The Jitneys of the Georgia Northern
by Don Hensley
Northern Railroad, like most
short-lines during the Great Depression of the
1930’s needed to solve their passenger train deficits. The rural areas between Albany
and Boston depended on the passenger service and enough people still rode the
trains that there was still six
passenger trains a day. But the cost of
proving this service was staggering
and they needed a better option,
specially in the more rural area south of Moultrie. So they turned to the gas motor car. The locals called them "Jitneys".
One of the first cars was the M-12, an Edwards Model 10 that was purchased used in 1932 from the Yadkin RR, their number 100. Here William Monypeny had photographed it at Moultrie in June of 1938 with his lovely wife Priscilla posing by the front of the car. This model 10 was built in 1922 and weighed 10 tons and was 32 feet long with a 75 horse power Buda engine and could carry 25 passengers. Look closely by the baggage door and you can see that it is stuffed with mail bags which makes one wonder how the motor man was able to operate this car with all those bags at his elbow. These cars were painted dark green with the exception of the next photo.
This shot of the 12 was photographed by CW Witbeck in September of 1940 in which it looks like a lighter color was used, quite possibly a yellow.
The M-14 was built by the Yellow Bus Co. and could carry 20 passengers but does not have much room for mail and express. Monypeny photographed this car in June of 1938 with his wife posing again. She would mostly show up in shots of motor cars and rolling stock, subjects that her husband did not care as much about like he cared about steam locomotives. Sometimes she will pose in the cab of a steamer or a frontal shot, but only after he had taken a photo without her in it.
The 55 was actually the second 55, as the first 55 caught on fire in 1944 and was destroyed, they liked this model so well they went out and bought another from Georgia Car & Locomotive the same year. This Brill Model 55, serial number 21566 was built in 1922 for the Western Pacific as their # 198. Weighing in at 14.5 tons and carrying up to 42 passengers, though it was a bit underpowered with a 68 horse- power Service Motor Truck engine. D.M. Rice took this photo in March of 1955.
By 1957 the 55 was sporting a knuckle coupler on the front end. There are a couple of theories on this. One theory advanced by Bob Hanson is that the car broke down so much it made towing it back to the shop easier. My theory is that it may have been used as a passenger car on the mixed train. There was no coupler on rear. This shot was taken by W. E. Miller in March of 1957 in Moultrie.
Motor Car number 56 may have been bought the same time as second number 55, and may have been Western Pacific # 199. Here the jney was photographed in May of 1950 by Guy Dunscomb.
The 527 is also a Brill
Model 55, but there is no other information about whom or where it came from.
Another shot of the
527, here taken by Guy Dunscomb in May of 1950.
This is the 528, the sister to the 527. Quite possibly bought at the same time. This photo was shot in Moultrie around 1950. Why these two engines were numbered 527 and 528 is lost to history, though it is possible they carried those numbers from the railroad these were bought from. Or the Georgia Northern just wanted to confuse future generations of railfans.
Northern number 2, in Moultrie, GA in March
of 1960. Built by St. Louis Car and Fairbanks-Morse in 1939 for
Southern Ry #2, this 800 horsepower and 81 foot long baggage
was purchased to be used hauling the Georgia Northern's private car
"Moultrie" which was stored in the car shed behind the number 2.
When it first arrived it mainly hauled the business car to Albany for
sporting events. Later on it was used on wrecking trains and hauling
the weed burner. It had been promised to the Atlanta NRHS but they could not get up the funds to move it and so the Southern scrapped it.