Rail Damage Due to Floods

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Oct 072015

Just a couple of photos of the damage to the rails in South Carolina as a result of the rain and flooding. This would certainly make using the lines problematic. Of course fixing the damage is also difficult as the waters continue to rise even now and the ground is saturated.

Rail Damage in South Carolina

We did not take these photos, and we are trying to find out exactly where these tracks are and what line they belong to.

Rail Damage in South Carolina 2

These photos originally appeared on the Google+ thread of photographer Phillip Guyton, from Florence, South Carolina.

Talk of Coast to Update Passenger Rail Route

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Oct 052015

According to the Post & Courier, the success of the State Ports Authority’s Inland Port has a group in the Upstate thinking about using the Charleston-to-Greer rail route for passenger service.

The South Carolina Passenger Rail Consortium is floating the idea of having twice-daily passenger service between the two cities, according to a report last week in The Greenville News.

Norfolk Southern passenger train

A vintage Norfolk Southern passenger train arrives at the State Ports Authority’s Inland Port near Greer in early 2014 as part of a special event.

“We believe we can fill the coaches with vacationers and business travelers,” Frank Ezell, founder of the consortium, told the newspaper.

Palmetto Railway Wins Shortline Award

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Mar 082015

Palmetto Railways today announced it has been selected as the 2015 Short Line Railroad of the Year by Railway Age magazine.

Palmetto Railway

The national competition is held annually and recognizes outstanding achievement in any of the following areas – innovation in operation or maintenance, turnaround situations, consistent excellence, customer service, enhanced productivity, community relations, safety improvement, ingenuity and dealing with the unexpected.

“Short line and regional railroads are not just benefiting from the quickening economic recovery; they’re helping to drive that recovery,” says Railway Age Publisher Jonathan Chalon. “The business opportunities and obstacles, be they in terms of reach or of geography or product movement, may differ. But the entrepreneurial spirit of the two winners affects and assists customers large or small, making efficient business, and business growth, possible with the most efficient surface transportation mode: rail.”

“This is a tremendous recognition for our entire team at Palmetto Railways,” said Jeff McWhorter, president and CEO of Palmetto Railways. “At Palmetto Railways we understand that our success is inextricably linked to providing the customer outstanding service. Our team strives to continuously exceed customer expectations.

“As a strong proponent of economic development in South Carolina, we continually seek ways to provide cost-effective rail solutions and efficient freight movement in order to promote and bolster the local, regional and statewide economy,” McWhorter said.

Palmetto Railways is a short-line railroad company based in Charleston that not only serves the state port facilities, but also serves a number of other companies that include BP Chemicals, Nucor, MeadWestvaco, Santee Cooper, Norfolk Southern and CSX. It also provides technical assistance and consulting services in railroad matters to state, local and municipal governments.

Railway Age is the transportation industry’s oldest trade magazine. The monthly magazine is circulated at the management levels of North America freight and passenger railroads. Emphasis is placed on technology, operations, strategic planning, marketing, and other issues such as legislative and labor/management developments of interest to railway management, railway suppliers, and consultants.

“Our state’s logistics infrastructure is an essential part of industrial recruitment and business growth, and South Carolina has a distinct advantage in that regard with Palmetto Railways,” said Secretary Bobby Hitt of the South Carolina Department of Commerce, of which Palmetto Railways is a division. “Through their efficient short-line service and with the future intermodal container facility, Palmetto Railways is truly keeping business on track.”

“Palmetto Railways is an important partner for the S.C. Ports Authority in the movement of freight via our terminal,” said Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. “We are proud of what they have accomplished with this recognition, which we think is well-deserved.”

New Group Forms to Promote Trolley Transit

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Dec 262014

Trolley Chs 1900'sAn advocacy group, Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, announced its founding on Dec. 17, 2014, in part to pursue rail transit options. The group is an offshoot of another group, Hungryneck Straphangers, which has existed for five years.

Both groups plan to work to persuade Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA), the regional public transit authority, to consider the idea.

While Charleston used to have streetcar service in the first part of the last century, service in ended in February 1938 and was replaced by buses.

Continue reading »

New Novel Involving Early Charleston Railroads

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Dec 182014

In the Shadow of the SongbirdBen Pogue, member of the Charleston chapter of the National Railway Historical Society and former IBMer, has written a novel that takes place in the early days of railroads in Charleston, South Carolina. In the Shadow of the Songbird is especially significant for rail fans because it takes place during the time of the creation of the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company and the Best Friend of Charleston figures prominently.
In the Shadow of the Songbird Cover

Quoting from the press copy of In the Shadow of the Songbird:

In 1828, many merchants in Charleston believed the economic doldrums could likely be improved by a new technology on the horizon. Horace Pickens, a wealthy slave-holding merchant, heavily invests in a railroad being built to the West. An “abominable” tariff passed by the U.S. Congress, designed to protect industry and foster internal improvements, provokes the South Carolina delegation. They work against the Federal Government providing funds to the railroad, fearing that states accepting money will become subject to the will of Congress, and therefore vulnerable to other initiatives, namely the abolition of the “Peculiar Institution”. There is a movement to nullify the actions of Congress. As the railroad becomes his obsession, Horace sees “nullification”, and its underlying cause, as it’s biggest threat.

Unbeknown to him, his daughter Dora, gets a glimpse of torture, and the human agony in a fleeing slave mother and child. She resolves to undermine slavery by assisting slaves in their escape to freedom, enlisting her reluctant maid’s and her new love’s support. Horace does not approve of her beau or her emancipation ideas. A fierce conflict between them emerges. Faced with the loss of his daughter’s respect, business profits threatened by politics, and the destruction of his personal property by those that disagree with him, Horace Pickens fears the issue of nullification will ultimately destroy his railroad investment, and tear apart his most prized relationship with his daughter, Dora, as the railroad builds it’s way toward Georgia.

Ben Pogue lives on Daniel Island, South Carolina. He retired from IBM as a marketing executive, but has been a storyteller and a “Story writer” all of his life. Ben graduated from Bucknell University with a major in psychology, and with the wisdom of hindsight, realized he should have majored in history and writing. Service as a lieutenant in the US Army, with a year in Korea during the Vietnam War shifted his focus, but he never stopped writing. Ben’s second book, another historical novel is well underway.

In the Shadow of the Songbird can be ordered now from Amazon.com.


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