ACL/SAL ATLANTIC COAST LINE/SEABOARD AIR LINE IN AND AROUND CHARLESTON, SC

Discussion in 'Fallen Flags' started by SCRS, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. SCRS

    SCRS TrainBoard Member

    03 JAN 2009

    For a number of years now, I wanted to pass on to others a lot of information (memories), which I know about the Atlantic Coast Line and Seaboard Air Line (as well as the Southern) railroads in the Charleston, SC area.

    During the time period between 1942 to 1945 (WW II), I was fortunate that my family lived there and I was able to see and witness many of the train movements, troop trains and some of the operations of the Charleston Union Station and the ACL's North Station.

    Those WWII railroading years are mostly in written history now and the few people still living who had a real interest in the Charleston railroads are fading away.

    I myself just had my 72th birthday (born in 1937) and in time my memories - not passed on will also disappear.

    My family lived there again between the years of 1950 and 1953 (Korean War). I was able to move about more freely as I was now in my early teen years.

    I could ride my bike around the North Charleston / Charleston Heights area and take the SCE&G transit bus into Charleston. There I walked around where the Union Station had been located on Columbus at East Bay streets (burned in 1947), the Cooper yards, the East Bay area docks, warehouses and check out the rail sidings to their end. Some of these sidings stubbed out next to Meeting street.

    The Seaboard Air line was a through line that crossed over the peninsula from the Cooper River side to where it crossed the Ashley River. Between the rivers, its line crossed over the ACL and Southern tracks. Those very long freights blocked vehicle traffic from river to river.

    I was also assigned to Charleston Air Force Base for two periods of time - 1959 to 1950 and again from 1971 to 1975. Besides still checking out the Charleston area rails, I also begin to get involved in the military railroad on base when possible.

    One morning on the way in to work (1959 - 1960), I was at the right place at the right time. A Southern Railway troop train had backed into the base during the night. I never saw another troop train on Charleston Air Base again.

    During the 1971-1975 period, on my off duty days and on lunch brakes from my regular job I was able to train and receive my license as a locomotive engineer on military railroads.

    Perhaps someone here on the forum also has information (memories) of the Charleston area they would also share.

    Others may wish to ask questions, which I and others could answer. I know the ACL / SAL Historical Society has a lot of the information on file, however I lived during those time periods when a lot of that information was written.

    Larry @ SCRS
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2010
  2. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

    I was born in Charleston in 1966 and lived there until heading off to college in 1984. I lived in Hanahan, which was between the ACL and SAL (now the CSX A-line/Charleston Sub and S-line/Andrews Sub). Most of the ACL/SAL historical stuff was all gone by the time I started riding Amtrak several times a year from Charleston to New York (the AMTK versions of the Silver Star, Silver Meteor, and others). I can certainly recall all of those rail lines, except I believe the SAL bridge over the Ashley River was long gone before I came around. I do remember the tracks crossing Folly Road right near the old theaters there and remember getting stopped by trains going to/from Folly Beach; I guess there were still some businesses served between Folly Road and the river back then. I can also still remember crossing what seemed like a zillion tracks between Hanahan and the navy base where the SCL and SOU crossed and mingled over by the Westvaco paper mill. And I also remember the smell of that mill almost every day growing up! Those were the days. Jamie
     
  3. SCRS

    SCRS TrainBoard Member

    04 January 2009

    CSXDixieLine.

    During my 1950 and 1953 years in Charleston Heights, the current CSX Andrews sub line / former SAL line east bound into Charleston was one of my favorite places to watch the Seaboard trains.

    While my family was living in Waylyn and Dorchester Terrace, our homes were close enough that I could ride my bike over to the SAL track just outside the Navel Base.

    I liked to be at the Reynolds Avenue crossing where I could really get a good view of the trains. As they came into sight along the side of Spruill Avenue, the engineer would begin to blow the horn for the many crossings in the next mile.

    Many times there would be six units pulling the freight into Charleston while slowing for the speed restrictions through the area, it would take a while for the train to clear. That was railfaning from the seat of a bike.

    When time provided, I would ride my bike up to the old town of North Charleston and watch the trains at the Montague crossing, also where the SAL crossed the ACL spur to the paper mill and other river side ports. I especially liked to watch them cross over the only trestle, over a street in the Charleston area.

    The back of our Waylyn (Ranger Drive) home was next to the ACL industrial track and the Southern and ACL main lines.

    From here, I could see the Southern's Carolina Special and the ACL freights in and out of the City of Charleston. At that time, both roads still had some steam operations.

    The Folly Road tracks were the ACL's from the John's Island station and junction with the ACL's main line, to the side of Ashley River (now where the California Dreaming Rest. is located) - across the river from the City of Charleston.

    This was the original main line between Charleston and Savannah. I also was able to see a few train there at the Folly Road crossing, however I saw more of the ACL trains near Dupont Crossing where the ACL and the SAL lines crossed (WWII period).

    I was able to see only a few SAL trains crossing their Ashley River bridge, however I did see them passing by Hampton Park and the SAL station. I was able to see the SAL's Boil Weevil on occasions.

    The SAL at one time operated a commuter service from North Charleston to about the Dupont Crossing area west of the Ashley. The only Ashley River road bridge had been hit by a ship and was out of commission for a number of months. At that time, the only other bridge was up at Summerville.

    Nope. I did not get to ride the short lived 'Boil Weevil' as my family just moved to Augusta, Georgia.

    Larry @ SCRS
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2010
  4. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

    As mentioned in previous sessions, my childhood home was located right up against the ACL's Croghan branch and just two blocks down Wappoo Road where the SAL's Charleston to Savannah main line crossed Wappoo, then within 100 feet passed over U.S. 17.

    Looking down the ACL line, I could see (and hear) Seaboard's mainline trains roar across that trackwork.

    My first real close up look at trains was when the ACL would send variously a 4-6-0 "Copperhead", or from Bennet's Yard, an 0-6-0 to pick up ventilators or reefers from the various packing sheds located along this 9 mile branch. Located within a mile of my house were a grist mill (~2-3 car siding), the box making shed (again, a short 3-4 cars siding), and at Harrison's farm, again a short 3-4 cars siding.

    Further down the branch was another short siding in the area of Ravenel's farm, which I believe served to off-load a lot of box cars of lumber. If memory serves me right, which is getting more doubtful, also in this general area was a short (~10 car lengths) passing siding. There was another short siding at Keating Insulation and down at the end of the branch, Concrete Products had long had a siding and in the '50-'60s, Nabisco and Prestress
    Concrete also had sidings.

    Service was typically handled by two of ACL's purple and silver GP-7's with a handful of cars and always one of their cabooses. Later of course, the purple & silver was replaced by the "black maria" GP-7's. At least once I saw a purple & silver "butt-head" and on a 63 car train of hoppers - two GP-7's and an FP-7.

    Toward the final days of the branch, GE's U-18B's were often the power, sometimes mixed with the GP-7's.

    Well, this is getting to be quite an epistle and I reckon it's time to sign off. In a later posting, I'll continue with my favorite prototype - the SAL.
     
  5. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

    Wow all kinds of memories are popping back to life after reading these posts! First off, I was a map nut when I was a kid, and later I did a minor in geography at USC in Columbia. When I was in first grade, I did a school project where I basically drew a street map for every road, river and railroad in the tri-county area (using a road atlas as my source). Too bad this self motivation did not carry over to the high school and college years :) Anyhow, because of this interest, I knew just about every inch of the Charleston area by the time I was about 6 years old. But as siad before, when I came into the world, the SCL was just starting out so I missed all of the fun stuff you guys are talking about. It's almost like y'all are filling in the blanks of places I never got to see.

    I do certainly know about bicycle railfanning, however. My friends and I would often ride from our houses by the high school in Hanahan over the the doubletrack SCL grade crossing at Remount Road. In fact, sitting here at my laptop in Atlanta some 30+ years later, I can still picture clear as day hanging out at that road crossing looking south towards Charleston and seeing the two 3-headed signal masts that I know know must protect the (now NS) crossing cutting over towards Westvaco down by the Mark Clark Expressway. Right by the old Port Drive-In movie, which could be an entirely different non-railroad topic for another day! Numerous pennies were flattened without regards for safety in those days; now I would have a heart attack imagining my kids tooling off on their bikes all day for a jaunt over to Rivers Avenue (and beyond).

    I suppose really the only memory I have of the actual SAL line back in those days was picking blackberries by the five-gallon bucketfull, again at Remount Road over by the paper mill. This year while railfanning the CSX in north Georgia, I looked down and there were huge blackberries growing at my feet--the first time I had picked berries since back in the 70's along those tracks. Also I believe my brother and friends had to jump off of the SAL trstle over goose creek as part of initiation onto the Hanahan High varsity football team. Wow--a whole other era.

    Sorry for rambling. I really enjoy these posts about the SAL around the ol' hometown.

    Jamie
     
  6. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

    Well Jamie, thanks for the lead in on the Seaboard.

    The Seaboard Air Line was my favorite railroad from the time I could differentiate between the SAL and ACL (no aspersions on the ACL - my very close second favourite). However, the comparison between trains on the ACL branch and the mainline activity on the SAL was the difference between night and day.

    Although most of the Seaboard's action was at night, there was quite a variety of extras and 2 or 3 scheduled trains during the day, some running in multiple sections Also, as previously mentioned - the "Boll Weevil." This was strictly an all local stops, "flag it if you need it" passenger train.

    My widowed grandmother would about once a week take my oldest sister and I to visit her sister at the Enston Homes (during the summer). We had a choice of rides, a city bus which cost .10 cents and involved a transfer, or - my favourite, the "Boll Weevil" which unfortunately cost .25 cents. Since my allowance at that time was .50 cents a week, you can guess who "sprung" for the three fares.

    In any case at first my grandmother (and later myself) would take up a position at the ballast line and Wappoo Rd. and when we saw the headlight and heard the horn for the ACL crossing - start waving. Sure enough, there was the "Boll Weevil" almost blocking the Savannah Hwy. (U.S. 17) and definitely blocking Wappoo Rd. while we boarded for our five minute ride to Grove St. station. It was no big deal blocking Wappoo at that time, it probably saw 9 - 10 cars per hour.

    The northbound "Boll Weevil" normally passed DuPont's crossing at 11:30 a.m. From memory, I seem to remember it being mostly on time. However, one summer day, waiting for it to pass, it didn't. About 2:30 p.m. hearing a steam whistle, I went up to the head of my driveway and watched the "Boll Weevil", its' baggage car and coach being hauled north by one of SAL's Q-3 Mikados. Thirty minutes later the southbound "Boll Weevil" passed at it's regular time of 3 - 3:30 p.m.

    Normal power for the "Weevil" was motor cars 2027 and 2028, spelled ocassionally by an s/g equipped GP-7. I never saw an E unit on the "Weevil", 'tho' I know that they did occasionally pull it. Unfortunately, in '52 or '54 (forget which), they took the train off south of Charleston.

    Service of a commuter type was temporarily restored in 1957 when the tanker 'Fort Fetterman' took out the one bridge to Charleston. It backed out to Johns Island early in the morning and ran into Charleston. It was either that or an ~70 mile round-trip. My dad took it every morning during that period to his job at the Post Office. A normal consist was a GP-7 and three coaches.

    Well, again this takes on the dimensions of more than what I meant to write. I'll close for now and be back later with stories of Seaboard's five, sometimes six, hot-shots through DuPont between 9 p.m. and midnight.
     
  7. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

    This stuff is amazing to me! I knew this type of actioan happened back before my time, but to hear it actually told really shines a historical light on that area that I never before knew.

    And speaking of the SAL....

    Today I was looking at some overhead photography of N. Charleston. I see that the CSX Andrews Sub (former SAL mainline) now does a 90 degree turn and crosses Spruill Ave. before joining up with the Charleston Sub just below the Amtrak station. The tracks south of the turn (that used to parallel Spruill) are no longer in place, although the trestle over the creek just south of there seems to still exist.

    My question is this: when did that re-routing of that track occur? I jumped into the "way back machine" and I seem to recall that when I grew up in the 1970s there was a 90 degree crossing at that spot between the SCL mainline and some branch heading over towards the Navy base or the Hess terminal, but I do not think there was a way to get from one track to the other. In fact, I seem to remember a gate with a Stop sign across that branch almost always. Now I recall we got cable TV in 1979 (a big day in the Schatte house!), and the office for Storer Cable was on Spruill right by that junction (may still be there). I seem to remember the track being realigned around that time, but if that did not happen until 1979 or later, I can't imagine how trains going down the SCL Andrews Sub would have got over to the Charleston Sub (or whatever they wre called when SCL was around). Would be cool if anyone can fill in that blank in my memory, although I am sure it will be replaced by several more blanks by morning :)

    Jamie
     
  8. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

    I can't say for certain when that tie-in between the ACL and SAL occurred, my best guess would be post-1967. If I remember correctly, one of the interchanges between the old SAL and the North Charleston Terminal Co. (joint ACL/SOU track) was at Tuxbury, just a little short of the 5 Mile viaduct.

    Just south of this point, the SAL made a large loop to the left into the marshes of the Cooper River. Running in the marsh, the tracks curved back to the right and hit dry land right around the Coolblow/Romney street area. Still on gentle loop the line crossed Morrison Dr./East Bay extension, then Rutledge Avenue and finally King Street running down the center of Grove St. as it crossed King.

    The line then ran along the north edge of the Citadel and had a straight running from the east bank of the Ashley to the first Stono River bridge. There were two towers protecting where the SAL crossed the ACL line downtown (it had a name, darned if I can remember it) and another at the Southern, just east of where I-26 is today. That was called Bay tower as I recall.

    If you can find the issues of "Trains" magazines from the early 60's concerning the fastest freights in the world, you'll find reference to Seaboards TT-23. This all piggy-back/auto-rack train was the world's fastest freight for 4 or 5 of those years. This was one of Seaboard's fleet of fast freights that moved trough Charleston every night between 9 p.m. and mid-night.

    One of the things I found quite noticeable about TT-23, was that prior to SAL's acquisition of the GP-30's/SDP-35's, this train often ran with a straight consist of passenger units (to the best of my knowledge always E-7 A and B's). Often however, it would run with a consist of freight and passenger power.

    Other fast freights were #280, #86, #75 and #175. In a 2 - 3 hour period, these five freights crossed U.S. 17. And, apparently (especially northbound) these trains ran in sections or maybe, just to give the dispatcher a fit, they would tread a few extra trains through at the same time.

    And, in Seaboard's best tradition of "couple up the ready track", the power on these trains could be any combination of power available. Almost always EMD, but every now and again Alco's would make their way north of Savannah. It was not unusual for a consist of 5 or 6 engines to have 4 or 5 different models of diesels.

    While not as impressive as Pennsy's 4 track main, the Seaboard's Charleston -Savannah main (the East Carolina or "EC) showed what a single track main line manned by good crews and a dispatcher could accomplish.
     
  9. SCRS

    SCRS TrainBoard Member

    7 Jan 2009

    The 90 degree connector from the old SAL to the old ACL was made at the old crossover at a time also unknown to me. The connection now provides access to the old ACL main just east of the old ACL North Passenger Station, before the west leg of the wye and after the track crossed Rivers Avenue and Meeting Street Road Ext.(just east of the seven mile viaduct).

    This track was ACL’s primary access (and now CSX’s) to the paper mill, US Army’s Port of Embarkation and all those other areas on the upper part of the Cooper River. In the early days, those trains blocked a lot of road traffic.

    Rivers Avenue (then) was the prime road artery – east and west in and out of Charleston (no I-26 and Dorchester Road was a single lane dirt highway). Those long trains would also (at times) block Spruill Avenue. They moved trains day and night over that track. I can still remember seeing the red flares at the crossing.

    This track became unused for a number of years when in later years (about 1973-74), the Family Lines and Southern built a connector track between the double track main and Southern’s track to the paper mill, US Army’s Port of Embarkation and all those other areas on the upper part of the Cooper River. This eliminated the traffic blocks at Rivers Avenue.

    This connector was west of the new Charleston Passenger Station, just east of Remount Road. The Amtrak’s Silver Star was routed over this track one time in 1975. This connector must have been removed since CSX has connected the old SAL and the old ACL tracks.

    Before and during WWII (later all trains), the ACL would have passenger trains arriving and departing from the Union Station and the North Station. My family took the train to Savannah (and returned) from the North Station. In Savannah, we changed to the Central of Georgia and continued to Griffin.

    This is getting long, so more later.

    Larry at SCRS
     
  10. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

    The local paper has been running a series of disconnected but interesting stories on the "Carolina Special" (a.k.a. "Carolina Creeper" - especially from Charleston to Columbia). Mostly the stories seem to be about the experience of those who (in days of yore) used this train as a conveyance to summer camp in the highlands of North Carolina.

    My exposure to railroading in North Charleston came mostly after 1964. Of course, before 1957-58, a trip to North Charleston was fairly involved and took about an hour from where I lived. Southern Rwy. was mostly an enigma to me in my early days, save what I read in the pages of 'Railroad Magazine.' Easy access to North Charleston gave me exposure to my third favorite railroad, the Southern.

    By the time I got oriented (and took a job in the North Area), the "Creeper" was no more.

    I did have some familiarity with Southern though when I rode the city bus. One of the bus stops I often used was on Spring Street, directly in sight of the Southern roundhouse. Normally there would be three to four engines of various types sitting in the house or the leads thereto. And, if memory serves me correctly, Southern had a small yard that stretched up north of Line St. I remember that, because whenever a banana boat was in town, that was where the Southern would apparently gather the loaded reefers.

    Southern also impressed me when they started running what amounted to unit grain trains for export through the port of Charleston. Back then I don't think anyone had used the term unit train, but that was in effect what they were. Except for the first one I saw (which had an apparently "hot" Cotton Belt box car) right behind the power, they were otherwise all covered hoppers, mostly "Big Johns."

    Southern in South Carolina was almost excusively ALCO power for freights, but these grain trains came in behind 5 or 6 F-units of various models. This was my first exposure to EMD freight units, tho' E and FP units were frequently found at the roundhouse.

    Southern also gave me my last ride in an engine cab. The plant I worked at was switched by both ACL and Southern. One day I was trying to get a car we really needed and I was at the siding when the car with a GP-38 pulling it arrived. I remarked to the foreman, "see you'all got some new power." He told me to get up in the cab and be seated.

    I rode in that cab some 20+ minutes while the new car was spotted. It was my first exposure to a GP-38. Until that time, Southern always used ALCO S and RS power to switch in the Charleston area.

    So I do have some fond memories of the "old" Southern, just not as many as with the ACL and SAL.
     
  11. falcon468

    falcon468 TrainBoard Member

    First Post-ACL/SAL West of the Ashley

    I was very happy when I stumbled into this, so happy in fact that I joined such that I could participate. I too grew up in Charleston and as of this date, I am 56 , and live in Columbia. When I was six, my parents and I moved to a new West of the Ashley neighborhood known as Rotherwood Estates. The neighborhood shared a border with the ACL rail line that ran from Albemarle Point to Jericho (Johns Island), SC, crossing the Folly Rd. and following Hwy. 17 to the south. I always lived West of the Ashley before attending USC.

    At the time, my grandfather worked for the ACL and my father was employed in the transportation division of the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company. My grandfather's career with the ACL was lenghty and included a stint in the 1920's as the President of the Brotherhood of Local Trainmen, which took him to Cleveland, OH. He reired in the late 60's. In his last years with the ACL, he was the conductor of the Croughan route of the ACL, better described above and mentioned in this thread. This route left Albemarle Point and headed south through Byrnes Down, Coburg, the Ravenel farm, Harrison acres (a row farm then), Rotherwood, Air Harbor and on south. Upon moving to our new house, we often went down to the tracks and would wave to him as the train passed by (we also put rocks on the tracks). When he had glaucoma, my mom even put in his eye drops for him as the train was working the siding at Wappoo Rd.

    As a young boy, I would ride my new red Columbia bike up to the drug store or the Piggly Wiggly located at DuPont Crossing. Here, I often saw the SAL freight trains being led by high hp GP units with a long string of Fruit Grower Express boxcars headed north. This train would leave DuPont crossing and pass through Hwy 61/161 on its way to the Citadel via the Ashley River RR bridge. It would then cross Rutledhe Ave. as it turned north for the run to North Charleston, crossing at the NCHS.

    Along the way I was introduced to a man named Sam Appleby, a noted SAL historian, who often visited with my dad (he brought his family as well). On these visits, we always ended up at the ACL station then known as old North station (Mr. Giles, stationmaster) and the new North station (Mr. Drose, stationmaster), now Amtrak. These stations were located at the Hwy 52 viaduct and behind the then Flamingo Drive-In. We watched many a movie while waiting on the various trains that we went to see. Many a day, evening, night, hot or cold found us up at the station. Usually, we were there to see the passenger trains. I can still remember the sloping front of the EMD E6 as it glided into the station with its bell ringing and Mars light shifting all over the place. It was here that I was taught how to read "the boards" (signals) that heralded the arrival of the noth or south bound trains (this followed by the loudspeaker announcement). Sam Appleby died in April 2007; however, most of his work is in the hands of David Salter.

    Anyhow, I have some pictures of these outings (if my wife has not tossed them) as well as my fathers notes. One thing that I know I have though are memories of spending quality time with my dad and being around good people. I would love to answer any questions if I could. Thanks.
     
  12. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

    Welcome Falcon 468.

    I well remember when they first began building Rotherood Estates. I believe that this was about 1955 - 56. Before that time my chums and I spent a lot of time hunting in the woods and fields west of Betsy Rd. behind the old Pinckney farmhouse.

    After Rotherwood was built we had to move our hunting and fishing activities somewhat to the west. I have fond memories of Mr. Arthur Ravenel, Sr. who allowed us to us his dock on our fishing "expeditions."

    I don't remember meeting any of the crews working the Croghan's branch, tho' I'm fairly certain I helped saved a flagman's job (or at least time off without pay) on one of the crews.

    Was sitting in my parent's front room watching tv one summer morning. This tv was just in front of the front window which happened to look out to where the branch crossed Wappoo. As per usual, the train stopped, the rear flag hopped off, went to the roadway and began waving a fair-sized red flag.

    When the engine blew his horn and started to shove the caboose across Wappoo I heard this horrendous screeching of auto brakes and watched as a red and white Cadillac tried to brake and at the last moment, threw his car to the left and ended up in our front ditch.

    Well of course I watched this from our property as first the police and then a wrecker arrived. That Cadillac ended up with it's rear end up in the air at about a 45 degree angle.
    The guy landed right where the 4 ft. ditch along the rr dumped into the 6 ft. ditch that ran in front of our house.

    While no voices were raised, from the gesticulations of driver and flagman it was obvious that they had words with each other. Since I knew what had happened I figured it would be obvious to others as well and after that day, pretty well forgot the accident.

    A few weeks later, when I got home from work, my mother gave me the business card of an ACL official. Since it was kind of late I decided to call him the next day. Before I could call, the ACL guy was at our front door the next morning.

    He told me that the driver had filed suit against the ACL claiming there was no flag, no horn. I just told him what I had seen and that I had seen it from 100 ft. away, I didn't understand why the driver hadn't also. He asked if I was willing to give an affadavit and I replied in the affirmative. After he thanked me and got ready to leave, he said "hopefully since we have the only eye-witness, the guy'll drop his case."

    Later, I found out that the guy (who lived 3 blocks south of us on Wappoo) had dropped the suit.

    Except for waving and watching the crews pick-up and set-out cars, that's as close as I ever came to atually talking to any one on those crews.
     
  13. falcon468

    falcon468 TrainBoard Member

    We moved into Rotherwood in 1958 so that I could attend Stono Park. Our house was new and was built by Wibur Varn. My street, Cross Street, was still a dirt road. We played in the woods that were behind us all the way over to Betsy Road. The only other homes in that area were up by the Indigo plantation house and the Linebach residence, all on the water. There was a black farmer up there named Gus who we ran into quite often. I often recall seeing the black and yellow ACL locomotives on the line but everything was so common then that I never dreamed of a day where I would have to ever try and recall it. I remember that the rail line was well maintained and that we could walk all the way to St. Andrews Center along the right of way.

    My father was a huge rail fan and I remember going downtown one day, somewhere north of Broad Street, perhaps where the downtown water fountain is located, and there was a dock and a boxcar still on fire and burning. That was the day after the big wharf fire. I do not recall the date, only the boxcar, burnt down to the trucks and still smoking. I must have been four. On another occasion, I remember that we were returning from our family vacation to Pennsyvania, where we always caught a GG1 from Lancaster to New York, when my father said we were going to a place named Hamlet NC to see a new train yard. We did that and I remember standing there looking at this huge place while we were in the blazing hot sun. I would give anything to talk to him about this stuff, but he passed away eight years ago. I tried to pass the rail road heritage to my kids but somehow, they do not seem as interested. I like airplanes too. I took a ride in an F-16 out of Shaw with the 79th Fighter Squadron. The plane was tail code 91-468, hence my name falcon468. I like ships as well and stood helm on the USS Fahrion, a guided missle frigate out of Charleston. Both the USAF and Navy trips were as a civilian. I suspect I did not fall to far from the old tree. Transportation and trains are in my blood!

    Many people do not know that the two West Ashley greenways were derived from the former ACL and SAL tracks, and that they were very active in their day. I visit Charleston often, mostly on business, and everytime I pass one, I can still see a live train very visibly etched in my mine.
     
  14. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

    Falcon, I am still trying to get my historical ACL/SAL bearings around Charleston since my parents did not decide to bring me into this world until 1966 :) I was just looking at aerial photography of the West Ashley area last night, and until then I guess I never really understood how everything was laid out. You can clearly see the old roadbed (now bikeways) of both lines. I had always assumed the tracks running across Fiolly Road were the old SAL tracks and that they came into Charleston across the Ashley River at Albermarle Point. I now see that the SAL actually crossed the ACL near what is now the terminus of the Mark Clark and then cut across the West Ashley area and crossed the river just north of The Citadel. This definitely clears up a bunch of questions I had regarding earlier posts in this thread. So, the tracks I saw crossing Folly Road (and others) parallel to US 17 were the ACL branch that went to Albermarle Point--did they ever cross into Charleston here or just serve industries around the point? I can also see where this branch used to split from the mainline, now the CSX Charleston Sub. Funny I also don't remember those old SAL tracks west of the Ashley even though I was over there quite often (although not until the 1970s). Those tracks must have been pulled up before then, or were just abandoned and so overgrown I never even noticed them. There was even a hobby shop on Magnolia Road at Savannah Hwy. I used to go to for my train stuff, and we would have gone across there quite frequently. I learn something new every time a new post comes up on this thread! Jamie
     
  15. falcon468

    falcon468 TrainBoard Member

    CSXDixieLine,

    The ACL tracks dead ended at Albemarle Point after crossing Folly Rd. and did not cross the river. The only two RR bridges were the SAL bridge at the Citadel and, to the north, the ACL bridge which is still used by CSX/Amtrak. This is close to Shadow Moss on Hwy. 61. Everything else in your posts is correct and I feel that you have a good handle on the trackage. The bike greenways should stick out very well. SAL had a fruit shed at DuPont crossing and Wappoo Rd, next to the Presbyterian Church, but for the life of me, I never saw any train operations there.
     
  16. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

    The SCL wasted very little time after their July 1, 1967 merger on ripping up the SAL tracks from Johns Island south to Coosaw, and from DuPont almost to Cooper yard. They left that short segment in, replaced the crossing with a switch so they could continue to serve the packing sheds on Johns Island. After 1967 crews on the Croghan's branch worked to Johns Island as well as Albemarle.

    During most of the year, the packing sheds contributed little traffic to either the ACL or SAL. However, during the tomato harvest (mid-June to mid-July), SAL ran a lot of extras from Cooper yard to service sheds out to Johns Island, and most likely, Meggetts. During tomato season, that shed at DuPont (Limehouse) had a seven car siding that was almost always full of FGEX reefers in ventilator service. I know that service lasted until summer 1966.

    A big contributor to traffic on the ACL's Croghan's branch was cabbage. Harrison's farm had rather large acreage devoted to this crop where the K-Mart, Palmetto Ford, and Harrison Acres now sit. Up until the late 1950's and development of the sub-divisions, etc., ACL hauled a lot of ventilators and reefers from the siding at Harrison's. This was typically late September, early November.

    I'm certain that SAL had the same traffic at Meggett's (as did ACL), but that area was beyond my range at that time.

    Until approximately 1917, ACL maintained pretty full steam facilities at Albemarle Point. This included coaling facilities and a fairly large water tank. I know that until at least 1962-63, there was a small depot there painted in standard ACL colors, although that is the only rr related building I remember - there may have been more.

    And, once upon a time, the ACL did have tracks onto the peninsula. During the War For Southern Independence (mistakenly called by some, the Civil War), the Charleston & Savannah in order to more quickly transfer freight to the Northeastern and South Carolina railroads, built a bridge that landed somewhere in the vicinity of Cannon St.

    I have found fragmentary references to this bridge from several sources, but have never located a photograph or beyond those fragments. From my pursuit of this info I did learn that the bridge was dismantled in 1867, this confirmed from several sources.
     
  17. SCRS

    SCRS TrainBoard Member

    14 Jan 2009

    It was in the summer of 1942, when my family moved into the large two story house
    On the south west corner of Stinson Road (now Drive) and Savannah Hwy.

    Across the road was Dupont Road. Dupont and Stinson Road made a cross road to Savannah Hwy (two lane).

    I was an ‘old’ five year then when we lived in the lower half of the home next to Stinson.
    I was too young to begin the first grade in the fall of 1942 and did not enter the first grade until the fall1943 (at Chicora Grade school).

    Well for a boy who loved trains, we lived in the perfect place. From the time we moved there until about November of 1942, I did not miss many SAL trains passing by (except at night).

    The ACL track was on down Stinson Road and I was not allowed to go there unless some one was with me. However, I could hear the train whistles and at times had some one go with me to the ACL track. Often, we arrived there just in time to see the train pass.

    Seaboard was another matter. Their track was in my back yard and was able to watch them without supervision.

    Yes, I did go with my parents to the Dupont Crossing SAL packing / fruit shed a number of times. One of those times, I was on the platform when a long freight passed by. I had seen these freights from ground level at the Stinson road crossing, however from the platform of that shed, it was a whole new adventure.

    Another time, we were there when three car loads of water mellons

    A couple of side notes (off the SAL / ACL posts): From Stinson Road, we would work our way over to Wappoo Road, then over to the intercoastal water way to fish, that ‘cut’ was an active waterway during the war years (many German subs worked off the Carolina coast).

    Also another note of interest, on Dupont Road there was a home style laundry. Mom took a lot of ‘washing’ to them. They heated the water in large kettles, scrubbed the clothes on wash boards and then hung them up on clothes lines to dry.

    I had seen my grandparents (and parents) do this method of home laundry; however this laundry was a large scale – under shed – operation. There were many kettles, many scrub boards and many outdoor clothes lines and MANY customers.

    This also the time period that Savannah highway (US 17) crossed the ACL main at grade level (near Red Top and John’s Island).

    AS much as I would like to talk about Meggett, Hollywood and the Sea Island rails, I need to stop again. Perhaps next, we can talk about the Charleston Union Station.
     
  18. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

    Larry - Well possibly you walked right in front of the house I was brought home to and grew up. The two story white house, fourth on the left, right where the ACL crossed Wappoo Rd.

    If I remember correctly, mother said she brought me home on the 27th of September 1942.
    That was a great neighborhood to grow up in. Great fishing, small game and bird hunting and exposure to some great railroading.

    In fact, until about the age of 15 I was "ate up" with those three pursuits. Then, the transition to teenage pursuits.

    I imagine the railfanning on my part was really a "leisure activity", it was all around me without me having to put forth any great effort. As a kid with a bike and a cousin as sidekick, we got to see some prime railraoding of just about every kind, save heavy passenger service.

    And, I think my dad may have been a kind of secret railfan. I remember on one Sunday afternoon drive, he stopped our '38 Chevrolet on top of the Hwy. 61 viaduct while an ACL R-1 with passenger train behind passed under the viaduct. Of course we were both out of the car on the south side watching, although he may have been keeping more of an eye out for following traffic. I guess those not familiar with Chatleston before the rampant growth of the 60's and decades since, may not be able to believe my story.

    Then, there were the Sunday drives out two-lane Savannah Hwy. and the almost inevitable trek up the "old" Bees Ferry Road. These drives almost always coincided with the passage of three purple and silver E-units followed by 15-18 almost always, stainless steel cars. That was quite a sight at grade level and speeds probably in excess of 70 mph.

    Well, this tread has called up some excellent memories, some that I had almost forgotten.

    Let's keep this up, even you younger guys. Who knows, one of your memories of the SCL and Southern from the 70's and 80's, may just trigger some more memories from the old guard.
     
  19. CSXDixieLine

    CSXDixieLine Passed Away January 27, 2013 In Memoriam

    And here I am thinking I have lots of good memories from that area because I can recall the day Citadel Mall opened in 1980 :) Seriously though, these posts are HIGHLY educational to me in learning the history of these railroads west of the Ashley. Just today I spent an hour on Google Earth following the SAL line from The Citadel all the way to the Savannah River. Save for a few 1/2 mile or so stretches here and there, the entire old roadbed is crystal clear from above. In fact, The east/north approach to the Ashley River crossing is still in place behind a building at The Citadel and it looks like an obstacle course has been installed on it. At least I think that's what it is--at first I thought it was old bridge supports, but upon closer inspection it appears to be timber walls and other equipment commonly found on an obstacle/excercise course. If so, I wonder if anyone there even knows what that spot used to be? In that regard, it's a bit difficult to track the SAL from The Citadel to where it crossed the ACL on the peninsula, although the diamond crossing (now a simple switch) is fairly obvious. Where exactly was the Grove St. SAL station? Looks like maybe by the baseball park. Also looks like the line went right past or through the site of the old County Hall, where I witnessed numerous real (fake) wrestling matches all through the 1970s. I can even recall going to the zoo at Hampton Park--I think all of the animals were moved over to Charles Towne Landing around the mid-1970s. Wow...time machine. Gotta get some sleep before my mind starts spinning and I am up all night! Jamie
     
  20. Dave Jones

    Dave Jones TrainBoard Supporter

    Jamie - The Seaboard's Ashley River bridge had fairly long fills on both sides of the river, so that extension out into the marsh is definitely the old fill. I have no idea what's there now since I haven't been in that area probably in 30 years.

    The Seaboard line, running down Grove St. crossed King St. just north of the old County Hall. Grove St. station was in fact adjacent north of College Park, the baseball field. If you can ever find a copy of Louise D. Rubin's book, "Tales of the Boll Weevil and Other Trains" (I haven't) get it. In one passage he tells of being in College Park and watching the Boll Weevil arrive.

    Also, back issues of the ACL/SAL Historical Society are available in a two part series describing the old "EC" or East Carolina line of the SAL. There are some very good photos in there of typical trains on the EC.
     

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