In May 1895, the 265-mile Savannah, Americus & Montgomery Railway was sold under foreclosure to a syndicate formed by the Richmond banking firm of John L. Williams and Sons and the Baltimore firm of Middendorf, Oliver and Company. The new Georgia & Alabama Railway was formed to own and operate the line and John Skelton Williams, a son of John L. Williams, was named the railroad’s president.
In 1896 Williams completed several deals which greatly expanded the G&A system. He bought the Abbeville & Waycross Railroad, a short line from Abbeville to Fitzgerald, and extended it south to Ocilla. He obtained a long-term lease from the Central of Georgia for the 58 miles of track between Lyons and Meldrim and acquired trackage rights for the 17 miles from Meldrim to Savannah. And in December he purchased the 88-mile Columbus Southern Railway, an important connection from Columbus to Albany.
The G&A was given the nickname Savannah Short Line to call attention to its relatively direct route from Montgomery to Savannah as compared to the routes of the Plant System to the south and the Central of Georgia to the north.
On July 1, 1900, the Georgia & Alabama was consolidated into Williams’ Seaboard Air Line Railway.
Maps and Timetables:
1895 map & timetable (788K)
1896 timetable (404K)
1897 map (185K)
1897 system map (632K)