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Columbus & Greenville Railway

1982 Centennial Celebration

The Columbus & Greenville Railway has reached its 100th birthday. It is a time to reflect and muse over its accomplishments, disappointments, joys and sorrows. It is a colorful background, filled with events -- not all momentous -- but each of interest or pride to many. We cannot, of course, pay tribute to each individual who has contributed to the organization, construction, operation and rehabilitation of the Railway. However, by tracing the broad outlines of its development, we can recreate the life-line and in so doing pay tribute to the total achievements of the hundreds of employees, investors, patrons and loyal friends which the Columbus & Greenville Rwy claims today.

Sam Y. Wilhite - C&G President - 1981

In February of 1982, the Columbus & Greenville Railway celebrated its centennial with a special gathering and luncheon in Greenwood, Mississippi. The year marked a century since the Georgia Pacific railroad first laid rail west of Columbus. In coordination with the centennial, author and rail photographer Louis Saillard published his Delta Route: A History of the Columbus & Greenville Railway, chronicling the history of the notable shortline. Special equipment sent to Greenwood for the celebration included C&G business car "King Cotton" (CAGY #1) and the railroad's inspection car #1. Converted from a 1948 Buick sedan, #1 was fitting with a four-wheel front truck to allow for higher speeds while out on the line.

My memories of the 1982 celebration are many. The luncheon was hosted by Sam Wilhite, president, who noted that this event was a "birthday party given by itself to itself." Everyone who had contributed items or assisted with the Delta Route publication was recognized, and we all enjoyed a big lunch. Many of us rode on King Cotton behind a single Geep, a few miles through Greenwood and across the ICG interchange.