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Historical Sketches
L&N
The Louisville & Nashville Railroad in Montgomery
By Charles B. Castner

Click the image above to view the Louisville & Nashville route map from "Outings," published by the L&N Railroad, 1905. Credit: OAR Collection
Click the image above to view the Louisville & Nashville route map from "Outings," published by the L&N Railroad, 1905. Credit: OAR Collection
The Louisville & Nashville (L&N) Railroad and successor CSX Transportation have been corporate residents of Montgomery for 120 years. However, two L&N predecessors, the Alabama & Florida (A&F) and the South & North Alabama (S&NA), were formed in the 1850’s, one of them commencing train operations by the beginning of the Civil War.

The Alabama & Florida was organized in 1850 to build south from Montgomery to the Alabama-Florida state line near today’s city of Flomaton. Construction began in 1854, and the line was completed in May 1861. A south end connection was made with the Mobile & Great Northern (M&GN, chartered in 1856), which in late 1861 completed trackage another 45 miles to the Tensas River. A ferry conveyed travelers the rest of the way to Mobile. The A&F and M&GN merged into the Mobile & Montgomery (M&M) Railroad in 1868, and laid rail into Mobile four years later, changing the name to the Mobile & Montgomery Railway. L&N leased the M&M, beginning in 1880, fully integrating it into the larger system in 1900.

"Two unidentified young men stand in front of L&N’s Montgomery turntable, c. 1910. The trestle for loading coal, predating the coal tower, is in the background." Credits: L&N Collection,UniversityofLouisville Archives,Louisville,KY.
Two unidentified young men stand in front of L&N’s Montgomery turntable, c. 1910. The trestle for loading coal, predating the coal tower, is in the background.
Credit: L&N Collection, University of Louisville Archives, Louisville, KY.

The South & North Alabama, L&N’s other area predecessor, was chartered in 1854 to build north through the state to some point on the Tennessee River, but little or no construction was accomplished until 1870, when tracks were laid from Montgomery to Calera and another segment opened to Birmingham in 1871. The same year, the L&N gained control of the S&NA and agreed to finish the gap between Birmingham and Decatur, and through trains began running between Louisville, Nashville and Montgomery on September 29, 1872. For the next four decades, the S&NA was operated as an L&N division and was merged into its parent in 1914.

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