— User Comments —
The line was operated by the Green Pond, Walterboro & Branchville Railroad which opened in 1887 and then in, "...1900 merged with the Walterborough & Western Railroad to form the Green Pond, Walterborough & Branchville Railroad. In 1887 the Green Pond, Walterboro and Branchville Railway opened as a short branch, off the main line of the Charleston & Savannah Railway, to Walterboro, South Carolina. Both the GP&W and the C&S were owned and operated by Plant System. The Plant System was a system of railroads and steamboats in the South, taken over by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1902. The original line of the system, named after its owner, Henry B. Plant, was the Savannah, Florida & Western Railway, running across southern Georgia."
I'll try and get some pictures.
We might soon be seeing the neighboring venerable Hampton & Branchville added to these pages. One of the last of the old independent shortlines in SC, it originally served a large Lowcountry lumber operation, and until recently primarily served the coal-fired power plant at Canadys.
SCE&G has announced the Canadys power plant will be taken out of service by the end of the year, so it won't need coal unit trains brought from the CSX mainline at Hampton over the H&B tracks anymore. In fact, some report the power plant already has all the coal needed until shutdown, & the empty hopper cars were already pulled out in January, therefore there are expected to be no more revenue runs on the H&B.
For such a minor little branch line, this road has a wonderfully convoluted history. By 1988 the independent shortline Hampton and Branchville had bought what still remained in service. I'll try to summarize. Sources mostly Carolana & Fetters.
1887 Green Pond, Walterboro, & Branchville branch line open to Walterboro by Plant System off its Charleston-Savannah mainline. Includes Green Pond, Walterboro
1896 Walterboro & Western opened by Plant, basically an extension of GPW&B to Ehrhardt. Walterboro, Stokes, Ruffin, Williams, Colleton(?), Lodge, Ehrhardt.
c. 1899 The Hampton & Branchville crosses and junctions at "H and B Junction" just outside Lodge.
1900 W&W merged into GPW&B, still under Plant.
Ehrhardt, Lodge, Colleton, Williams, Ruffin, Stokes, Walterboro, Green Pond.
1901 GPW&B merged/reorganized into Bamberg, Ehrhardt, & Walterboro RR, still under Plant. Line apparently extended to Bamberg and probably junctioned with the SC & Ga between Charleston and Branchville.
1902 BE&W acquired by ACL as part of the Plant system.
1908 Railway Guide does not indicate any service past Ehrhardt to Bamberg.
1926 Sanford map of Ehrhardt indicates line ends there.
1962 SCE&G Canadys power station comes on line; presumably the long lead to it from the ACL branch near Stokes has been built. About this time, the Hampton and Branchville apparently gets the contract of switching the coal for the plant over from the C&WC junction in Hampton. Presumably trackage rights agreements had been negotiated.
1967 ACL/SAL merger forming SCL
1983 SCL merges into CSX. About now it appears the H&B Junct-Ehrhardt section was abandoned by SCL.
1986 CSX sells Stokes-Canadys lead/branch to H&B, branch line from H&B Junction to Walterboro to Colleton County Railroad. Presumably about this time Walterboro-Green Pond abandoned.
1988 H&B buys Colleton County Railroad
c. 2010's? branch still running into Walterboro abandoned by H&B? No H&B traffic except coal to Canadys?
2013 last coal hoppers hauled by H&B in Jan., Canadys plant shut down in November. H&B apparently ceases operations, with empty hoppers parked on mainline outside Hampton and all locomotives gone by September. Remaining former branch from H&B Junct to Stokes, and lead to Canadys, presumably about to be abandoned with rest.
If you are interested, I have several photos of the old rail bed for the GPW&B that runs along side Highway 303 from Walterboro down to Green Pond.
Ann, Those old pictures would be amazing to see.