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'Shoo Fly Express' connects Savannah, Statesboro
Bulloch History
1800s train

Note: The following is the final part of a series of columns looking at the importance of railroads in and around Bulloch County.


Midland Railway

The Midland Railway was created by local railroad builder George M. Brinson, who wanted to build a railroad between Savannah and the Stevens Crossing junction of the Georgia & Florida Railway in Emanuel County. 

The Midland began operating its own 49-mile line railroad line between Savannah and Statesboro in 1915. In June 1916, Brinson purchased the 39-mile long Savannah, Augusta and Northern Railway that ran from Statesboro to Stevens Crossing, thereby connecting Savannah and Stevens Crossing. 

In 1919, the Midland had three locomotives, 67 freight cars, four coaches, two combination cars, and one caboose. The stops of the Midland in Bulloch County were River Road, Leeland, Mill Creek, Statesboro, Colfax Station, Bland, Portal and Aaron Station.

The Midland Railway abandoned the Statesboro to Savannah line in December 1923 when it went into receivership. The line from Statesboro to Stevens Crossing was sold to railroad magnate John Skelton Williams, who first renamed it the Statesboro Northern Railway. 

Williams, then made it part of his Georgia and Florida Railway, which he then reorganized as the Georgia and Florida Railroad. The Georgia and Florida operated the line until it was abandoned in 1950.


Oconee Division of the Central of Georgia Railroad

The CGA created the 77-mile-long “Oconee Division” (also known as the Dover to Dublin Branch) of the Central of Georgia Railroad which crossed through Bulloch County between Bruton to Dover by purchasing and then combining the Bruton and Pineora and the Dover and Statesboro Railroad lines.  

Passengers were now able to travel all the way from Dublin right up to the steps of the Tybrissa Pavilion on Tybee Island without changing trains. The initial round-trip fare was $1.75. 

The CGA also ran the popular “Shoo Fly Express,” a round trip passenger train which left Savannah in the morning, arriving in Statesboro in the afternoon, that would leave Statesboro early the next morning for Savannah, arriving back in Savannah sometime around high noon.(See Bruton & Pineora and Dover & Statesboro Railroads.) 


Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at rwasr1953@gmail.com.