Tallulah Falls Railroad: Opening Rabun County to the Outside World
The Tallulah Falls Railroad was formed in 1881. Known as the Rabun Gap Route, this short-line railroad began in Cornelia, Georgia and was completed to Tallulah Falls in 1882. Crossing the Tallulah River in 1903, the railroad arrived in Clayton in 1904. It was then extended to Mountain City, Rabun Gap and Dillard before reaching its terminus at Franklin, N.C. in 1907. The 58-mile line, which crossed 42 wooden-truss trestles, transformed Rabun County’s economy by opening isolated communities to the outside world for the first time. The “Old TF” served as the location for Walt Disney’s 1956 movie The Great Locomotive Chase. Plagued by chronic financial woes and several spectacular accidents, the Tallulah Falls Railroad ceased operation in 1961
From our Archives
The Society would like to extend special appreciation to the owners of the F.E. Ardrey Collection for allowing us to display their photos of the Tallulah Falls Railroad. This includes the stunning photo of engine No. 78 on our home page, which was taken by R.D. Sharpless in 1946.
Visit our Tallulah Falls Railroad Exhibit
Want to learn more about the Tallulah Falls Railroad? Visit our Museum to view this exhibit and many others that tell the stories that shaped Rabun’s history.