(Contributed photo)

It’s been a while since a Hometown Photo has been posted, but this one from Holden Robinson is one that will likely bring back a lot of memories for local residents, and be a history lesson to those who have no clue about the railway history of Polk County.

Holden Robinson, the son of Rockmart Councilmember Marty Robinson, is a train enthusiast who has been all across the area exploring railroad history.

Once upon a time, Braswell used to be a stop along the way of the Southern Railway line that connected Atlanta to Rome, a quick place for people to get on or off before hitting stops in Rockmart and other points properly.

The Southern Railway tunnel first opened in 1882 and was part of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia railroad before it was incorporated into the Southern Railway in 1894. It was used until 1980, when the rail line shifted and left it abandoned.

Now it is a place for hikers to explore, and can still be walked through – but use caution if you dare to find the trail and check it out.

The Southern Railway ultimately merged with the Norfolk & Western, to become what is now known as Norfolk Southern. Rail lines are still in use for freight use in Rockmart and Cedartown, with only occasional stops locally.

A tragic wreck in 1926 happened on the Southern Railway line, when the passenger train Ponce de Leon traveling north and the Royal Palm heading south collided and killed 18 people, and injured more than two dozen.

The accounts from the time reported that the Ponce de Leon was coming down an eight mile grade at full speed, with the Royal Palm supposed to have moved off to a side track, hit head on.

Thanks to Council Member Marty Robinson for the use of the photo. – KtE

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