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SAM Shortline Excursion Train: Journey through history and beauty

All aboard for a Southern style adventure through the plains of South Georgia. Part historic, part transportive, the SAM Shortline Excursion Train is all fun!

The train's unique name is derived from both the line's late 19th century founder, Colonel Samuel Hugh Hawkins, and the railroad's original name, the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery. In its heyday, the SAM's mainline reached 340 miles in length and was responsible for the formation of many cities throughout South Georgia, including Cordele (named for Hawkins' wife, Cordelia).

Cordele quickly became the railroad hub of South Georgia and is still where SAM passengers begin their modern day journey on the historic railroad (although the train can also be boarded from any stop). From Cordele, the route heads west for five stops including, Georgia Veterans State Park, Leslie, Americus, Plains, and Archery.

Climb aboard air-conditioned 1949 vintage railcars for an adventure through scenic country. Each stop brings its own unique sights and history to the SAM experience.

Although the train does not always stop in every city, you will always begin your journey in the "Watermelon Capitol of the World," also known as Cordele. At the Georgia Veterans State Park, play a round of golf, take in beautiful Lake Blackshear and visit the military exhibits. In Leslie, the Rural Telephone Museum features antique telephone memorabilia. The museum is showcased inside of a restored cotton warehouse, which also houses classic cars and murals and switchboards. Americus is known for its quaint Victorian charm. Visitors can stroll through adorable retail shops and restaurants, as well as tour Habitat for Humanity's Global Village (with reservations).

Then it's onto Plains, which was essentially put on the global map by President Jimmy Carter. Try some peanut butter ice cream, visit Carter's museum and wander the antique mall. And finally, head over to Archery, where Carter was born and raised. Explore his boyhood home and farm before heading back to the depot in Cordele.
The SAM runs mainly on weekends and even specializes its destination schedule to highlight certain activities or cities, making each trip a unique journey.

Passengers can book seats in coach, the Americus Car (tables and chairs for parties of two or four), or the Hawkins Car (for adults only; lounge areas and booths). Train charters (stationary and moving) are available.

HelloAtlanta Tip: Flip flops and sandals without backs are not allowed on the train for safety purposes.

Posted on April 17, 2010 by Christine Foster
train South Georgia SAM Plains Cordele
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