Complete Southern Railway archives now publicly available

Southern Railway locomotives at Inman Yard in Atlanta, Georgia

The complete collection of Southern Railway archives is now publicly available, by appointment, at Atlanta History Center's Kenan Research Center. Norfolk Southern announced the donation of this significant collection in 2021, offering a comprehensive glimpse into the foundation of Southern Railway and its 200 predecessor railroads, dating back to 1828.

A treasure trove of historical artifacts, the collection provides a comprehensive narrative of Southern Railway's rich legacy and its profound impact on American transportation history. The records encapsulate a wide array of historical documents, including annual reports, inspection trips, executive speeches, construction contracts, correspondence, publications, rule books, passenger train materials, and more. Of particular note are over three thousand construction contracts, shedding light on the company's evolution through the development of train depots, track laying, bridges, and other vital infrastructure.

Norfolk Southern's commitment to preserving its history extends beyond the donation of records. In addition to the archive donation, the company provided Atlanta History Center with $500,000 to support the perpetual preservation of the collection, including digitization and cataloging efforts. The grant also enabled the hiring of archival interns from underrepresented communities.

Read the full opening announcement from Atlanta History Center here.