Southern Railway SB Line

Also known as: Norfolk Southern Railway SB Line
A one time through line from Marion, NC to Kingville, SC. Segments still are in service while others are abandoned and left in place or taken up entirely.

Photos 

Southern Railway SB Line

Norfolk Southern local crew spots a car in Kings Creek on a section of the SB Line that no longer exists in Kings Creek, SC.

Photo taken by Joseph Hinson

View this photo on Flickr

Description 

The oldest section of what later became the Southern Railway SB line lies in South Carolina between Camden and Wateree. Construction began in 1848 as the Camden Branch of the South Carolina Railroad. In 1854 the Wilmington & Manchester (later the Wilmington, Columbia & Augusta) joined it with a wye at Wateree Junction where the SCRR curved west to cross the Wateree River. Southern took over this line sometime in the 1870s.

This rest of the line was built from Marion, NC, to Camden, SC, between 1886 and 1889 by the Charleston, Cincinnati and Chicago Railroad (the Triple C). The Triple C was formed to build a connection from the Ohio River at Cincinnati to the Atlantic Ocean. The intention was for the line to extend from Camden through Sumter to Charleston. In 1890, a major investor in the railroad failed and the road went into receivership. In 1893, the Triple C was sold and became the Ohio River & Charleston Railroad. A few years later, that company was still waging a financial struggle and sold the Marion to Camden part of their system to the the Southern Railway.

(Only one section of the Ohio River & Charleston remained in the company's hands, from Johnson City, TN down into North Carolina. This segment soon became part of the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio (the Clinchfield, and this entire line is still operated by CSX. In a twist, the Clinchfield later wanted to purchase the SB line from the Southern to reach Charleston, but a deal was never made. The CRR later formed an alliance with the Atlantic Coast Line to finally reach the coast.)

Southern (and later Norfolk-Southern) began to abandon segments of this line in the 1980s. The first cut was from Camden and Westville (16 miles) around 1980. Later, the track was also ripped up from Westville to the Lancaster/Kershaw county line when a logging operation shut down. Loads of logs had been going from Westville to the Bowater plant in Catawba. The section between York and Kings Creek (18.3 miles) was then abandoned in the mid-80s and later from York to Tirzah (4.7 miles). As for the old Camden Branch, the segment from Hasskamp to Camden (14 miles) was abandoned in the late 1980s, and the section from Foxville to Wateree was abandoned in the mid-1990s.

In 2001, Norfolk Southern leased the segment from Catawba to Kershaw to the L&C Railway and later sold it outright. In 2011, the line from Blacksburg to Kings Creek was leased to Carolina Coastal.

Update Log 

  • February 8, 2013: Added by Joseph Hinson

Sources