1. What economic role do trains play in Georgia?
Trains allow for the distribution of Georgian goods to the rest of the country and offer a way to import goods into the state. During the 1800s, rail offered a cheaper, faster and more direct option than rivers and other transportation systems.
2. Using a railroad map and a road map of Georgia, locate the placement of the main interstates in Georgia in comparison with the location of the railroads. Discuss why it would be logical to place highways along these lines rather than finding new ways through the state. Why do the roads and railroads not match at certain places?
Most of the north/south rail lines are along the same route as I-75 and I-85 are today; Interstate 20 runs roughly just above the fall line through Augusta into South Carolina. There are other major Georgia state highways that run along the other railroad routes on the map. It was logical to run the roads along the same route because of Georgia’s geography. The railroad beds are usually laid on flat land that mostly runs straight. To have to decide on other routes would have been costly. In addition, many towns and cities had already grown up along the rail line, and roads would definitely be used between these towns and cities if they were built. Certain rail lines run through unlivable areas and connect to other railroads across state lines. This is why some roads were not built along these lines.
3. Explain why the legislature of Georgia needed to begin to regulate freight and passenger rates for the railroads. What happened in 1887 that made Georgia know that this action would hold up in court (be legal)?
The railroads had taken over the maintenance of the roads following the Civil War. As a result, they were charging exorbitant fees (tolls) to the users of these roads. In 1879, the legislature passed a law to regulate the “freight and passenger tariffs” for both freight and passengers on Georgia roads and railroads. They appointed three
commissioners to decide on fair rates that could be charged. In 1887, a Supreme Court decision decided for the Commission: they could decide what rates could be charged for freight and passengers on Georgia’s roads and railroads.