Published July 1, 2019.
The State of Georgia chartered the Western & Atlantic Railroad in 1836. The railroad aided in the development and growth of many communities between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tennessee. In constructing the railroad, workers created a winding route that cut its way across the North Georgia landscape. During the Civil War, both armies used this vital artery, and it was the setting for one of the war’s most iconic events, the Great Locomotive Chase. The state still owns the Western & Atlantic and has leased it since 1870. The line remains an essential part of North Georgia and is a backbone of the region’s industry. As Atlanta ponders its transportation future, it is important to remember that without the Western & Atlantic, Atlanta would not be the city it is today.