Remarks at the Smyrna Public Library, April 3, 2022

As prepared for delivery.

I appreciate the opportunity to be here today and highlight the history of the Atlanta Northern Railway. I’m particularly excited to be presenting in person as in-person presentations allow for better back-and-forth…and better questions.

I last spoke to this group in October 2019 about the Western & Atlantic Railroad.

I have a short presentation today, and my favorite part of any presentation is the time for questions. I like to leave some time for that and answer your questions. I probably won’t know the answer to your question, but that’s never stopped me before!

I find it interesting that today when people talk about commuter rail or mass transit in metro Atlanta and specifically Cobb County, they often say, “Maybe one day, Cobb County will have a mass transit option.”

Once upon a time, this area had two options: the Western & Atlantic Railroad and the Atlanta Northern Railway. When I spoke to this group last, I highlighted the history of the Western & Atlantic.

While I think it’s safe to assume more people have heard of the Western & Atlantic for more than four decades, the Atlanta Northern ferried passengers between Atlanta and Marietta, stopping in communities along the way — including Vinings, Gilmore and Smyrna.


My point is to know where we’re going, we need to know where we’ve been. As we chart out a direction for the future, let’s understand our past. We can’t erase what happened — whether good or bad. But we can learn from it — and we should. Maybe the Atlanta Northern is one small piece of that puzzle.


Stories are everywhere we look. Sometimes we need to look a little deeper than we expected. But when we do, we might be able to find an untold story from history. And in doing so, perhaps we can fill in a missing piece of the puzzle — the puzzle of our collective story and how we as a society made it to where we are today.