The railroad system was the primary purpose for the Union to concern
themselves with West Point. In the following text, you will read how
the width of the tracks east of West Point was different than the width of
the tracks west of West Point. Products and people moving by railroad
had to be offloaded at West Point and transferred onto a different train to
continue their journey.
The Georgia Railroad was chartered Dec. 21 and construction commenced
in Augusta in 1835, pushing westward toward the Chattahoochee Valley in
western Georgia. The name "Georgia Railroad and Banking
Company" was adopted in 1836.¹
& Atlantic Railroad of the State of Georgia was created by an act of the
General Assembly of Georgia on December 21, 1836. Since it was to cross the
state line into Tennessee and connect with the Tennessee River near Ross'
Landing, companion legislation was
passed by the Tennessee General Assembly
on January 24, 1838. These legislative acts provided for a railroad to be
surveyed and constructed from a point near present-day Chattanooga on the
Tennessee River, to an eligible point on the southeastern bank of the
Chattahoochee River in Georgia.
was made under the direction of Lt. Colonel Stephen Harriman Long, U.S.
Army. Construction began around the end of November 1839 and the last rails
were laid in the Spring of 1850. The total cost of building the W&A RR
was $4,087,925 and it was paid for by the people of Georgia.
southern end of the W&A RR was located at a point southeast of the
Chattahoochee River to be known as Terminus, later Marthasville, and
Atlanta, the Macon & Western Railroad and the Georgia Railroad were
extended to that point. Another important link was the Atlanta &
LaGrange Railroad, begun in 1849, which later formed the line from Atlanta
to West Point and on to Montgomery, via the Western Railway of Alabama,
better known as the West Point Route.
The Western Railway of Alabama had its origins in the Montgomery Rail Road,
which was chartered on January 15, 1834, for the purpose of constructing a
railroad from Montgomery, on the Alabama River, to West Point, Georgia, on
the Chattahoochee River.
The road was opened to Franklin, Alabama, 32.4 miles from Montgomery, in
June, 1840. The company was not successful, as revenues barely equaled
expenses, leaving nothing for further construction. The road was sold under
foreclosure on July 9, 1842, and reorganized as the Montgomery & West
Point Rail Road on February 13, 1843. With additional financing, largely by
the Georgia Railroad & Banking Company and the South Carolina Rail Road,
the M&WP was completed to West Point on April 28, 1851. At West Point,
connection was made with the Atlanta & LaGrange Rail Road (later renamed
the Atlanta & West Point Rail Road), an affiliate of the Georgia
Railroad & Banking Company.
In 1854, the Western Rail Road of Alabama was chartered to build a line from
Selma to Montgomery and a connection with the M&WP. Work was not
completed on this line until December of 1870, having been delayed by the
War Between the States. Prior to that time, the M&WP and the Western had
merged on September 1, 1870, through an exchange of stock, with Western Rail
Road of Alabama being the surviving company.
The Western Rail Road of Alabama was not financially successful and entered
receivership on April 1, 1874, and was sold under foreclosure on May 10,
1875, to the Georgia Railroad & Banking Company and the Central Rail
Road & Banking Company of Georgia.
about the destruction of the railroad and rail cars in West Point after the
¹ CSX Transportation, "The History of CSX