This abandoned railway line was originally chartered as the Rome and Decatur Railroad sometime after the Civil War to build a line from Rome, GA across Alabama to Decatur, starting in 1887. By the end of 1888, the R&D had built 51 miles of track from Rome, GA to Attalla (west of Gadsden), AL. In 1890, the Richmond Terminal Company allowed the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad to purchase and absorb it. The ETV&G was in turn acquired as part of the new Southern Railway in 1894.
The railroad extended from Rome, GA, through Coosa, Mt. Hope and Early, GA, then through Farill, Lawrence, Cedar Bluff, Round Mountain, Richardson, Leesburg, Mackey, Slackland, Murray Cross, Turkeytown and Anderson, AL, and then through Gadsden and to Attalla on the Alabama Great Southern (later Southern). The route followed along the west bank of the Coosa River. A branch went from Cedar Bluff to Gaylesville. The line was never more than a secondary route, and was abandoned by Southern in the 1950s. The only surviving segments today are the Norfolk Southern branch from Rome to Coosa, in order to serve a paper mill and power plant there on the Coosa River, and a segment from the Gadsden Steam Plant on the Coosa River through Gadsden to Attalla, also still operated by Norfolk Southern.
Some of the ROW between Cedar Bluff and Leesburg was inundated by Weiss Lake when the Coosa River was impounded for form it in the early 1960s. The ROW can still be made out in many places, and it has been used as the bed for a street in Leesburg. It is interesting to note that the bridge over Weiss Lake is a government mandated 42.5 feet high (over the lake level) in preparation for navigation of the Coosa River and the related lakes. The original plan was for navigable waters to extend from the ocean as far as Rome, GA. Locks were installed to allow navigation from Mobile to Gadsden, but Congress halted work on this project indefinitely in the 1980s. Weiss Lake remains "land-locked" as it were, high bridges and all.