Birmingham’s Trains, Tracks, and Rails

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Birmingham is RICH in railroads!

With the recent focus on Railroad Park,  we’ve developed a deeper appreciation for the unique and expansive railroad history of Birmingham.   It inspired us to explore a few tracks in our area including those downtown near Morris Avenue, but also those in Bessemer, Irondale, Ensley, Fairfield, and the coal loading rail-to-barge stations in Port Birmingham (also known as Bimingport) on the Warrior River.  We discovered that Birmingham Southern Railroad is one of the busiest railroads in the country.  And through sites called American, and American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, Wikipedia, Birmingham Historical Society, and an excellent local hobbyist site called Birmingham Rails, we found a list of all the railroads that continue to serve Alabama as well as the history of our railroads. There are even some interesting maps of the railroad lines.  It’s amazing what we have right here in Birmingham!  Even today, over 20 trains a day come right through Birmingham.  We can be extremely proud of our railroad heritage!

So here’s a preview of Bob’s watercolor tribute to the railroads of Birmingham.  Click through the slideshow.  I think he makes our railroads look beautiful!  And if you get interested in the railroads like we did, check out some of the links below.   There’s lots to see just within Jefferson County!

Finally, railroads are still a leisurely way to travel and if you have the time, we can personally recommend taking the AmTrak sleeper car from Morris Avenue to Washington D.C.’s Union Station.  You board at Morris Avenue in the afternoon, and arrive the next morning in the heart of Washington D.C. in the completely renovated Union Station.  It’s a great trip for kids AND adults!

From American

Class I Railroads

Amtrak (Our nation’s intercity passenger rail carrier serves Alabama.)

BNSF Railway

Canadian National Railway

CSX Transportation

Norfolk Southern Railway

Shortlines and Regional Railroads

Alabama Railroad

Alabama and Florida Railway

Alabama Great Southern Railroad

Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway

Alabama Southern Railroad

Alabama and Tennessee River Railway

Alabama Warrior Railway

Bay Line Railroad

Birmingham Southern Railroad

CG Railway

Central of Georgia Railroad

Chattahoochee Bay Railroad

Conecuh Valley Railroad

Eastern Alabama Railway

Georgia Southwestern Railroad

Huntsville and Madison County Railroad Authority

Jefferson Warrior Railroad

Luxapalila Valley Railroad

Meridian and Bigbee Railroad

Redmont Railway

Sequatchie Valley Railroad

Tennessee Southern Railroad

Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks

Three Notch Railroad

Wiregrass Central Railroad

For more information about shortlines that serve Alabama please click here to visit the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s website. Also, please visit the shortline railroad guide here at the site to learn more about some of the above companies.


Alabama Short Line Railroad Guide

Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway

Birmingham Southern Railroad

East Alabama Railway

Huntsville-Madison County Railroad Authority

Jefferson Warrior Railroad: Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

Southern Alabama Railroad

Terminal Railway-Alabama State Docks : Headquartered in Mobile, Alabama.


Q. I’m just starting out in the rail industry. What are some of the publications that I should read?

The Pocket List of Railroad Officials
Commonwealth Business Media
50 Millstone Rd., Bldg. 400, Suite 200
East Windsor, NJ 08520
800-221-5488 ext. 7861

Progressive Railroading
Trade Press Publishing Corp
2016 St. Andrews Dr.
Plainfield, IL 60544

Railway Age
Simmons-Boardman Publishing
345 Hudson St., 12th Floor
New York, NY 10014

Railway Track & Structures
20 S. Clark St., Suite 2450
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 466-1870

Traffic World
1230 National Press Building
Washington, DC 20045

Kalmbach Publishing Co.
21027 Crossroads Circle
Waukesha, WI 53187

From Wikipedia

Railroads & railroad services

Formerly, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad
Formerly, the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad
Formerly, the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad