2021 Georgia Code
Title 46 - Public Utilities and Public Transportation
Chapter 8 - Railroad Companies
Article 4 - Powers of Companies Generally
§ 46-8-100. General Powers

Universal Citation: GA Code § 46-8-100 (2021)

A railroad company organized and incorporated as provided in this chapter shall be empowered:

  1. To cause such examinations and surveys to be made for the proposed railroad as shall be necessary for the selection of the most advantageous route, and, by its officers, agents, servants, or employees, to enter upon the land or water of any person for that purpose, provided that the company shall be responsible for all damage done to such property;
  2. To take and hold such voluntary grants of real estate and other property as may be made to it to aid in the construction, maintenance, and accommodation of said road; but the real estate received by voluntary grant shall be held and used for the purpose of such grant only;
  3. To acquire, purchase, hold, and use all such real estate and other property as may be necessary for the construction and maintenance of said road and of the stations, wharves, docks, terminal facilities, and all other accommodations necessary to accomplish the object of the corporation; and to condemn, lease, or buy any land necessary for its use; provided, however, that to the extent an issue arises over the dimensions of any such acquisition by a railroad corporation or railroad company which occurred prior to 1913, such dimensions shall be determined by reference to the documents evidencing any such transaction and by examining the official map of the railroad filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission pursuant to the Railroad Valuation Act of March 1, 1913, Stat. 701, as amended, and such depictions contained on such official railroad map shall be conclusive as to the dimensions of any acquisition as of the date of such railroad map; provided, further, that each railroad corporation and railroad company shall file and record such official map of the railroad with the superior court for the county in which such land depicted on such official railroad map is situated. Any court of this state shall take judicial notice of the information set forth in any such official map properly filed and recorded by such railroad corporation or railroad company;
  4. To lay out its road, not exceeding in width 200 feet, and to construct the same, and, for the purpose of cuttings and embankments and for obtaining gravel and other material, to take as much land as may be necessary for the proper construction, operation, and security of said road; and to cut down any trees that may be in danger of falling on the track or obstructing the right of way, making compensation therefor as provided by law;
  5. To construct its road across, along, or upon or otherwise to use any stream of water, watercourse, street, highway, or canal which the route of its road intersects or touches, provided that no railroad shall be constructed along and upon any street or highway without the written consent of the municipal or county authorities. Whenever the track of any such railroad shall touch, intersect, or cross any road, highway, or street, it may be carried over or under the road, highway, or street, or cross at a grade level or otherwise, as may be found most expedient for the public good;
  6. To cross, intersect, join, or unite its railroad with any other railroad at any point on its route, or upon the ground of any other railroad company, with the necessary turnouts, sidings, switches, and other conveniences necessary for the construction of said road, and to run over any part of any other railroad's right of way as may be necessary to reach its freight depot in any city through or near which said railroad may run, provided that the crossing of another railroad, either over or under or at grade level or otherwise, shall be at the expense of the company making the crossing, and in such way and manner, and at such time, as not to interfere with the railroad in the operation of its trains or the conduct of its regular business;
  7. To receive and convey persons or property over their railroads by the use of steam, electricity, or any other motive power, and to receive compensation therefor, and to do all things incident to railroad business;
  8. To erect and maintain convenient buildings, wharves, docks, stations, fixtures, and machinery, within or without a city, for the accommodation and use of its passenger and freight business;
  9. To regulate the time and manner in which passengers and property shall be transported, and the compensation to be paid therefor, subject to any law of this state upon the subject, or any rule or regulation governing such matters by the commission;
  10. To borrow such sums of money, at such rates of interest and upon such terms, as the company or its board of directors shall deem necessary or expedient, and to execute trust deeds or mortgages, or both, if the occasion requires, on the railroad in process of construction, or after the same has been constructed, for the amounts borrowed or owed by the company. The company may make such provisions in such trust deed or mortgage for transferring, as security for any bonds, debts, or sums of money secured by such trust deeds or mortgages, its railroad track, depots, grounds, rights, privileges, franchises, immunities, machine shops, roundhouses, rolling stock, furniture, tools, implements, and appurtenances used in connection with the railroad, then owned by said company, or which thereafter it may acquire, as it thinks proper; and all such deeds of trust and mortgages shall be recorded as provided by law for the record of mortgages, in each county through which the road runs, provided that all rights to borrow money, issue bonds or other evidences of debt, and execute trust deeds or mortgages to secure the same shall be exercised within the limitations and in the manner which shall be prescribed by law, and no debt, trust deed, mortgage, or other lien shall be made or created except on terms and conditions similar to those prescribed in Code Section 46-8-53 for the increase of capital stock or the issuance of bonds.

(Ga. L. 1892, p. 37, § 9; Civil Code 1895, § 2167; Civil Code 1910, § 2585; Code 1933, § 94-301; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 46; Ga. L. 1984, p. 22, § 46; Ga. L. 2008, p. 210, § 7/HB 1283.)

The 2008 amendment, effective July 1, 2008, in paragraph (3), added the two provisos and added the last sentence.

Cross references.

- Authority of railroad companies to operate motor vehicles for hire upon public highways, § 46-7-67.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2008, p. 210, § 1, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "(a) The General Assembly finds that the railroads and their rights of way in Georgia:

"(1) Are essential to the continued viability of this state;

"(2) Are valuable resources which must be preserved and protected;

"(3) Are essential for the economic growth and development of this state;

"(4) Provide a necessary means of transporting raw materials, agricultural products, other finished products, and consumer goods and are also essential for the safe passage of hazardous materials;

"(5) Relieve congestion on the highways and keep dangerous products and materials off our highways;

"(6) Are vital for national defense and national security; and

"(7) Provide the most energy efficient means of transportation through this state, thus minimizing air pollution and fuel consumption.

"(b) The purpose of this Act is to protect the rights of way of railroads from loss by claims of adverse possession or other claims by prescription and to recognize the dimensions of these rights of way as they were identified and defined nearly 100 years ago."

Law reviews.

- For annual survey on commercial transportation: a two-year survey, see 71 Mercer L. Rev. 39 (2019).



  • General Consideration
  • Authority to Hold and Use Real Estate
  • Authority to Construct Road Along Streets and Waterways
  • Authority to Cross or Join Other Railroads


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 13 Am. Jur. 2d., Carriers, §§ 156, 404, 755 et seq., 815 et seq. 18 Am. Jur. 2d, Corporations, §§ 19, 20. 18A Am. Jur. 2d, Corporations, §§ 485, 487, 488, 490-492, 494-515, 518-520, 522-523, 525-539, 541-544, 546-549, 578-581, 583, 584, 586-627, 632-644. 18B Am. Jur. 2d, Corporations, §§ 1957-1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1969, 1971-1976, 1979, 1981-1983, 2097, 2113. 26 Am. Jur. 2d, Eminent Domain, §§ 24, 25, 90. 27 Am. Jur. 2d., Eminent Domain, § 927. 65 Am. Jur. 2d, Railroads, §§ 16 et seq., 39, 40 et seq., 68, 75, 82 et seq., 90, 91, 103 et seq., 166 et seq., 236, 241, 242.


- 13 C.J.S., Carriers, §§ 138, 140, 367, 368, 387, 492, 495. 19 C.J.S., Corporations, §§ 672-676, 678-680, 692. 29A C.J.S., Eminent Domain, §§ 24, 37, 38. 74 C.J.S., Railroads, §§ 851, 853, 896, 897 et seq., 971 et seq., 1040 et seq., 1078, 1207 et seq., 1269.


- Constitutionality of statute requiring railroad to construct and maintain private crossing, 12 A.L.R. 227.

Use of city streets for interurban railway traffic as an additional servitude, 13 A.L.R. 809.

Right to give exclusive privilege of soliciting patronage at railroad stations or on trains, 15 A.L.R. 356.

Spur or switch track as fixture, 21 A.L.R. 1089.

Failure to fence as rendering railroad company liable for damage to or by livestock after leaving right of way, 24 A.L.R. 1057.

Right of railroad company to use right of way for housing or boarding employees or others, 59 A.L.R. 1287.

Right of owner of fee to complain of use of railroad right of way as a place for driving or keeping livestock, 61 A.L.R. 731.

Private railway as additional burden on highway, 61 A.L.R. 1046.

Right of railroad company to prevent operations for gas or oil or other mining operations on right of way, 61 A.L.R. 1068.

Constitutional power to compel railroad company to relocate or reconstruct highway crossing, or to pay or contribute to expense thereof, 62 A.L.R. 815.

Right of railroad company to use or grant use of land in right of way for other than railroad purpose, 94 A.L.R. 522; 149 A.L.R. 378.

Scope and content of term "right of way" as employed in statute relating to taxation, or exemption from taxation, of railroads or railroad property, 108 A.L.R. 242.

Elimination of railroad grade crossing as local improvement for which property specially benefited may be assessed, 111 A.L.R. 1222.

Right in respect of private crossing in absence of statutory or contractual provision in that regard where land is taken by or deeded to railroad for right of way, 122 A.L.R. 1171.

Nature and extent of interest acquired by railroad in right of way by adverse possession or prescription, 127 A.L.R. 517.

Who entitled to land upon its abandonment for railroad purposes, where railroad's original interest or title was less than fee simple absolute, 136 A.L.R. 296.

Condemnation of premises or part thereof as affecting rights of landlord and tenant inter se, 163 A.L.R. 679.

Condemner's waiver, surrender, or limitation, after award, of rights or part of property acquired by condemnation, 5 A.L.R.2d 724.

Width of way created by express grant, reservation, or exception not specifying width, 28 A.L.R.2d 253.

Spur track and the like as constituting a use for which railroad can validly exercise right of eminent domain, 35 A.L.R.2d 1326.

Admissibility, in eminent domain proceeding, of evidence as to price paid for condemned real property during pendency of the proceeding, 55 A.L.R.2d 781.

Admissibility, in eminent domain proceeding, of evidence as to price paid for condemned real property on sale prior to the proceeding, 55 A.L.R.2d 791.

What constitutes abandonment of a railroad right of way, 95 A.L.R.2d 468.

Eminent domain: right of owner of land not originally taken or purchased as part of adjacent project to recover, on enlargement of project to include adjacent land, enhanced value of property by reason of proximity to original land - state cases, 95 A.L.R.3d 752.

Eminent domain: recovery of value of improvements made with knowledge of impending condemnation, 98 A.L.R.3d 504.

State statute of limitations applicable to inverse condemnation or similar proceedings by landowner to obtain compensation for direct appropriation of land without the institution or conclusion of formal proceedings against specific owner, 26 A.L.R.4th 68.

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