Through the 1850s, Atlanta grew from a railroad junction to a burgeoning regional center. In 1864, sitting at the junction of four railroads, the city was targeted by Major General William T. Sherman’s Union forces. In November, he left Atlanta’s rail lines in ruins.
By early 1867, all of the rail lines serving Atlanta had returned to operation and a railroad boom was underway that again linked the city to distant parts of the region and nation. Atlanta emerged as a transportation hub and a commercial trade center. Following World War II, the automobile and the airplane led to a steady decline in passenger rail travel. Today, Atlanta’s remaining rail passengers are served solely by Southern Railway’s small Peachtree Station at Brookwood.
"Today, folks know Atlanta because they change planes here. Back in the day, they changed trains here. We were a hub to go anywhere in the southeast."
—Cheryl Beckham, Community submission to Atlanta in 50 Objects