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Bulloch History by Roger Allen
Statesboro Northern gets rolling
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(Note: The following is the second part of a four-part series on the expansion of rail service in Bulloch County.)
    In 1894, lumbermen James and William Woods built a 13-mile tram railroad from their sawmill in Woodburn (near present day Hubert) to the town of Cuyler. They named this line the Cuyler and Woodburn Railroad (C&W). Overseen by trustees W.H. Cone, J.A. Bliss, and A.A. Adams, the C&W operated throughout the southern area of BC and the northern area of Bryan County.
    At Woodburn, the C&W connected with the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railway (SAM), while at Cuyler the line connected with the Savannah and Western Railway (SW). The SAM was leased by John Williams’ Seaboard air Line Railway (SAL), giving an entry into the city of Savannah. The SW was a collection of railroads operated by the Central of Georgia Railway, and this particular line ran from Meldrim to Lyons.
    In 1897 the C&W fell on hard times and was sold to trustee Adams, six Anniston Alabama investors, Judge Pope Barrow of Savannah, and Whitfield Clark of Hubert (and supposedly also W.F. Carter (some say Cargill) editor of the Meldrim newspaper The Guidon) for $27,760. They renamed the railroad the Savannah and Statesboro Railroad (S&S). The S&S immediately set about extending their line another 20 miles to Statesboro, giving it a total length of 34 miles.
    They soon made an arrangement with Williams which allowed them to run non-stop passenger trains (IE: no changes of trains) all the way from Statesboro to Savannah, which took an average of only 2 Ω hours. They also set up a plan to drain much of the lowlands in the Arcola area of BC, by cutting a 2 Ω mile long canal from Arcola through the woods to the Iric Branch. This would make nearly 8,000 acres of land along the railroad usable for new truck farms, which would then ship their products to market in Savannah on the S&S.
    The S&S possessed a large amount of equipment, including: nine locomotives, nine passenger cars, 25 freight cars, and two baggage cars. Area investors decided to start up another railroad, which they called the Savannah, Augusta and Northern Railway (SAN). It ran from Statesboro to the northwest, passing through the towns of Aaron, Garfield, and ending up at Stevens Crossing (north of Swainsboro), where it connected with Williams' Georgia and Florida Railway (G&F).
    The SAN was not successful, however, and went into receivership in 1910. Knoxville contractor W.J. Oliver, who had built the line for Williams, bought the line, which he then leased to Adams and the S&S, which ran it themselves. In 1915 George Brinson bought the rights to the SAN, and merged then with his new Midland Railway (MR). His attempt to run a line from Savannah to Swainsboro also failed, and went into receivership in 1923.
    Williams now entered the picture, buying the section from Statesboro to Stevens Crossing, giving him access to almost all of Bulloch County. He renamed the new shortened line the Statesboro Northern (SN), and then leased it to his own G&F, which ended up purchasing the line in 1927, and abandoning it altogether in 1950.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger
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