Washington & Choctaw Railroad
Headquarters: Yellow Pine, AL
Years of Operation: 1910-1927
Predecessor Roads: E. W. Gates Lumber Co.
Successor Roads: none
Miles Operated: Yellow Pine, AL to Bolinger, AL, 31 miles
1915: Locomotives: 4. Cars: 1 passenger,
110 freight, 60 miscellaneous.
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HISTORY by Gil Hoffman:
The E. W. Gates
Lumber Company was incorporated in 1904 and acquired a tract of timber
and a narrow gauge logging railroad about 3 miles in length. The latter
was abandoned and a standard gauge line built northward from Yellow Pine,
AL, on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. This railroad went by the trade
name “Washington & Choctaw Railway.”
& Choctaw Railway was incorporated in Alabama on December 13,
1910, for the purpose of acquiring and operating a railroad extending from
Yellow Pine, AL in a general northwesterly direction to a point 18 miles
south of Butler, AL. The new company took over the railroad of the E. W.
Gates Lumber Company from Yellow Pine to Mathews, AL, 22 miles. The
railroad issued $200,000 in capital stock to the lumber company in
exchanged track and equipment. The railroad was laid with a mixture of 30
and 40-lb. relay rail, with a small amount of 56-lb. relay. The track was
As of 1910, the lumber
company operated about 4 or 5 miles of logging railroad beyond Mathews.
The sawmill of the lumber company at Yellow Pine was located about a
quarter of a mile from the junction of the Washington & Choctaw and
the Mobile & Ohio. By June 1915 the railroad extended from Yellow Pine
to Rayton, AL, 24.405 miles. In 1918, during Federal control, the line had
reached Bolinger, AL, on the Alabama, Tennessee & Northern Railroad,
31 miles from Yellow Pine.
The Gates mill at
Yellow Pine cut out about 1918 and the portion of the line between Yellow
Pine and Aquilla, about 20.5 miles, was abandoned on September 22, 1919.
About 1918 the C.
W. Cochran Lumber Company of Meridian, MS built a sawmill on the
Washington & Choctaw at Cantwell, AL (formerly Aquilla). On February
6, 1922, the sawmill plant, on the Washington & Choctaw, at Cantwell,
AL, and timber holdings in Wayne County, MS, and Choctaw County, AL, were
sold to J. A. McCain, P. C. Hargrave and Herbert Arky
for $100,000. The sale also included the Washington & Choctaw.
The property was operated as the Turkey Creek Lumber Company with
main office at Waynesboro, MS.
On January 25,
1924, the entire holdings were sold to Stark & Oldham Brothers
Lumber Company, composed of A. M. H. Stark and Connie Stark, his wife,
formerly of Orange, Texas. The purchase price was $215,000.
The mill at
Cantwell, AL furnished almost all the traffic for the Washington &
Choctaw. In June 1927 the mill cut out. On May 31, 1927,the Washington
& Choctaw applied to the ICC for permission to abandon its remaining
trackage, from Cantwell, AL northward to Bolinger, AL, 10.5 miles.
Permission was granted on June 9, 1927.
”Washington & Choctaw Railway Company,” Valuation Docket No.
133, Interstate Commerce Commission Reports, Vol. 108, p. 491-8.
”Abandonment of Line by Washington & Choctaw Railway
Company,” Finance Docket No. 6234, Interstate Commerce Commission
Reports, Vol. 124. P. 673-4.
E. W. Gates Shay No. 3 and crew about 1908.
Another rare view of Shay No. 3 taken north of Yellow Pine.
A fine view of Washington & Choctaw 6 with a loaded log train.
Washington & Choctaw No. 100 at SI&E in Atlanta.
|ROSTER by Gil Hoffman:
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