Rover to Columbus

The "M" Line

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Note: This line is railbanked by the State of Georgia and is not technically abandoned.

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Just north of Experiment and Griffin looking toward those locations. This section from Towalaga to Experiment was sold by Norfolk Southern in 1991 to the Roosevelt Railroad Museum.

This abandoned railway was originally built by the Georgia Midland and Gulf Railroad, chartered in 1886 to build a 99-mile line south from McDonough through Griffin, Williamson and Woodbury to Columbus. The line ran parallel to the Central of Georgia through Experiment and Griffin and crossed the CofG at the "Southern Diamond" in downtown Griffin. The line was completed on December 1, 1887, but from the start was barely able to generate enough revenue to pay its construction debts. In 1890, the GM&G leased the Columbus and Southern Railway, which operated an 88-mile line from Columbus to Albany, in hopes to improve the financial condition of the GM&G. The lease did little to help the GM&G and within a year it gave up the lease. For most of its existence, the GM&G struggled to stay out of receivership and in 1896 succumbed to J.P. Morgan and the Southern Railway. In 1896, Morgan purchased the GM&G to benefit the Southern, reorganized and renamed it as the Georgia Midland Railway. A long term lease of the entire line was given to the Southern and within a few years was absorbed into its system.

For many years this route made up Southern's access line to Columbus from Atlanta, and it was known as the "M" Line. This is the rail line that President Franklin D. Roosevelt used to reach his "Little White House" in Warm Springs, GA. Southern Railway abandoned the section from Rover, just northeast of Williamson, to Columbus in the early 1980s before the name change to Norfolk Southern. The right-of-way from Rover to Columbus is actually railbanked by the State of Georgia. Norfolk Southern sold the section from Experiment to Towalaga in 1991 to Roosevelt Railroad Museum, Inc. The section from Grove (south of McDonough) to Greenwood to GA Route 155 in Luella is still operated by NS. The NS Training Center is near Greenwood. NS also operates a portion of the line from Griffin to Westbrook to Rover.

Towns along the line, from Rover to the southwest were Williamson, Jolly, Concord, Neal, Molena, Woodbury, Raleigh, Warm Springs, Nebula, Shiloh, Oak Mountain, Waverly Hall, Ellerslie, Midland, Flat Rock and into Columbus.

One of my favorite spots on this old railroad line is Warm Springs, which made this line famous. I enjoy going to Warm Springs quite often

Chris Duncan
Chipley, FL
11/29/2008

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When I was between the age of 5 and 9, I lived at my Grandparent's historic farm place in Rover on the route from Griffin to Columbus back in the mid to late 1970's. I was very sad to hear that the Southern/NS decided to abandon this section a couple of years after my family moved to Texas. I have many fond memories of the trains passing in front of the old house each day.

Kevin C. Gaissert
Rock Hill, SC
2/5/2009

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What official document shows that the M line from Rover to Coumbus is actually railbanked by the State of Georgia? The Surface Transportation Board and its actions would be an official source; however, going back to its initial meetings, I did not seen any declaration that the M line was railbanked.

Bryan Richardson
Concord, GA
6/12/2012

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From Psalmond Road to the western end is now part of Columbus' Fall Line Trace.

Thomas H. Fort
Grayson, GA
11/25/2012

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I would like some current info on the Rosevelt Railroad.

At SR 155 crossing the M line has been paved over, The rail extends about another one half mile westward. Rail has been removed from there to the Towalaga river.

David Buice
Locust Grove Ga., GA
11/20/2013

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I too would really like contact information for the former Roosevelt Railroad Museum.

Rebecca
Allen, TX
1/23/2014

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Is there more details for the location of the rock that is carved "Camp Stephens" in the picture shown?

LZ33
Newnan, GA
5/9/2014

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I was hired by the southern railway in 1972 and my first promotion was as an assistant track supervisor. I patrolled the line from griffin to Columbus. My territory also had the line from Williamson to Zebulon and from culloden to fort valley. I patrolled with a motorcar in those days. I worked here from 1974 to 1977 until I was transferred to our main line between Atlanta and Chattanooga. The m-line consisted mostly of wood yards and a date plant in Woodbury. Almost all except the part from the sand pit to fort valley no longer exist.

James heard
Carrollton, GA
7/31/2014

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does any one know if the tacks are accessible by car

branon photographer
milton, GA
1/28/2015

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Yes there are several roads that have grade crossings with this line.

R Gulley
Stockbridge, GA
3/22/2015

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Looking at Google Maps, it appears as much of the line has been removed. So, I don't believe it is still railbanked. Like one of the other comments, some areas are used as a walking trail.

Logan Frey
Cross Plains, WI
4/2/2015

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What is sad, they left #119 sitting in the middle of the field. Look at google maps or earth. You can see it is bad condition. You can also see the small steam engine sitting near tree line, I believe it is 0-4-0. The field is on Teamon Road, between Bar-H Road and Smoak Drive.

Kermit Wiggins
Chattanooga, TN
6/24/2015

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I worked the line a good deal. Starting in December of 71 and last worked it 87. I knew James Heard who made a comment about the line. Another track man named Peter Grant said some thing about Indian Burial Grounds some where around Williamson. We had a couple of cement company's at Myers just out side Columbus and as James said several wood yards. One at 77m, 76m and 36m were there when I hired. The one at Neal opened around 75 and continued till the line closed. There was a wood yard at Woodbury and another at Warm Springs that operated and another one at the 74m that was open a short time. There was a Gin track at Woodbury and another one at Concord and a grain mill at Molena. Most of the tonnage went south. There was a great deal of switching at Griffin which was given to the CG switcher in 81 or 82.

David Pharr
Riverdale , GA
12/4/2015

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