The Georgia Northeastern Railroad
The GNRR currently operates on a railroad line with an interesting and complex history. Several railroads tried to develop the line North from Marietta beginning in 1854 but construction did not begin until after the Civil War in 1874. In 1902 the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) took over the line. The L&N Railroad served the industries between Marietta and Etowah with interchange service at each end of the line until 1983 when CSX purchased the L&N and operated it for a few more years.
In 1987 CSX sold the 41 track miles from Marietta to Tate Georgia and leased the track from Tate to Ellijay Georgia to investors from Tennessee. The investors gave the new railroad its current name, the Georgia Northeastern Railroad (GNRR). The line north of Ellijay was purchased by the State of Georgia Department of Transportation to keep it from being torn up. In 1996 the GNRR leased the remainder of the line from Ellijay to McCaysville, GA on the Georgia/Tennessee state line from the Georgia Department of Transportation and began the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad. With the help of many volunteers that worked to clear the line and staff the trains, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad, a subsidiary of the GNRR, operates a scenic excursion train trip along the Toccoa River from Blue Ridge GA to McCaysville, GA/Copperhill, TN. In 2015, the line was sold to Patriot Rail who currently operates the GNRR along with several other short lines across the country.
The GNRR operates from its local office located in Marietta, Georgia where it interchanges with the CSX at Elizabeth Yard. A small locomotive facility is located in Tate, Georgia where a branch line heads east to a couple of marble industries located in Marble Hill. GNRR locomotives are an assortment of EMD units acquired from other railroads. Numerous industries served by the GNRR are located around Marietta and cities north along the line which include building materials, cement, plastics, metal coating, grain, chemical processing, aircraft components, and marble products. Each of these industries requires different car types which enhances operations and provides an interesting consist for a model railroad.