The Golden Isles and Western Railroad is a 182 mile railroad running from Macon, GA to the Port of Brunswick at Brunswick, GA. The railroad was formed in 2001 when Norfolk Southern was making cuts to their mileage, and in this version of history, the Brunswick line was sold off to a group of investors, forming the Golden Isles and Western railroad. The railroad hosts various types of business, primarily consisting of automobile, grain, and lumber products. The line interchanges with NS and Georgia Central at Macon, the Heart of Georgia railroad at McRae, the South Georgia Central Railroad at Hazelhurst, CSX at Jesup and Brunswick, and the Golden Isles Terminal at Brunswick. The line functions primarily as a bridge line between the NS at Macon and the Port of Brunswick.
Various upgrades have been made to the line since the purchase from NS. The most significant improvement has been the addition of two 7,500 foot passing sidings, one at West Lake, and one at Surrency. Additionally, the line from Huber into Macon has been double tracked with multiple crossovers to accommodate the interchange with NS at Brosnan Yard, which is often too full to accept incoming GIWR trains. The line is operating by track warrant control and is dark territory, the only signaling being at interlockings and at passing sidings to indicate switch position.
A condensed timetable showing interchanges, passing sidings, and yards is below.
MP 242.2 - Brosnan Yard (NS)
MP 245.4 - Brosnan Yard South - Begin GIWR Ownership. Begin Double Track
MP 247.5 - Crossovers
MP 249.3 - Crossovers
MP 251.3 - Huber - End Double Track
MP 265.4 - WSS West Lake
MP 266.8 - ESS West Lake (Siding Length - 7492 feet)
MP 297.8 - WSS Eastman
MP 298.7 - ESS Eastman (Siding Length - 4760 feet)
MP 317.8 - McRae - Heart of Georgia Interchange
MP 327.8 - WSS Towns
MP 329.1 - ESS Towns (Siding Length - 7088 feet)
MP 341.9 - Hazelhurst - Interchange with South Georgia Central Railroad
MP 368.0 - WSS Surrency
MP 369.4 - ESS Surrency
MP 387.8 - Jesup - CSX Interchange
MP 421.7 - Southern Junction - Interchange with CSX and Golden Isles Terminal
MP 423 - Brunswick Yard
MP 424.2 - Dock Junction - CSX diamond
Track speed on the mainline is generally 49 miles per hour, with exceptions for diamonds and bridges at certain locations. The line is, in general, pretty much flat and straight.
Locomotive Roster -
The locomotive roster is made up entirely of 4 axle units that were purchased used, but for the most part, are well suited to the high-speed, flat operation on the GIWR.
GIWR 1501 - 1505 (5 units) - GP15-1 (ex NS and Conrail)
GIWR 3601 - 3604 (4 units) - B36-7 (ex CSX)
GIWR 3801 - 3807 (7 units) - GP38-2 (ex NS/Southern 5000 series)
GIWR 4001 - 4006 (6 units) - B40-8W (ex BNSF)
Train symbols -
The GIWR runs 3 road freights a day each way in the form of two autoracks each direction and one manifest. Additionally, locals run out of Macon and Brunswick. The manifest freights works industries on the sections of the line not served by the locals. Although the trains have alphabet symbols, these are only used on the computer, as in practice, trains are referred to by their lead engine number.
Local Freights -
L-MNHZ - Macon, GA to Hazelhurst GA - Mon, Wed, Fri
L-HZMN - Hazelhurst, GA to Macon, GA - Tue, Thr, Sat
L-BRJP - Brunswick, GA to Jesup, GA - Daily (turn)
Brunswick Switch job - Daily (runs from Brunswick Yard to the port)
Road Freights -
A-VABR - Mercedes, Vance, AL (NS) to Brunswick, GA (GITW) - Loads from Mercedes for export - Daily
A-BRVA - Brunswick, GA (GITW) to Mercedes, Vance, AL (NS) - Returning empties to Mercedes - Daily
A-HPBR - Hapeville, GA (NS) to Brunswick, GA (GITW) - Empties from Porsche, Hapeville, GA - Tue, Fri
A-BRHP - Brunswick, GA (GITW) to Hapeville, GA (NS) - Imports for Porsche - Sun, Wed
M-MNBR - Macon, GA (NS) to Brunswick, GA - Road freight - Daily ex. Mon
M-BRNM - Brunswick, GA to Macon, GA (NS) - Road freight - Daily ex. Thr
G-MNSR - Macon, GA (NS) to Surrency, GA - Grain loads - Mon
G-SRMN - Surrency, GA to Macon, GA (NS) - Grain empties - Thu
As far as power assignments go, the Macon to Hazelhurst local tends to run with a pair of GP15s, and the Jesup local and Brunswick switch job tend to run with a single GP15, but the 5th GP15 is kept in Brunswick and is added to either of these trains as needed. The B36-7s are now split between use on the road freight and the autorack trains, and the B40-8Ws are exclusively assigned to autorack service. The GP38-2s are a more recent addition to the roster, but have been helpful, as often, the road freights have been forced to borrow B40-8Ws from the autorack trains to supplement the B36s when the road freight has been long. Most commonly nowadays, the manifests each run with a trio of GP38-2s and a B36-7. The grain trains use power from the road freights and the Porsche train on their off days, and most commonly, light power will run from Brunswick to Surrency on Wednesday nights to return the empties to Macon. On average, it takes an autorack train 6 hours to traverse the line and the manifest around 8 or 9 hours depending on the amount of over the road switching necessary.
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