The Great Locomotive Chase Inspires 'A History of Georgia Railroads'

Guest Blog Post from Author: Robert Jones

One of my earliest remembrances as a child was when my father would take me from Philadelphia to New York City to see the Yankees play.  And while seeing Mickey Mantle play was impressive, equally impressive was the means we used to get there - travel on the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The first time I ever saw the famous Pennsy GG-1 pulling into a station left an impression of awe that is still with me today.
As I teenager, I used to commute from Lansdale, Pennsylvania to Reading Terminal in Philadelphia on the Reading Railroad.  Actually, by this time, it had been gobbled up by SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authorrity), but it was still the Reading Railroad to us.  The train shed at Reading Terminal was one of the marvels of the City of Philadelphia.
So, why did a Pennsylvania guy end up writing a book on the history of Georgia railroads?  Even when I lived in Pennsylvania, I was very aware of one Georgia railroad - the Western and Atlantic.  One of the first books I bought in elementary school was "The Stolen Train", about the Great Locomotive Chase in the Civil War.  (I still have the book today). 
In 1981, I moved to the Atlanta area, and within a few years had moved to Kennesaw, Georgia.  I didn't realize it before the move, but it turns out the Kennesaw used to be known as "Big Shanty", or the town where the General was stolen in the Great Locomotive Chase.  And even better, the venerable locomotive was enshrined in the Kennesaw musuem, now know as the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History.  I served as President of the Kennesaw Historical Society for 21 years (1994-2015), and also served as a member of the executive board of the Kennesaw Museum Foundation for 17 years (1998-2015).
Several years ago, I wrote a book entitled "A Guide to the Civil War in Georgia", which contained a chapter on the history of the five Georgia railroads destroyed by William Tecumseh Sherman in 1864.  These included the aforementioned W&A, the Georgia Railroad, the Central Railroad, the Atlanta & West Point Railroad, and the Macon & Western Railroad.  "A History of Georgia Railroads" grew out of that intitial look at Georgia railroads.

For more, check out his book: A History of Georgia Railroads