I dusted off some of the musty material in my lirary and was able to ascertain that in 1955, Vidalia was served by two railroads, the Seaboard Air Line and the Georgia and Florida.
The Seabord was the principal competition to the better-engineered Atlantic Coast Line for traffic between the Northeastern Statess and Florida. Vidalia wasn't on the Seaboard's main line, but on an important branch between Savannah and Montgomery, Ala. A secondary branch to Macon also diverged from the line previously mentioned, at Vidalia. The Seabord and Atlaintic Coast Line were merged in the late 1960s; that system was then combined with the Louisville and Nashville group into the "Family Lines" or Seabord System, and that system was merged with Chessie System (Baltimore & Ohuo, Chesapeake and Ohio, and others) to form CSX,
The Georgia and Florida has a simpler, but more colorful history. It began life centered on Augusta, Ga, running a relatively short distance north to connections with several lines in the Piedmont, and meandering south and wast across the coastal plain, eventually terminating at Madison, Fla. The freight connections never "panned out" as well as anticipated, and the line survived mostly on local freight, like puplpwood, The track usually wasn't well maintained, and the freight crews usually carried "rerailing frogs" and chains, in the event of minor derailments. The company survived into the 1960's, when it was merged into the Southern Railway, now Norfolk Southern. The few parts of the G&F which generated revenue were absorbed, the rest (by far the majority) abandoned.
Since the surrounding countryside is flat, tt would be interesting to learn what arrangement existed where the two lines crossed; the "interlocking plants" controlled by signalmen in towers, were too expensive for the G&F to maintain and staff -- it had only one, near Augusta. The arrangement might have consisted of a movable mechanical gate which could be rotated across the Seaboard tracks by the crews of lhe likely less=frequent G&F trains; such mechanisms, in turn, usually set signals for approaching (Seaboard) trains to "stop".
By '55, neither of the two roads was offering passenger service, but the G&F did in earlier times, and I'm pretty sure the Seaboard would have as well. This post should provide enough to pass on to local histrical groups in your area, or you could try using a search engine like Google, etc. There may also be Yahoo or other groups related to either of the two railroads.
Last edited by 2nd trick op on Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)