Macon & Birmingham Railroad


1888-1926


The Macon & Birmingham Railroad was chartered December 26, 1888 to be built from Macon, GA to Birmingham, AL. by the Macon Construction Company. The line had begun construction shortly after the completion of the GS&F. Due to mismanagement of funds by the Macon Construction Company, the M&B was only completed 105 miles west from its connection with the GS&F at Sofkee (8 miles south of Macon) thus terminating in LaGrange, GA. The railroad traveled through Bibb, Crawford, Monroe, Upson, Meriwether and Troup Counties respectively. The original route proposal had by passed the City of Thomaston at 5 miles north; however, after legal battles, the Macon Construction Company was forced to route the M&B through the city.

The Macon & Birmingham RR was part of an attempt to make Macon a central railroad hub stretching from the rich iron ore fields of Birmingham to the Atlantic Ocean. Thus the Macon Construction Company proposed three railroads making Macon the central point: GS&F RR, M&B RR and the Macon & Atlantic RR. But as mentioned earlier, during the construction of the M&B, financial rearrangements forced the M&B to cease in LaGrange and the Macon & Atlantic was never fully constructed (only graded and 11 miles of track laid).

There was considerable cost involved in constructing the line. Since it was an east to west line, many creeks were crossed. The M&B involved over 70 individual trestles. Peaches and cotton were main commodities hauled over the M&B; however, it was strictly a seasonal operation. Since it never reached Birmingham, the 105-mile shortline was constricted to limited passenger service and very few freight trains. The boil weevil ruined the cotton shipments in the last three years of operation beginning in 1918. There was a last ditch effort in hauling trees along the line; but, this too played out very soon. At the time service was discontinued, it was estimated that over $100K would be required to upgrade the line and bring it to full proper and safe operating order. Several accidents lead to the demise any future prospects for the M&B and brought the ICC down to inspect and shut down the line permanently. All operations ceased in 1922 and later in 1927, all rail and structures were removed.

There is speculation as to why the GS&F (under Southern Railway Financial control) never upgraded the line or sought interest into investing any improvements. When the line was sold, the Central of Georgia Railway bought a 9.5-mile section of the M&B from Crest (west of Thomaston) eastward through Thomaston. The Cof GA converted a loop by connecting their north route to Barnesville in Thomaston. Today, sections of the line can still be seen. Many cuts, fills and trestle sites can still be found today. Parts of the line along with sidings have been lost through agricultural and pine tree plants.