RAILROAD HISTORY

RAILROAD HISTORY

The railroad corridor that Newton Trails is developing into the Cricket Frog Trail was built by the Middle Georgia and Atlantic Railway Company (MGA).  The first train arrived in Covington on January 7, 1894. MGA offered two passenger trains a day between Covington and Milledgeville.  The original Newton County stations and flagstops included Covington, Covington Junction, Starrsville, Hayston, Carmel Junction, and Newborn. Stations in Porterdale and Mansfield were added in later years.

During the 1895 Cotton States International Exposition in Atlanta, MGA offered a special train, called "The Industrial Girl," between Milledgeville and Covington.  Passengers connected in Covington with the "The Classic City Flyer" on the Georgia Railroad line, which ran into Atlanta.

 

Central of Georgia Railway (CGA) bought the line in 1896 and built an extension to Porterdale in 1899 in order to serve the local textile industry. The president of CGA was also the president of Bibb Manufacturing, which had purchased Porterdale Mill in 1898. Cotton and other raw materials could now be brought in and finished products shipped out via rail. In 1910, commuter service was offered for workers coming from Covington to Porterdale.

 

With the rise of the automobile and paved roadways, mixed trains, freight trains with passenger coaches attached, began to dominate the line.  In the 1950s, CGA dropped passenger service altogether, and tracks between Machen and Eatonton were removed.

Southern Railway Company acquired CGA in 1963 and in 1971 merged the CGA and other lines to form the Central of Georgia Railroad Company.  Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC) acquired control of Southern Railway in 1982.

In 1989, NSC leased the line between Machen and Covington to a short line carrier known as the Great Walton Railroad.  This carrier provided rail service between Williams Bros. Lumber Company in Covington and Machen until 2009. Service on the Covington-Newborn segment was officially discontinued in 2010.

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