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‘Railroad Track Crowd’ faithfully cheered on their Bulldogs

Updated: Dec 18, 2023


The Railroad Track Crowd watches the Bulldogs in 1980

By Joe Johnson

One group of UGA Bulldogs faithful knew that the best way to watch a game at Sanford Stadium was from a hill along East Campus Road that overlooked the eastside endzone.

For every Saturday afternoon home game, those fans would trek to the CSX railroad tracks at the crest of the hill, bringing with them homemade sandwiches, folding chairs and blankets, coolers filled with cokes and beer, and radios that were tuned to Larry Munson calling the play-by-play for the action on the gridiron across the street.

Even the train engineer stopped to watch UGA beat Oklahoma A&M in 1946

Members of this group of fans will remember having to get out of the way when trains would come through, and seeing students sliding down the grassy banks around the stadium on flattened cardboard boxes.

Fans gathered on the railroad tracks behind Sanford Stadium each season through 1980. After the 1980 season, expansion of the stadium blocked the view from the track.

Some so-called track people would throw their empty beer cans at fans of opposing teams who were walking to the stadium on the street below.

Walt Miller indicated in a post on Facebook that he attended UGA from 1976 to 1981.

"No lights on the field," he wrote. "All game times 1:00pm. All students that wanted one got a ticket. Groups could sit in a block together. No bag checks at entry. Massive crowds sat on 'TheTracks'. Go Dawgs!"

The tracks were jam-packed for this 1976 Georgia-Alabama game

Gathering on the tracks to watch games was a tradition that endured until 19,000 seats were added at Sanford Stadium and the expansion blocked the view of the playing field from the tracks.

The stadium's expansion occurred after the 1980 season ended, so the track people at least got to witness the Bulldogs' first successful national championship run in four decades and watch Herschel Walker display Heisman-like form with his 1,6016 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.

Prior to the start of the 1980 season, UGA legend and coach, Erk Russell wrote a letter to his defensive linemen that was meant to inspire them, and in it he made what is believed to be the first-ever mention of the Railroad Track Crowd.

Coach Erk Russell’s letter to Bulldogs linemen

"These are my people because they love the Dogs almost as much as I do," Russell wrote. "Oh, I know they do some crazy things, like turn over our opponent's buses ... and now and then they throw one another down the bank and into the street below. But they stamp out kudzu, and they pull for us to win...0

The above 1980 photo that appeared in the Athens Banner-Herald referred to the fans who watched football games from the hill and train tracks that overlooked the east end zone of Sanford Stadium as the Trestle Gang,


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5 Comments


Eddie Whitlock
Eddie Whitlock
Dec 01, 2023

That's great! I didn't know about Erk's letter! Wow!

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Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
Nov 30, 2023

After the expansion wasn't there a passenger train that used to travel from Atlanta full of fans and park where the fans used to sit? People tailgaited on the train and then traveled back to Atlanta after the game.

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Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
Nov 30, 2023
Replying to

I could be wrong but I thought I remembered walking past it when I was young. Great story though!

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