Stefan has chosen to model the "Old Line" prior to the Georgia Northeastern Railroad operating the line. In this era, Georgia Marble operated their own switcher. Stefan has done an excellent job of custom painting the SW 1 in the Georgia Marble paint scheme and he brought it over to operate on my layout at a recent operating session.
The rail line that the Georgia Northeastern Railroad currently operates on has a fascinating history. After a few false starts and name changes, the railroad was taken over by the L&N in 1902. In 1906, after a bypass line was constructed, the line became known as the “Old Line”. The L&N operated the line until 1983 when CSX purchased the L&N and continued operations until 1987. In 1987 the line was sold and the Georgia Northeastern Railroad (GNRR) was formed and took over operations on portions of the line. More information on the prototype GNRR can be found under the Prototype tab on my home page menu bar.
By selecting a specific time period to model, the same rail line can have completely different operations. The Tri-State Model Railroad club, located in the historic Mineral Bluff Depot, operates a model railroad replicating the line in 1952. The layout features L&N steam and diesel operations on the line from Marietta, Georgia to Copperhill, Tennessee, with staging yards representing Atlanta, Georgia on the south and Etowah, Tennessee on the north ends of the layout. Several different industries are also represented that are correct for the time period, including numerous pulp wood yards and the Copperhill mine. By modeling the line during this time period, the club can operate under timetable and train order rules and operate several trains a day following a prototypical schedule for the time period. Just a few years later the steam locomotives were gone, passenger service was eliminated, and only diesel freight trains operated on the line.
Friend and fellow “Old Line” modeler Stefan, has selected to model the line just prior to the line being sold to the GNRR. This allows Stefan to have L&N diesels and a Georgia Mable switcher operate on his layout. The Georgia Marble Company operated their own locomotives in a unique blue and white paint scheme on their properties. The Georgia Marble Company owned at various times a SW1, NW2 and GE 25 ton switcher. These units would move cars within the plants and/or take the cars from the marble plants up the switchback to a small yard in Tate, where they would drop them off and pick up empties for the return trip back down the switchback.
I have chosen to model the same line in its current day operation. While several industries have closed, new ones have opened up. The marble operation in Marble Hill is still active, although not as busy as in years past, and the GNRR now picks up the cars at the marble plants. The locomotives once owned and operated by the Georgia Marble Company were purchased by the GNRR and repainted or scrapped.
Modelers can conduct a little research to determine the best time period for them to model. To help make a decision about the era to model, think about the type of operations that interests you the most, the railroads and the locomotives that operated during that time period. Once you have that information, the rest is easy, use the prototype for inspiration and get busy building your layout. Remember, a few years can make a difference.