Blue Mountain and Rome Railroad.
The question has been very properly asked by the Selma Reporter, “Why the Blue Mountain and Rome Railroad has not been built?”, or at least “why is it not under better progress of construction at this time”?
It is indeed a wonder that the Government has not finished this road long ago as a military necessity. There is no expenditure of the war that has been made, that would have remunerated half so surely or rapidly, as to have filled up this connection, and thus to have effected continuous rail from Meridian Miss, to Kingston, Ga.
Let us look at the situation. From Meridian to Kingston, by way of Mobile and Montgomery, the most expeditious and surest route of transportation for troops and munitions of war – the distance is 555 miles. By way of Blue Mountain and Rome 320 miles – a savings of 225 miles in distance.
There are in addition to the 225 miles by the Mobile route, four changes to be made, two at Mobile, one at Montgomery and another at West Point, (On account of the break of gauge,) while by the Rome route, when the bridge across the Tombigbee is completed, the same cars may run through without a single change. This gives another saving of a least 100 miles – in fact it is more than double that distance, all things taken into consideration. We may safely say 320 miles against 700.
From New Orleans to Richmond, by way of Mobile and Wilmington, the distance is 1481 miles, while by Blue Mountain and Rome and the Tennessee route, it is 1188 miles, with at least four less changes to be made. The facts are too apparent to need further comment.
The distance from Blue Mountain to Rome (which completes this short route) is 61 miles. Three fourths of the grading has already been done, and three months of active work would complete the remainder.
There is another consideration urging the necessity of this connection, which we do not believe has had its due influence with those who have the matter of furnishing the iron in charge. By this route the Shelby Coal Fields are only 220 miles from Atlanta, and the transportation may be made without breaking bulk; while by the river and Montgomery, the distance is 330 miles with three trans-shipments. This coal is equal if not superior to any in the Confederate States, and would be of incalculable value to Georgia at this time. Some of the best iron in the State of Alabama will also be within twenty-four hours’ run of Atlanta when this road is completed – to say nothing of valuable marble &c., &c.
Can it be that the Government officials fully appreciate the advantages of this work? And if so, why has not the Blue Mountain and Rome Railroad been built?