Silver Comet Trail was built over an abandoned
rail line in northwest Georgia. At the state
line, it connects to the Chief
Ladiga Trail in northeast Alabama. Both
trails were built on connected rail lines
that carried passengers and freight throughout
the south and southeastern United States.
- 1897 - Original rail line
original brick tunnel still exists under
Brushy Mt. Road just north of the current
Silver Comet Tunnel)
- 1947 - 1969 - Silver Comet passenger
- 1989 - CSX Railroad discontinued over
37 miles of rail in Cobb, Paulding, and
- 1992 - Abandoned rail line purchased
by Georgia DOT
- Cobb County leased rail
line from GDOT for non-motorized tail
- 1998 - Trail construction started in
Smyrna, Cobb County
- The first section
of trail was very popular and is still
the busiest part of the trail
- 2008 - Silver Comet Construction is complete, and the trail is fully paved by August 2008
The Silver Comet Trail was named after
the Silver Comet passenger train. It was
introduced by the Seaboard Air Line Railroad
in 1947. During the height of rail travel,
the trains consisted of sleek passenger,
sleeper, dining, and observation cars. People
could connect to other rail lines and travel to to the big cities
in the north and tour areas in Florida to the south.
Passengers enjoyed luxury accommodations as well as friendly service and still speak about
the very scenic route. The Silver Comet
traveled through small towns, thick forests,
and open farmlands. Some customers said they would take local rides for fun, and they remember parts of the trail along with the local depots
(some still exist.) Though the train is gone, many former passengers are thrilled to
be able to enjoy much of the original train route again.
When rail travel declined, the Silver Comet
discontinued the sleeper, dining, and observation
cars. The train started to carry freight
along with passengers. Eventually the trains
only carried freight. The Silver Comet Trail section of rail
line closed in 1989.
In 1992, The Georgia Department of Transportation
bought the closed rail line that ran through
Cobb, Paulding, and Polk counties from CSX.
The GDOT wanted the rail line for future
transit expansion. Though it was decided to
make the former rail line a multi-use non-motorized trail, future transit use is a possibility.
Cobb leased their 12.8-mile section of trail
from the GDOT, started construction
in Smyrna in 1998, and completed construction in 2008.
GRITS, the Georgia Rails into Trails Society, and the PATH Foundation were key players in the creation of the Silver Comet Trail and helped to coordinate the efforts between the Georgia DOT, Cobb County, Paulding County, Polk County, and cities along the trail. Today, the PATH Foundation is a critical player in creating an interconnected trail system throughout Georgia.
More Silver Comet Train History
History of the American Rail-Trails