect traffic from this line to their mainline between Atlanta and McDonough, then to Williamson, where an existing connection with this line was utilized in order to give access along the remainder of this line south to Fort Valley. Despite the new traffic pattern, a 1932 timetable shows at least 6 trains running along the line before the abandonment of the northern portion of the line in 1938.

The southern portion between Williamson and Fort Valley saw continued use for local traffic by the Southern up until the mid-1970s, when the northern end of the line between Williamson and Roberta was pulled up in 1977.

Today, the segment between Roberta and Fort Valley still sees service, as a local shortline operator serves a sand mine in that area.

Thanks to Eugene Cain for contributing information about this route.

Portions of this line still exist around Fort Valley, but the Southern removed the rails on the northern portion of the line before the second World War. Much of the roadbed has been lost but some is still visible today.

Neal Brown
Fort Valley, GA
11/14/2007

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There is another railroad station for the Atlanta and Florida still in existence in Fayette County. The station is in the town of Kenwood, between Riverdale and Fayetteville - it is just hard to see behind all the saplings that are growing up around it. It is on the aptly name Olde road just east and south of the old store fronts.

Larry DeBert
Fayetteville, GA
1/20/2010

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@Larry - Where is the station in Kenwood located? We should get pictures before it is gone!

Steve Matta
Marietta, GA
6/6/2011

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The Kenwood station is located about 8 miles south of Riverdale. Go down Georgia 85 until you come to Highway 279. Make a right turn and then make a right turn onto Olde Road. The station will be on your left.

Larry DeBert
Fayettevlle, GA
7/23/2011

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Part of the right of way is currently used a walking trail in Kenwood Park, just off of Hwy 279. The path is on the Eastern edge of the park.

Larry DeBert
Fayettevlle, GA
7/23/2011

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Very interesting. I found your site after looking up the origins of "Ackert" after I passed the old railroad depot on a bike ride. Using satellite imaging from 1955, I put together what I believe to be a fairly accurate map of the line from Atlanta to Inman. I attempted to plot out the stops as well; some I know exactly where they are, others are educated guesses.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=203300312836092629916.0004ab1014faf12efdbb8

Emmett
Fayetteville, GA
8/21/2011

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I visited the Kenwood station the other day and it's still standing but in bad condition. I took a few photos that I would like to share. Also please check out this link. There is a photo of the Kenwood depot (not sure of the date taken ~ 1930s) http://fayettehistoricalsociety.com/HISTFAYETTEPHOTOS.html.

Also, is there a good resource about this line? I want to possibly do a documentary about it. Thanks

T Bethel
Fayetteville, GA
12/23/2011

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The Georgia Department of Transportation has a project to improve the intersection of SR 16 and Vaughn Rd./Rover-Zetella Rd. and I am doing part of the environmental review for this project. In doing my background research, I noted that the topographic quad for the Zetella area had a feature running north-south just east of the intersection and it was labeled "Old RR grade." I believe this is the old Atlanta to Fort Valley line. Is anyone familiar with the history of the line in this specific area or can you connect me to someone who is? In doing an initial reconnaissance of the area, I also noted a small depot-like building just west of the corridor as depicted on the map and north of what is now Railroad Dr. Any information/direction provided would be helpful.

Pam
Griffin, GA
1/5/2012

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Pam,

What you've found is indeed the old Atlanta and Florida Railway grade through Zetella. It appears that SR 16 once crossed the railroad line with a bridge and once the railroad was abandoned, the bridge was just filled it.

The building you found south of SR 16 was indeed a depot whose archictecture is very similar to the other surving depots along the line in Zebulon and Meansville.

Eric
Alpharetta, GA
2/22/2012

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Using old aerial photos, I traced the rest of the line to Atlanta: http://www.openstreetmap.org/?way=164879063

A few bits are still visible on current aerials, but most of the line has been redeveloped.

NE2
NE2
5/24/2012

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Do you have any pictures or information about Atlanta to Fort Valley? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.