Sweet Onion Rail Trail

A Georgia & Florida Trail, Inc. Project

The Proposed Sweet Onion Rail Trail

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Please enjoy this 1-minute video to get started.

Georgia & Florida Trail, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission is the conversion of abandoned portions of the historic G & F Railroad corridor, into a beautiful linear park with paved surfaces for non-motorized recreation, such as walking, skating, jogging, wheelchair and bicycle use. We take inspiration and design cues from dozens of successful rail trails across the USA, and from the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Beautiful signage, rest areas, benches and facilities will make the trail a fun and welcoming space. Security, trail etiquette and maintenance are of paramount importance to ensure safety for residents and visitors. These greenspaces have proven to revitalize communities and increase adjacent home and property values. Our first goal is the creation of the Sweet Onion Rail Trail from downtown Vidalia to Hazlehurst Georgia and on to Douglas (65-miles). Please help make this a reality by joining Friends of the Sweet Onion Trail.

The proposed Sweet Onion Trail will emulate the Silver Comet Trail, highlighted in this video.

G&F Trail at Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area

The Sweet Onion Rail Trail, as part of the G&F Trail, will pass through the 17,016-acre Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area crossing the Altamaha River from Montgomery County to Jeff Davis County. My wife and I had a wonderful time today riding our gravel bikes out to the south end of the Altamaha River Bridge. Our photos don’t do it justice, but here are a few pictures from today’s ride.

The yellow dots show our out and back bicycle route from the Towns Bluff Park to the south end of the abandoned bridge. The photos below were taken on the north-south approach to the abandoned G&FRR Bridge, above.

The trestle bridge timbers look to be in great condition.

While we had fun dodging mud puddles and pedaling over the forest floor, the rail-trail will be high above this flood plain, on the abandoned train trestle. The 1908 trestle has stood the test of time, and is ready now to be repurposed for walking, bicycling, skating, etc…

Beauty like this will be enjoyed safely from the rail-trail above.
Here’s where the trestle bridge connects to the steel and concrete bridge over the river.

The Altamaha River Bridge

Including the flood plain, this 1908 railroad bridge over the Altamaha River is over 1/2-mile long. Plans are to repurpose this bridge to be used for the Sweet Onion Rail Trail, similar to the former railroad bridge over the Monongahela River on the Great Allegheny Passage in PA shown in the third photo below.

The 1908 bascule draw bridge over the Altamaha River
Aerial view of the Altamaha River Bridge

Repurposed RR bridge for the GAP Trail, Duquesne, PA, over the Monongahela River

Sweet Onion Rail Trail Drone Video

Railroad Milepost ~GF-149 to ~GF-124.

Former Vidalia Union Depot

The Vidalia Union Depot was a splendid piece of architecture that, sadly, was leveled in the 1950s. The historic Georgia & Florida Railroad operated on the tracks to the front right in this photo.

The dot here shows approximate location of the Vidalia Union Depot. The dashed line shows the historic Georgia & Florida Railroad tracks, now abandoned all the way to Douglas, GA. All together, approximately 130-miles of the original 250-miles of track from Augusta GA to Madison FL line is currently abandoned or converted for recreational use.
G&F Railroad Engine 47 on the right

View of Main Street looking toward the former Vidalia Union Depot

Another view with the old Depot at end of the block

And here is a link to some very good history about the G&F RR and the Vidalia Union Depot, thanks to the Ray City History Blog: https://raycityhistory.wordpress.com/2021/07/24/vidalia-union-station/

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