Ludowici to Collins

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Map submitted by Suzy Krone.

(Forwarded from the Georgia Coast & Piedmont Railroad)

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GC&P Road follows the right-of-way of the Georgia Coast and Piedmont, which runs along a canal in what is now a lumber growth forest, owned by Land Managment (and various other pine growers). Photo by Suzy Krone.

This line was built between 1894 and 1904 to connect Brunswick to Collins, with a final extension of the line laid to Ludowici in 1906. The total line distance was 98.4 miles. Utlimately, the line was owned by The Georgia Coast and Piedmont Railroad, which itself was the result of a merger involving several different railroads: the Darien and Western, the Darien Short Line, the Collins and Reidsville Railroad, and the Reidsville and Southern Railroad.

Once all three line were consolidated in 1906 construction began to link Darien with the port in Brunswick. This was completed 1914. The railroad was built to help expidite timber from the interior counties to the port of Darien and later Brunswick. Soon after it's completion the timber was exausted and the rail raod went into receivership.

The line was abandoned in sections. Warwaw to Fairhope was abandoned in 1914, Ludowici to Brunswick in 1919, Ludowici to Glennville in 1921, and Glennville to Collins in 1941.

The portion of rail bed and bridges from Broadfield to Darien was merged with GA Route 17. Another part of the railbed was used to make GA Route 99 which travels from Darien to Eulonia. Still other parts of the railbed survey today as access roads and powerline corridors. The fact that much of the right of way can still be seen in aireal photogrpahs and topographic maps is a credit to the men that built it.

Warsaw, Georiga, located in McIntosh County, was once an area bustling with wood mills that took advantage of the lush forests in the vicinity. And as expected, railroads were abundant to haul the milled wood out. The town was originally called Darien Junction, because of its location next to the junction of the Georgia Coast & Piedmont (ex-Darien & Western) and the Seaboard Air Line. The town housed mill workers, stores and even a hotel, and reached its peak in the 1930s.

Today, nothing remains of the town, except for a brick vault, which was formerly found in the main offices of the Warsaw Lumber Company. The remnants of the old GC&P railroad trestle across the Altahama River still stand as evidence where a railroad once ran. The only reminder of the town is an old dirt road named Warsaw Road, which runs through the area where Warsaw once stood.

Thanks to Suzy Krone for contributing information about this route.

HI TO YOU, HAVE HEARD MANY STORIES FROM MY DECEASED DAD ABOUT THE OLD G C AND P RAILROAD. HE WAS BORN IN 1908 AND LIVED HERE IN LUDOWICI. HE HAD MEMORIES OF THE RAILWAY OPERATING AS A CHILD. THE OLD RAILROAD TRAMWAY PASSED NEAR THEIR FARM AND PASSES WHERE I CURRENTLY LIVE. THERE IS PRETTY GOOD EVIDENCE OF THE RAILROAD BED IN THE WEFANNIE AREA. THE OLD RAISED BEDWAY STILL VISIBLE AND SOME REMNANTS OF THE TRESTLE THAT CROSSED JONES CREEK THERE. THE HISTORY OF THIS RAILWAY IS FAST DYING OUT HERE. MYSELF AND A FEW MORE PERHAPS BEING THE ONLY REMAINING PEOPLE. I WOULD SURE LIKE TO SEE A HISTORY DONE OF THIS LINE BEFORE IT IS GONE FOREVER. I AM ALSO FAMILIAR WITH THE HILTON JUNCTION CROSSING THOUGH NOT MUCH LEFT. I BELIEVE MY DECEASED GRANDFATHER, HOWELL PRICE WORKED AT THE JUNCTION OF GC & P AT LUDOWICI WITH THE COASTAL LINE AS A CAR SWITCHER. HE WAS INJURED IN A RAILCAR ACCIDENT AND NEVER FULLY RECOVERED HAVING SEIZURES OFF AND ON FROM HEAD INJURIES THERE. IF YOU HAVE FURTHER INFO. AND PARTICULARLY PHOTOS, I WOULD BE VERY INTERESTED IN THESE. FEEL FREE TO CONTACT. THANKS

wendell a. theus
long county ga., GA
12/16/2012

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I worked as a Forester for an industrial landowner who owned several stretches of the GC&P railroad bed in Long and McIntosh Counties.

During the 1950's there were many people still around who had clear memories of Warsaw Lumber Co. and the GC&P a well.

I have heard it told on several occasions of a train being stalled along the way due to running out of coal to fire the engines boiler. The crew would scamper out into the pine flatwoods and gather enough Lightard Knots and chunks of Fat Lightard to once again get a full head of steam. This would hopefully get them to the next point where coal was available. If they didn't make it, they would just make another Lightard knot stop along the way. This is what they called "making out". For those not familiar with the term "Lightard", it is rich rosin filled pine wood, commonly available in piney woods. It is highly flammable and commonly used for fuel by families living in the flatwoods. Railroad crews along the GC&P had learned that it was a good substitute for coal.

I also recall that the initials GC&P were known to mean, "get out, coast, and push". Must have been a period where the trains may not have been reliable.

Vernon Holt
Ellijay, , GA
2/13/2013

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GOOD TO HEAR THERE ARE AT LEAST A COUPLE OF US WHO ARE INTERESTED IN HISTORY OF OLD GC&P RAILWAY SYSTEM. MY FATHERS RECOLLECTION WAS THAT THIS OLD RAILROAD FOLLOWED AN OLD INDIAN TRAIL MOSTLY FROM COASTAL INDIANS OF THEIR TIME WHO TRAVELED AND HUNTED THIS GA. SECTION. ALSO ONE OF THEIR MAIN TRAVEL INTENTS WAS TO SECURE FLINT ROCK FOR ARROW HEADS, SPEAR POINTS, ETC., NOT BEING AVAILABEL IN OUR COASTAL AREAS. WHEN THEY WERE LOOKING FOR A POSSIBLE NEW RAILROAD LOCATION, NATURALLY THEY WOULD HAVE EXPLORED THIS OLD TRAIL SYSTEM AND SEEING THE STRAIGTNESS OF TRAVEL, CHOSE IT FOR THEIR NEEDS. AT THE RAILROAD DEMISE, THE UPSTART POWER COMPANIES SOON SAW A WISE MOVE TO PLACE A HIGH LINE GRID IN THE SAME WELL TRAVELED TRAILWAY& RAILWAY.iT APPEARS THAT THE OLD RAILWAY WENT ALMOST EXACTLY UNDER OUR PRESENT SHERIFF'S OFFICE AND BACK OF OUR CURRENT COURT HOUSE. IMMAGINE THAT. I HAVE BEEN ON SOME OF THE STILL FAIRLY EVIDENT RAILWAY BEDS AND THOUGHT BACK TO A TIME WHEN A WHEEZING, SMOKING TRAIN AND ENGINE PASSED RIGHT THRU THE VERY PLACE I WAS STANDING.

WENDELL A. THEUS
LONG COUNTY, GA
2/14/2013

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My great uncle Hugh Ryals left home at age 10-11 because his step mother was so mean even the dogs left home. He was befriended by Columbus Townsend in Salt Springs, FL and he lived in Norwalk,FL well into his eighties. His dad was Edward Canfield Ryals who had a farm in Tibet I think. A railroad passed through the back of the farm and this is where Hugh's journey began. There is a Ryals Cemetery out there somewhere which I have visited. It has the grave markers of Ocaca Ryals and two Jenkins family members. Any information you could share would be greatly appreciated. So sorry we lost Tommy houston. Never met him but exchanged many emails.

Richard Ryals
San Mateo, FL
4/20/2014

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HI, THIS IS ACTUALLY TO ADDRESS RICHARD RYALS COMMENTS DATED 4-20-2014. THE G C &P RAILLINE DID TRAVEL THRU OR NEAR THE TIBET COMMUNITY OF S.EAST GA. MY GRANDMOTHER WAS A RYALS-- BETTY RYALS-BORN JAN.1 1900. SHE LIVED TO SEE 84 YEARS. SHE HAD SEVERAL BROTHERS & SISTERS. THE OLDEST & PATRIARCH OF THE FAMILY WAS REUBEN RYALS WHO LIVED IN DARIEN, GA. HE AND HIS WIVES & MANY OF THE SIBLINGS WERE BURIED IN THE HARDSHELL CHURCH CEMENTARY JUST NORTH OF COX, GA. PERHAPS THIS IS THE CEMENTARY YOU ARE REFERRING TO. THE OLD CHURCH IS STILL STANDING & USED SOMETIMES, I BELIEVE. THANKS. WENDELL

wendell a. theus
long county, Ga., GA
9/1/2016

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