Wadley to Louisville

The Louisville and Wadley Railroad

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Looking north from the shoulder of US Route 1 about 2.5 miles south of Louisville, GA. Crossties are still evident in the old ROW. Photo by Julian Finley, 2002.

The Louisville and Wadley Railroad was chartered on August 24, 1872 to build a 10-mile line from a Central Railroad connection at Wadley north to Louisville, GA. The line was completed in 1879, and the line had to be continuously subsidized to keep it out of receivership. Passenger service ended in 1953.

Service to Louisville was discontinued in 1971 due to bridge failure over Boggy Gut Creek just northeast of Wadley. The track now ends short of the US Route 1 Bypass in Wadley, extending from the connection with Norfolk-Southern (formerly Central of Georgia) in Wadley for a total of 2 miles. Rail service has been suspended on the remaining line and the track is in an advanced state of disrepair.

From Wadley, the line extended through Gibson Junction, Moxley, Aldreds and into Louisville.

Thanks to Julian Finley for contributing information about this route.

I was down that way in 2006 and Billy Gibson had a Southern 1004 SW1 built in 1950 and had an engine change in 1960 still in operating condition which I have pictures of.The Georgia Department of Transportation still list the L&W to have 10 mile of operational track in 2008 which we no different. The L&W does have many box cars leased under the L&W name. When I was down there a L&W box car on the L&W Y track runs into the Norfolk and Southern track. I am guessing the Billy still uses the old SW1 to move his train cars around. If you would like I can provide pictures or this locomotive.

Jeffrey E. Bicht
Macon, GA
6/12/2009

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The owner, Billy Gibson, adamantly refuses to let anyone photograph his locomotive, or the line. Though the portions are marked "abandoned" from what I gather the taxes are still paid on it, so out of service might be a better term. The short two mile section of the line serves a handful of companies, with the biggest customer being a tractor supply company in Wadley. Anyone found in or around the line photographing the locomotive or tracks, are subject to being questioned and possibly arrested.

KitsuneDawn
Reidsville, GA
8/6/2009

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I dont believe the comments about the line still being active are correct, there is no 2 mile section of track still in service, the only thing still usable is the one remaining stretch of the wye. From looking at recent google streetview images the unit and a boxcar are parked behind a gate on the wye and the track is heavily overgrown and impassable by the next crossing a block up.

I wonder what the reason is for suddenly not allowing photography, i had heard the line was quite railfan friendly in the past.

Nikos Kavoori
Athens, GA
2/18/2010

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I went there recently and spoke with who I could find, and here's what I can tell you. First, it is still in service, though it's horribly overgrown. To the point that when the locomotive is used to move the cars around, it can not move much faster than a walking pace. The most recent shipment that the railroad brought in was a series of skidder and loader parts for one of the local lumber companies. These were unloaded in the open area that was once a logging company, near "lumber road". The reason for the refusals for photographs stems from an accident. Apparently in 2008, a railfan fell off the locomotive and was injured, and threatened to sue the owner. As a result of this, Gibson doesn't want anyone too close to the engine.

KitsuneDawn
Reidsville, GA
2/19/2010

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Sorry, I can assure you that nothing is capable of moving over the line right now or ever again in all reality. Here is a shot of the track just north of the wye at the first crossing, no telephoto distortion or anything, the track is that bad.

http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=2075336

The flageways were almost totally filled with debris, nothing had moved in a long time, indeed the next crossing up is paved over, getting to Lumber Street would be impossible.

Too bad about one person ruining it for everyone, I'm guessing the reason the boxcar is at the gate is to keep railfans away.

Nikos Kavoori
Wadley, GA
5/27/2010

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No, the LW is not active other then Billy's leasing of LW box cars but there has to be a reason it is still listed with the Georgia Department of Transportation and why Billy Gibson is still paying the lease on the old SW1. In 2006 when I talked to Billy he told me he leases the SW1 original from Southern and now Norfolk and Western. Have to wonder if it has anything to do with all the LW Boxcars Billy leases to class 1 railroads? If you do a search you will find pictures of LW box cars all over eastern United States. I rode the motorcycle down there to day just to have a look The SW looks to be sitting right where it was when I got pictures of it back in 2006 which was the same time I went to Billy's house and talked to him.

Jeffrey E. Bicht
Macon, GA
3/3/2011

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