St. Mary’s West (SMW)

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Not to be confused with the St. Mary’s Railroad (reporting mark SM) however both are related. Both are class III shortlines operating in Georgia. The SMW is an extension of the SM….

The St. Marys and Kingsland Railroad was founded in 1865 by Captain Lemuel Johnson. The SM&K eventually became the Atlantic, Waycross and Northern Railroad and after the death of Johnson in 1918, the railroad was sold to the Southern Fertilizer and Chemical Company in Savannah, Georgia. The AW&N was sold in 1939 to Gilman Paper Company-St. Mary’s Kraft Corporation and became the St. Mary’s Railroad. The SM was merged into the Gilman Paper Company on January 11, 1999, and operated initially under the Gilman name. The Gilman Paper Company separated the railroad by establishing a limited liability corporation operating under the name of Saint Marys Railroad, LLC. On December 17, 1999, the paper plant and railroad were purchased by the Durango Paper Company (changing its name in 2000 to the Durango-Georgia Company) and the railroad was renamed the Durango Railroad. All federal reporting requirements for the railroad were filed under that name. The company declined to change its reporting marks however, thus the locomotives and rolling stock continued to use the St. Marys Railroad name.

The Durango Paper Company shut down in 2002 after two industrial accidents at the plant resulted in nearly $200,000 in fines from OSHA. All of the employees of the paper plant lost their jobs and the railroads future was in doubt. The railroad continues to operate and the St. Marys Railroad right-of-way and assets remain intact. In January 2007, the St. Marys Railroad, LLC was purchased by the Birmingham, Alabama-based Boatright Companies. The railroad continues to be fully operational with no change in its reporting marks.

St. Marys Railway West LLC (SMW) is an extension whose primary business is providing safe harbor/storage of idle, underutilized or congestion-causing empty and loaded rail equipment (cars &  locomotives). SMW’s location is adjacent to CSX‘s Rice Yard in Waycross, GA, the largest classification yard on the CSX system.


The St. Mary’s West