Gadsden, AL to Coosa, GA


(Forwarded from the Rome & Decatur Railroad)

Showing of

Looking east at the end of Railroad Street in Cedar Bluff, AL. Not much evidence of the former line remains in Cedar Bluff, but evidence of the ROW can be found in the surrounding area. The branch to Gaylesville diverged just east of Cedar Bluff. This is also the area where General Streight's raiders were captured by a smaller number of Confederate cavalry under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest (of course this was several years before the railroad was built).

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.

i would like to know who has owenership of what rail is left if any body knows

collinsville, AL


Please note, while it was planned to make the Coosa river navagatable with a system of 31 locks and low water dams, only 4 of the locks were ever built. The Corps of Engineers continued to propose the idea, and every Alabama Power dam built on the Coosa had an area set aside to the construction of locks. The idea was finally killed in the 1980's

Chuck W.
Gadsden, AL, AL


Donny, I believe Southern pulled up all the rail in 1947-1948, so the rail bed and right-of-way reverted to adjacent land owners.

Also, the Gadsden steam plant was served via a branch from the L&N and not the Southern. The branch now serves only Goodyear, while coal is delivered to the steam plant by truck.

Gadsden, AL


Neat article. This would have made a great bike trail. But too late for that now.

steve green
atlanta former roman, GA


The rails can still be seen crossing prentston ave in north Gadsden apear to be 60#rails

Gadsden, AL


Now with the construction of the new US 411 bypass, the existing rails which could be seen in a canopy of trees have now been removed to make way for the new highway. Makes me sad to see history bulldozed away like that.

Gary N Eubanks
Gadsden, AL


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