Classic Streamliners - TRAINCYCLOPEDIA
Piedmont & Northern Route Map.
A Piedmont and Northern Slideshow.
Piedmont & Northern Alco C-420 at Spartanburg, South Carolina in February of 1968. A Roger Puta Photograph.
Piedmont and Northern Railway
The Piedmont & Northern Railway (reporting mark PN) was a heavy electric interurban company operating over two unconnected divisions in North and South Carolina. Tracks spanned 128 miles (206 km) total between the two segments, with the northern division running 24 miles (39 km) from Charlotte, to Gastonia, North Carolina, including a three-mile (5 km) spur to Belmont. The southern division main line ran 89 miles (143 km) from Greenwood to Spartanburg, South Carolina, with a 12 mi (19 km) spur to Anderson. Initially the railroad was electrified at 1500 volts DC, however, much of the electrification was abandoned when dieselization was completed in 1954.
Unlike similar interurban systems the Piedmont & Northern survived the Great Depression and was later absorbed into the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad in 1969. Although part of the railroad was abandoned between Greenwood and Honea Path and Belton to Anderson, much of the original system exists today as short lines. Once part of CSX, it is now owned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which awarded a contract in May 2010 to Patriot Rail Corporation to restore the track and operate trains along the 12 miles (19 km) line.
Although interurban railroads were not nearly as common in the sparsely populated and largely agrarian Deep South, there were a number of small electric networks constructed in the region throughout the early 20th century. Among them was the Anderson Traction Company, created on June 22, 1904 to build and operate within the city of Anderson. Eventually the railroad expanded to complete construction of an extension to Belton by 1910. The railroad was acquired by James B. Duke of Duke Power around the same time.
On March 20, 1909, the Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson Railway was chartered and presided over by Duke. The company used the Anderson Traction Company rails terminating at Belton as a starting point for northward construction to Greenville and construction toward Greenwood to the south, with both cities connected on November 1912. An extension from Greenville to Spartanburg was completed in April 1914. The North Carolina division started with the Piedmont Traction Company, also owned by Duke, and completed its route between Charlotte and Gastonia, North Carolina on July 3, 1912.
Both sections were electrified to 1,500 volts DC with power supplied from mainly hydroelectric sources. Additionally both segments were built to steam road standards with minimal street running.
The Piedmont & Northern was created in 1914 to consolidate both the Greenville, Spartanburg & Anderson in South Carolina and the Piedmont Traction Company in North Carolina. In 1916 the railroad completed a 3-mile (4.8 km) spur to Belmont, North Carolina. On numerous occasions the company sought to link the two disconnected segments and expand to Durham, North Carolina, however, the plans never materialized due to stiff resistance from the Southern Railway, which the P&N paralleled in both states.
Although many railroads were hostile to the Piedmont & Northern, a friend was found with the Seaboard Air Line, which connected with the P&N at Charlotte and Greenwood. Throughout its existence the P&N stressed interchange traffic over its efficient electric lines, and with good reason: the railroad shared numerous interchanges with several major railroads.
The P&N's network in 1964 was connected to the Clinchfield Railroad (CRR), Carolina and North Western Railroad (C&NW), Georgia and Florida Railroad (G&F), Norfolk Southern (NS), Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL), Southern Railway (SOU), Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL), Greenville and Northern Railroad (G&N), Charleston and Western Carolina (C&WC) and Ware Shoals Railroad.
Though owned by Duke Power, the P&N operated coal trains over a branch from Mount Holly, NC, to Terrell, NC, supplying Duke Power's Lake Norman power plants.
North Carolina Division
0.0 Mount Holly
13.5 North Belmont
0.0 North Belmont
3.1 Belmont - Interchange: Southern
16.5 McAdenville Junction
23.4 Gastonia - Interchange: Southern, C&NW Piggyback ramp
South Carolina Division
0.0 Spartanburg - Interchange: ACL, Southern, Clinchfield, C&WC Piggyback ramp
3.9 Saxon (Camp Wadsworth?)
10.2 Startex - Interchange: Southern
12.0 Lyman - Interchange: Southern
18.3 Greer - Interchange: Southern
23.1 Taylors - Interchange: Southern
27.1 Paris (Hampton Heights?)
33.5 Greenville (River Junction) - Interchange: ACL, G&N, Southern, C&WC Piggyback ramp
36.5 White Horse
43.7 Piedmont - Interchange: Southern
48.4 Pelzer - Interchange: Southern
50.5 Williamston - Interchange: Southern
58.0 Belton - Interchange: Southern, C&NW
0.0 Belton - Interchange: Southern, C&NW
11.6 Anderson - Interchange: C&NW, ACL, C&WC
65.8 Honea Path - Interchange: Southern
74.3 Shoals Junction - Interchange: Southern, Ware Shoals RR
83.9 Downs - Interchange: Southern
88.9 Greenwood - Interchange: ACL, G&F, SAL, Southern, C&WC Piggyback ramp
Plans to connect the North and South Carolina divisions between Spartanburg, SC and Gastonia, NC, and to expand northwards towards Winston-Salem, NC, were successfully blocked by appeals by the Southern Railway and other entities in court cases in the 1930s, specifically PIEDMONT & N. RY. CO. v. UNITED STATES, 280 U.S. 469 (1930) and PIEDMONT & N R. CO. v. INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, 286 U.S. 299 (1932).
The P&N, though involved heavily in passenger operations, was primarily a heavy freight carrier. The most important commodity transported was coal and coke, but also of significance were cotton (including cotton waste) and paper.
Statement of Car Loads of Freight Handled (in Carloads) - Years 1955 and 1954
Commodity: Grain and Grain Products
Commodity: Packing House Products
Commodity: Fruits and Vegetables
Commodity: Coal and Coke
Commodity: Building Materials
Commodity: Cotton and Wastes
Commodity: Textile Products
Commodity: Sand and Stone
Commodity: Oil and Gasoline
Commodity: Fertilizer and Fertilizer Products
Commodity: Paper and Paper Products
Commodity: Clay and Fullers Earth
Commodity: Iron and Steel Articles
Commodity: Forest Products
(Data from P&N 1955 Annual Report)
Piedmont and Northern Electric Locomotives
Piedmont and Northern Diesel Locomotives
Piedmont and Northern City & Interurban Cars
Disposition of rolling stock
Some of the electric locomotives were shipped to South America, the rest were scrapped. The diesels were taken over by the Seaboard Coast Line in 1969 after that railroad took over the P&N; of them, all have been scrapped except for one S-4 surviving in the US on the Laurinburg and Southern, and four that were sent to Venezuela.
The interurban No. 2102, Office Car "Carolina" (formerly Saluda) and Caboose x-23 are preserved and on display to the public at the Railroad Historical Center in Greenwood, SC.
Only four of the stations built for the P&N, designed by Charles Christian Hook are still in existence today in North Carolina.
The Thrift depot in the Paw Creek community in Charlotte, NC is the only remaining P&N station in Mecklenburg County, NC; it is presently for sale.
In Gaston County, several structures are still standing. The depot in Mount Holly, North Carolina is still standing and is used as a hair salon. The former P&N depot in Belmont, NC has been restored and was a P&N museum until 2004, when the lease ran out and was not given extension by the owner. The former P&N station in Gastonia, NC, burned down in 1995. Lastly, the small depot of McAdenville, NC is still standing, though it has been relocated from its previous location.
In South Carolina, at least five stations are still standing: Donalds, Hodges, Greer, Piedmont and Anderson. The abandoned depot at Pelzer burned on the night on January 26, 2011.
In Piedmont, SC, the building is still standing, and appears to be in use as a storage shed in reasonable condition.
Nothing remains of the P&N in Honea Path, SC, apart from power poles still standing, delineating the former right-of-way.
The station at Taylors, SC was still standing in 1987. Though it is now gone, a former substation - including some overhead poles of the P&N line - can still be found near the CSX's Enoree River viaduct.
Some of the P&N's former lines are still in existence, with limited amounts still in operation. The track from Pelzer, SC to Spartanburg, SC is the CSX's Belton Subdivision. The segment from Pelzer to Belton was taken over by the Greenville and Western Railway in 2006. The track from Mt. Holly, NC to Gastonia, NC and from Mount Holly to Belmont, NC is still in place. Initially the track belonged to CSX; it is now owned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which awarded a contract in May 2010 to Patriot Rail Corporation to restore the track and operate trains along the 12 miles (19 km) line.
The former P&N RR Charlotte terminal freight depot was in the Mint/Graham/Second (MLK) St /Third St block, while the Charlotte terminal passenger depot was in the Mint/Graham/Third St/Fourth St block in Charlotte. BB&T Ballpark now sits on the former depot site.
Piedmont and Northern Railway Overview
Reporting mark: PN
Locale: Upstate South Carolina, Western North Carolina
Dates of operation: 1911–1969
Predecessor: Piedmont Traction Company, Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson Railway
Successor: Seaboard Coast Line
Track gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification: 1500 volts DC (until 1954)
Length: 128 miles (206 km)
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina
Piedmont and Northern ALCO RS-3 No. 1607, ca. 1962.
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Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.