In 1902, the Seaboard Air Line Railway purchased the East and West Railroad, a line from Pell City, AL, to Cartersville, GA, intending to make it a key link in a planned line from Atlanta to Birmingham. The following year Seaboard incorporated the E&W into a new subsidiary, the Atlanta & Birmingham Air Line Railway, which had been organized to carry out the project.
At the Atlanta end, the A&BAL built 43 miles of new line from Howells (in northwest Atlanta) to the E&W at Rockmart, southwest of Cartersville. A 37-mile westward extension of the railroad from Coal City, AL, to Birmingham was also constructed. The old E&W line was rebuilt to a standard equal to that of the new tracks.
After the A&BAL opened in late 1904, the 22-mile Rockmart-Cartersville link and the Coal City-Pell City tracks became branches off the main line.
The A&BAL was absorbed by Seaboard in 1909.
Note: At the time, "Air-Line" referred to a direct route, or at least a route more direct than that of any competitor.
Maps, Timetables, and Other Information:
1903 map (233K)
1904 timetable (177K)
1905 equipment list (185K)
1905 map, Cedartown - Coal City (225K)
1907 ad promoting mineral development (160K)
1908 map (65K)