Gulf Florida & Alabama Railway
The Deep Water Route

Donald R. Hensley, Jr.
copyright (c) 2009
All photos from the authors collection unless noted otherwise.

Gulf Florida & Alabama  #2 pulling th first train on January 1, 1913.

    The Gulf Florida and Alabama Railway had its roots in the Pensacola & Mobile Railroad & Manufacturing Co. beginning in February of  1861. The P&MRR&M built a 5 mile line between Muscogee on the Perido River east to the mainline of the Alabama & Florida RR. A sawmill was built at Muscogee and the lumber was either floated down the river to Perido Bay or shipped over the railroad to the A&F.  Unfortunately the War between the States was soon upon the country and the Confederate government pulled up the rails and took the locomotives of both railroads. This damage was not undone until 1877, when the P&MRR&M rebuilt the five foot gauge railroad from Cantonment, FL on the L&N to Muscogee (5.5 miles) and across the river and Alabama border towards Bay Minette, AL. The Muscogee Lumber Co. purchased the P&MRR&M at a foreclosure sale in October of 1881. The Muscogee Lumber Co. operated the railroads until its purchase by the Southern State Lumber Co. in December of 1906. Southern States developed the line towards Gateswood on one branch and Local, AL on the main line for logging use. Souther States in 1911 decided to develop a route into Pensacola bypassing the L&N. They also wanted to reach the Southern Ry and the Frisco, which would give them more routes to markets and save them from being a captive to the L&N.

  The Gulf Florida & Alabama was incorporated on February 6th, 1911, but they didn't take over the trackage of the Southern States Lumber Co. until late 1911. The  Pensacola to Jonesville mainline was finished by January 18, 1913 and later finished to Kimbrough, Alabama in 1916. The GF&A would do no more construction and would be placed in receivership on May 9, 1917.  The GF&A would continued under a receiver until April 8th, 1922, when it was taken over by the Muscle Shoals, Birmingham & Pensacola Railway.  Unable to acquire financing, the Muscle Shoals Company was itself placed under receivership on March 4, 1924 and resold on July 1, 1924 purchased by a Syndicate, which represented the St. Louis-San Francisco RR (Frisco). The railroad was soon rebuilt and the lines were pushed north to a Frisco connection at Amory, Mississippi. By November 14, 1925 the Frisco assume full control of the property, which they operated until the 1980 merger with  the Burlington Northern.  The BNSF would later sale this line off to the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway in 1997, a part of RailAmerica.

A pair of photos showing # GF&A 4 with the daily passenger train, which most of the time consisted of only a short combine.

Sometimes the daily train rated two more coaches and a box car used for baggage and express.
GF&A 4 is pulling the train.

When business was good, a seven car train was assembled.
GF&A 1 is doing the honors as she is a lot more powerful the the 4 spot.

GF&A 7 has just been shopped and ready for action.

GF&A Locomotives

The first four locomotives were purchased by the Eastern Construction Co. from
Central Locomotive of Chicago in 1912-13:

1    4-6-0    Brooks                        /95
2    4-6-0    Brooks                        /90
3    4-6-0    Brooks                        /92
   4-6-0    Brooks                        /91

Three engines were purchased in 1914:
5    0-4-0    Wabash                       /89    orig Wabash RR # 28 to Fitzhugh-Luther 12/1908 to GF&A # 5
6    4-6-0    Schenectady 4364        9/95  orig LS&MS # 139 to NYC 5086 in 1905 to HF Wardiwell in 1913 to GF&A 6
7    4-6-0    Schenectady 4362        9/95  orig LS&MS # 225 to NYC 5092 in 1905 to Atlantic Equipment in 1910 to GF&A 7

Two engines in 1916:
8    2-8-0    Pittsburgh      1756    12/97    orig P&LE 271, 9400, to Vulcan Iron Works 1915 to GF&A 1916
9    2-8-0    Pittsburgh      1943      6/99    orig P&LE 279, 9408, to Vulcan Iron Works 1915 to GF&A 1916

Two engines in 1918:
10    2-6-0    Altoona 2168 1/01  
as Phila. Wilm. & Blt. #197, to PB&W after 11/02. To PRR #5197, to #5697 (excess equipment) prior to 10/17. Sold General Equipment for GF&A 4/30/18
11    2-6-0    Altoona 2081 8.99 as Phila. Wilm. & Blt. #197, to PB&W after 11/02. To PRR #5197, to #5697 (excess equipment) prior to 10/17. Sold General Equipment for GF&A 4/30/18
Three engines in 1919:
12    2-8-0     Brooks    3626  9/00    LS&MS 739 to NYC 5739 to General Equipment to GF&A
13    ?           Rogers? from State of Florida tax records
14    2-8-0     Brooks    3632  9/00    LS&MS 744 to NYC 5744 to General Equipment to GF&A


GF&A passenger coach 100, first train, January 1st, 1913.

Coal Pier, from postcard.

GF&A low side gondolas.

GF&A Browning Co. locomotive crane # 9002, on work train duty. Companion flat car 9002 is in front.
The crane was bought second hand in 1913 from Central Car & Locomotive of Chicago.

Ex GF&A depot at Pensacola, Fla after the Frisco takeover.

Employee Timetable # 2 from  March 2, 1913 shows the wonderful array of scheduled logging trains of  the Southern  Lumber Co. Freemanville was an important logging junction, where Southern States marshaled loads and empties and dispatched trains north and south. Jonesville was an important logging camp and those trains would head out deeper into the woods.

This is Employee Timetable # 11 from June 22nd, 1919, a few years after the railroad reached it final destination at Kimbrough, Alabama. Southern States was in a decline by then and no log trains were regularly scheduled, being run as extra trains only.

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