This project was undertaken because, to my knowledge, no thorough history existed of the Georgia Railroad. Richard Prince did a thumbnail history of the line (along with the affiliated Atlanta & West Point Rail Road and The Western Railway of Alabama) in his motive power study published in 1962, and Al Langley and Forrest Beckum (who both contributed to this volume) produced an excellent photo album in 1985. But neither of these works was an in-depth history. This volume attempts to fill an informational void.
I have always heard that no one writes a book alone, so when I began work on this book, I knew that I would need a great deal of help. Little did I suspect just how much help would be needed, and readily given.
For openers, little historical information exists about the Georgia Railroad in the archives of CSX Transportation, the successor company to the Seaboard System, which absorbed the Georgia Railroad in 1983. For this reason, virtually all of the information used in the book came from private collections. I cannot begin to list the names of all the members of the railfan fraternity who offered information, photos, the loan of research material, service as proofreaders, and moral support in general. It was simply unbelievable.
Let me say at the outset that without the help of W. Forrest Beckum, Jr., of Thomson, Georgia, this book would not exist. He encouraged me to undertake this project and pledged his support at the outset. He never backed away from that pledge. His loan of research material and photos from his extensive collection, the use of his notebook containing information from numerous sources (many of which are no longer available), and his personal recollections of conversations with men long gone made this project feasible. Again, without him this book simply would not exist.
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