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The Central of Georgia's City of Miami at Kankakee, Illinois. The train is led by EMD E8 No. 811. August, 1964.

By Lawrence and David Barera (Flickr: Kankakee CG Aug 1964 3-10) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Central of Georgia Railway
The Central of Georgia Railway (reporting mark CG) started as the Central Rail Road and Canal Company in 1833. As a way to better attract investment capital, the railroad changed its name to Central Rail Road and Banking Company of Georgia. This railroad was constructed to join the Macon and Western Railroad at Macon, Georgia, and run to Savannah. This created a rail link from Chattanooga, on the Tennessee River, to seaports on the Atlantic Ocean. It took from 1837 to 1843 to build the railroad from Savannah to the eastern bank of the Ocmulgee River at Macon; a bridge into the city was not built until 1851.

During the Savannah Campaign of the American Civil War, conducted during November and December 1864, Federal troops tore up the rails and converted them into what were referred to at the time as "Sherman's neckties."

Over the years, the Central of Georgia steadily acquired other railroads by either lease or purchase:
Augusta and Savannah Railroad 1862
Augusta and Waynesboro Railroad 1857
Eatonton Branch Railroad 1855
Milledgeville and Eatonton Railroad 1855
Milledgeville and Gordon Railroad 1855
Mobile and Girard Railroad 1886
Girard Railroad 1857
Savannah and Tybee Railroad 1890
Savannah and Western Railroad 1890
Chattanooga, Rome and Columbus Railroad 1891
Rome and Carrollton Railroad 1887
Columbus and Rome Railroad 1888
Columbus and Atlanta Air Line Railroad 1879
North and South Railroad of Georgia 1877
Columbus and Western Railroad 1888
Savannah and Memphis Railroad 1880
East Alabama Railroad 1888
East Alabama and Cincinnati Railroad 1880
Savannah, Griffin and Northern Alabama Railroad 1890
Southwestern of Georgia Railroad 1869
Montgomery and Eufaula Railroad 1879
Muscogee Railroad 1868
Vicksburg and Brunswick Railroad 1879
Southwestern Railroad 1869
Upson County Railroad 1891
Barnesville and Thomaston Railroad 1860

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Corporate History
In 1888 the Richmond Terminal Company, a Virginia holding company, gained control of the Central. The financial problems of the parent company forced the CofG into bankruptcy, and it was sold at foreclosure three years later, being reorganized as the Central of Georgia Railway on November 1, 1895.

The famous passenger train the Nancy Hanks ran from Atlanta to Savannah, via Macon. Another notable train was the Man o' War, a Columbus - Atlanta route, via Newnan. Both of these trains were named after prize-winning racehorses.

In 1907 railroad magnate and financier E. H. Harriman gained a controlling interest in the railway, and in 1909 sold his interest to the Illinois Central Railroad, which he also controlled. In 1932, during the Great Depression, the CofG went into receivership, from which it did not emerge until 1948. In 1956, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway (“Frisco”), seeking a route to Atlantic Ocean ports, gained control of the CofG, but the Interstate Commerce Commission declined to approve a merger of the two roads, so the Frisco sold its CofG stock to the Southern Railway in 1963.

At the end of 1956 the CofG operated 1,764 miles of road and 2,646 miles of track; that year it reported 3,208 million net ton-miles of revenue freight and 73 million passenger-miles. Those totals do not include the 144-mile S&A, the 10-mile L&W, the 20-mile  WS or the 36-mile W&T.

The Central became a Southern Railway subsidiary on June 17, 1963. In 1971 the Southern formed the Central of Georgia Railroad to merge the Central of Georgia Railway, the Savannah and Atlanta Railway, and the Wrightsville and Tennille Railroad.

Today the Central of Georgia exists only as a paper railroad within the Norfolk Southern Railway group. 42 miles of the CofG's former mainline are currently leased by the Chattooga and Chickamauga Railway from the State of Georgia.

Preserved historic sites
A number of former properties of Central of Georgia are preserved as historic sites. These include the following, listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
Central of Georgia Depot (Andalusia, Alabama)
Central of Georgia Railroad: Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities, in Georgia

Heritage units
On April 5, 2012, Norfolk Southern unveiled NS 8101, a GE ES44AC painted in the scheme found on Central of Georgia's diesel locomotives. It was the fourth of twenty units that NS painted in the colors of their predecessors.

See also:

Georgia State Railroad Museum

Nancy Hanks II

Illinois Central

Railroads of the U.S.A.

A Central of Georgia Slideshow.

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The Central of Georgia's City of Miami at Kankakee, Illinois. The train is led by EMD E8 No. 811. August, 1964