Remarks to the Smyrna Optimist Club, June 10, 2022

As prepared for delivery.

“Smyrna’s Streetcar: The Atlanta Northern”

Thank you for the opportunity to be here today and share the story of the Atlanta Northern Railway. It’s hard to believe that Smyrna once had a streetcar line that ran through the middle of town.

In fact, Smyrna was once a railroad town. We tend not to think about the railroad unless we are sitting at a grade crossing and a train is passing.

But Smyrna once had two railroads pass through town — the Western & Atlantic Railroad, which we know today as the CSX line. It’s the one people curse in the middle of Vinings when a train passes during rush hour or when we’re late to work.

This is a railroad the state chartered in December 1836. In fact, the state of Georgia still owns it. So, in effect, if everyone here pays taxes — no judgment either way — we can all say we’re part owners of a railroad.

The other railroad is the Atlanta Northern Railway, which I will discuss today.