Atlanta & West Point Railroad

Locomotive of the Atlanta & West Point Railroad

The Atlanta & LaGrange Rail Road, chartered in 1847, was completed in May, 1854. The 80-mile line from East Point, about six miles southwest of Atlanta, to LaGrange and West Point was renamed the Atlanta & West Point Rail Road in 1857.West Point Route logo

It became a key link in the South's 1200-mile through route from the Potomac River at Alexandria to the Gulf at Mobile and a major impetus to Atlanta's emergence as a rail center.

Much of the early investment in the line came from the Georgia Railroad & Banking Company, an Augusta company whose railroads between Augusta, Athens, and Atlanta were among the state’s earliest.

Until the construction of six miles of its own track in 1889, A&WP trains entered Atlanta on the tracks of the Macon & Western Railroad (later Central of Georgia).

1855 listing from Mitchell's new traveller's guide through the United States and the Canadas.... Online at Internet Archive here.

For many years the A&WP was controlled indirectly by the Atlantic Coast Line through the ACL’s lease of the railroad properties of the Georgia Railroad & Banking Company. The lease was originally obtained by William Wadley, president of the Central of Georgia, in 1881. After some maneuvering, Wadley managed to get the lease split 50/50 between the Central and the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. In 1898-99, the L&N briefly held the entire lease, before selling a half-interest to the ACL. In 1902, the ACL gained control of the L&N (although the L&N was allowed to operate separately).

Further complicating the organizational structure was the Western Railway of Alabama, which was one of the railroad properties of the Georgia Railroad & Banking Company. Beginning in 1883, it was under the same management as the A&WP, but operated under its own name.

In the 1894 edition of The Official Railway List, the A&WP and WofA reported operating 39 locomotives, 33 passenger cars, and 692 freight and miscellaneous cars. The A&WP operated 87 miles of railroad, and the WofA operated 138.

In the late 1890s, the A&WP began building a belt line in Atlanta to connect its main line near East Point to the Georgia Railroad. After a restraining order stopped the work, the A&WP formed the Atlanta Belt Railway Company to complete the 5.5-mile line. [See Atlanta BeltLine (and Belt Lines).]

After 1903 the A&WP and the Western Railway of Alabama operated jointly under the marketing name West Point Route. An earlier such name was Atlanta and New Orleans Short Line.

The Atlanta & West Point name lasted until 1983, when it and the Georgia Railroad were absorbed into the Seaboard System Railroad.

Late 19th century locomotive and rail cars. (From: The Heart of the South along the line of the Atlanta & West Point RR. Atlanta: Atlanta & West Point RR and Western Railway of Alabama, 1898. Online at Internet Archive.)

Pacific-type locomotive built for A&WP by American Locomotive Company at its Rogers works in Paterson, NJ. (From: Railway and Locomotive Engineering, November 1907).

Maps, Timetables, and Other Information:

1863 timetable (118K)

1864 map, Atlanta to Newnan (187K)

1864 map, Newnan to West Point (183K)

1865-66 detailed map and profile at Library of Congress

1870 timetable (170K)

1870 advertisement (101K)

1883 map (282K)

1895 timetable (158K)

1906 timetable (266K)

1917 equipment list (59K)

1969 map (80K)

Track profile (345K)

Suggested Reading:

Robert H. Hanson. The West Point Route: The Atlanta & West Point Rail Road and The Western Railway of Alabama. Lynchburg, VA: TLC Publishing, 2007.

Atlanta & New Orleans Short Line advertisement, 1891

From: Atlanta City Directory for 1891. Online at Internet Archive here.

art Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey.

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