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Route of the Western and Atlantic Railroad
About North Georgia

From the high plateau that would become Atlanta, the Western and Atlantic Railroad (or State Road) headed northwest to Boltonville, where the "crookedest route in the world" crossed the Chattahoochee River west of Atlanta. From here it slowly rose over rolling hills to the new city of Marietta, the seat of Cobb County government.

Northwest of Marietta the Western and Atlantic began a sweeping "S," skirting the roots of Kennesaw Mountain and ending at Big Shanty. From Big Shanty (today known as Kennesaw) the roadbed began an unusual 14-mile descent into the Etowah River Valley. Acworth and Allatoona were major stops in this area. An old wooden trestle, covered to protect the wood from the elements crossed the Etowah about a mile from Allatoona Pass. Immediately after the bridge was Etowah Station, named for the manufacturing city of Etowah that had a privately funded short line running between the town a couple of miles to the west and the Western and Atlantic. Twice a day the short line railroad would bring passengers and goods to meet trains running north and south.


From Etowah Station the road climbed to Birmingham, and the station that almost wasn't. You probably know it better as Cartersville (the name changed in 1846). Cartersville Depot was added late, and only because the town was growing rapidly after the extended depression of 1837. Cassville, next major stop for the Western and Atlantic, was significantly different than today's city. Before the war, the city was a major cultural center in North Georgia, and for a while was the largest town between Savannah and Nashville. West of Cassville, Kingston was the site of a railyard that some describe as complex. Trains from Rome carried passengers and frieght to the town, where they could be moved to the W&ARR.


Leaving Kingston the railroad headed due north to Adairsville, Calhoun and Resaca, where the second major river crossing occurred -- that of the Oostanaula. From Resaca the roadway's curves took it to Dalton, where passed through Buzzard's Roost, a low gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Past Dalton the railroad continued to curve to the engineering marvel of the 138 mile line -- the tunnel through Chetoogetta Mountain. Around the tunnel grew the small town of Tunnel Hill or Tunnelsville. After passing through the tunnel the railroad climbed to Ringgold Gap, the highest point on the roadbed between Chattanooga and Atlanta.


The town of Ringgold is one of the oldest in north Georgia. It was known to the earliest settlers as "Dogwood." From here the railroad plunged to Chattanooga, ending the run at the 9th Street depot, 138 miles from its start in Atlanta.


Route of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, with mileage between major stops and total miles.

Western and Atlantic Railroad stops

Atlanta00
Vinings88
Marietta1220
Acworth1535
Allatoona540
Etowah RR short line
Cartersville747
Cass552
Kingston759
Rome RR
Adairsville1069
Repair facility
Calhoun978
Resaca684
Tilton791
Dalton9100
Tunnel Hill7107
Chetoogeta Mountain
Ringgold8115
Chickamauga13128
Boyce5133
Chattanooga5138

The run ended at the depot owned by the state of Georgia on Ninth St. in Chattanooga.

Further information

Building the Western and Atlantic Railroad

County: Whitfield County
Gordon County
Fulton County
Floyd County
Cobb County
Catoosa County
Cass County
Bartow County

Railroads of North Georgia
Railroads played an important role in North Georgia's development.

Article Links
Blue Ridge Mountains
Building the Western and Atlantic Railroad
Chattahoochee River west of Atlanta
Cobb County
Dalton
Marietta
Tunnel Hill
Western and Atlantic Railroad

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