See Rock City

See Rock City

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tallulah Falls Railway

1918 timetable depicting all scheduled stops along the Tallulah Falls Railway

The Tallulah Falls Railway, also known as the Tallulah Falls Railroad, "The TF" and "TF & Huckleberry," was a railroad based in Tallulah Falls, Georgia, U.S.A. which ran from Cornelia, Georgia to Franklin, North Carolina. It was commissioned by the Georgia General Assembly on January 27, 1854 and conducted its final run on March 25, 1961.

Map of the Tallulah Falls Railway depicting main depots


On January 27, 1854, The General Assembly of the State of Georgia enacted legislation for the construction of a railway linking the towns of Athens and Clayton. This railway, known as the North Eastern Railroad (Georgia), was chartered in 1856; however the outbreak of the American Civil War delayed construction until 1871. The railway was completed to Tallulah Falls in 1882, to Clayton, Georgia in 1904 and to Franklin, North Carolina in June, 1907.

In 1881, the Northeastern Railroad company was sold to the Southern Railway, with the line from Cornelia to Clayton being purchased by the Tallulah Falls Railway Company in 1897. This line was subsequently named the Tallulah Falls Railroad.

The Tallulah Falls Railway twice entered into receivership: first in 1908, and again in 1923, under which it would operate until its closure in 1961. The railway's primary source of income was passenger services; in the early decades of the 20th century the town of Tallulah Falls was a well-known resort town due to the natural splendor of Tallulah Gorge. However, tourism gradually waned, and the railway began to operate at ever greater monetary losses. In 1933, J.F. Gray, a receiver, petitioned for the railway's abandonment. However, while permission for abandonment was granted, no action was taken due to public sentiment for the railroad; it continued to operate with little to no profit until 1955.

Historical marker at old Tallulah Falls Railway depot, Tallulah Falls, Georgia

In 1955, Walt Disney selected the railway as the location of principal photography for The Great Locomotive Chase. The rural location of the track closely resembled the setting of the actual chase, which occurred nearly 100 years earlier in the town of Kennesaw, Georgia. According to railway employees, Disney was quite fond of the railway and expressed interest in purchasing it for use as an excursion line. However the Southern Railway management refused, citing an accumulated debt of $300,000 on the part of the railway. On March 10, 1961, The Tallulah Falls Railway was ordered to be sold as scrap.

The Tallulah Falls Railway had 42 massive wooden trestles which had to be negotiated along the 58 mile journey from Cornelia to Franklin. The shortest trestle was about 25 feet in length and the longest was 940 feet in length. Only one trestle was made of steel and concrete. Two trestle collapses with fatalities occurred during the operation of the railway: an 1898 collapse at Panther Creek and a 1927 collapse at Hazel Creek.


IMDB Entry for The Great Locomotive Chase

The Trestles of North Georgia

Building of the Railroad

Source: Internet