The Tuskegee Railroad

Despite being just under six miles in length, the Tuskegee Railroad served a vital purpose, in connecting Tuskegee, AL with the rest of the US rail network. It ran 5.7 miles north from Tuskegee to Chehaw, AL, where it connected to the Western Railway of Alabama. The road was completed in 1860, using slave labor in its construction. (Right of way)

Tuskegee Railroad steam engine. Phil Kotheimer Collection

It was a casualty of the Civil War in 1863, but would be rebuilt once again in 1872. The railroad declared bankruptcy several times, and reorganized, but unlike many other railroads, it kept its name in spite of reorganization.

Originally narrow gauge, it was converted to standard-gauge in 1898.

The railroad's main purpose in the 20th century was to facilitate traffic into Tuskegee Normal & Industrial Institute, which later became the Tuskegee University, a member of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

By 1963, the railroad was no longer needed, and the building of I-85 required part of the property of the railroad. It was abandoned the same year.


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