Greenville to River Falls

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(Forwarded from the Greenville & Western Railroad)

Note: This line is out of service and not officially abandoned

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Grade crossing sign showing that the line is out of service in Travelers Rest. Photo by Whit Whitaker.

The Carolina, Knoxville & Western Railway was built from Greenville to Marietta in 1888. The railway was originally chartered to build a line from Augusta, GA, to Knoxville, TN. The line was extended to River Falls for a total of 23 miles, and then was abandoned in 1899 (one of the earlier abandonments on record!). The Greenville & Knoxville Railroad was formed to revive the line in 1907 and ran it until 1914. The company was reorganized as the Greenville & Western, and was then renamed the Greenville & Northern Railway in 1920. The line was cut back to Travelers Rest in the mid-1950s, but the section between Traveler's Rest and Cleveland was not officially abandoned until 1970.

The Carolina Piedmont Division of the South Carolina Central Railroad bought the G & N in April 1997, and the last train ran on the G & N in January 1998. Railtex (the owner of CPD-SCCR) sold the right of way to the Greenville County Economic Development Corporation. There are reportedly no plans to reopen this line in the works. Most of the remaining G & N is out of service.

The G & N extended from Greenville to Berea, White Oak, Montague, Altamount (going right by the Furman University campus), to Traveler's Rest, Hellams, Slater, Marietta, Cleveland, Riverview, ending at River Falls.

The Greenville & Northern was apparently sold to the Carolina Piedmont Division of the South Carolina Railroad, however there is litigation surrounding this line. The CPD of the SCRR also purchased the former Charleston & Western Carolina line from Laurens to Greenville from CSX (by way of SCL). The C&WC met up with the Greenville & Northern in Greenville along the Reedy River. A short section from downtown Greenville to East Greenville has been abandoned, probably because of a large wooden trestle that was removed several years ago. This trestle was located over a park at one point, and spanned a tributary to the Reedy River. No doubt the cost to replace the trestle was prohibitory, so now the CPD of the SCRR cannot reach Greenville. The picture below shows the abandoned (or out of service?) part of the line in East Greenville.

The old Greenville and Northern Railway has found new life as the Swamp Rabbit Trail, managed by the Greenville Hospital System and Greenville Recreation Department. For more information, please check out http://greenvillerec.com/parks/swamp-rabbit/

Tom Taylor
Greenville, SC
3/9/2012

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The trestle in the last paragraph was located in Cleveland Park. I'm looking for a photo of it before it was torn down.

clyde
Greenville, SC
6/5/2012

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Correction: The name of the park is McPherson Park.

clyde
Greenville, SC
6/9/2012

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Nope, I was right the first time. The old wooden trestle was in Cleveland Park and the Reedy River tributary that it spanned was Richland Creek. A water color of the trestle bears the letters ACLRR, presumably standing for the Atlantic Coastline Railroad. The water color painting can be viewed here: http://frankleslie.com/mitchell/Dick%20Mitchell%20Catalog.pdf

I'm still looking for a b&w photo. The trestle was removed in circa 1991.

clyde
Greenville, SC
6/13/2012

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I was looking into the history of the GRN since decaling a boxcar for this railroad. In looking at Google Earth I followed the line from Travelers Rest to Greenville, did the line go into downtown Greenville?? It just sort of ends at RT 123.

Jeremy Harris
Avon, IN
1/22/2013

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The G&N ended at a depot that is under Academy Street at the Reedy River. The building is now a residence. The rail line also crossed the Reedy River and passed beside the Greenville News office and out the east side of town. At this point it was the C&WC railroad I believe.

Bill Kea
Spartanburg, SC
2/27/2013

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CSX shortlined the former ACL line from Greenville to Laurens...sold it to CPD (RailAmerica). CSX abandoned the portion through downtown Greenville to ensure that it had control of all freight gathered by CPD. Simply put..CSX outsourced the line to a carrier with lower cost to operate...but still gets all the freight delivered in Laurens.

Michael
Easley, SC
11/17/2013

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ON THE 15th of MARCH I was sitting at railroad crossing in PALMDALE CA, when a north bound UNION PACIFIC train went bye, on it was a GREENVILLE AND NORTHERN RAILWAYS boxcar. This was the first time I had heard of the line, unfortunately I did not get the number of it.

REX WELKER
MOJAVE, CA
3/17/2014

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My GrandFather operated Greenville&Northern from the late 40s to his retirement in the late 80s...If information is wanted feel free to contact me

David Smith
Travelers Rest, SC
10/13/2014

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The G&N entered Greenville from River Junction where the Piedmont & Northern had its shops. Both lines ran toward downtown by following the river with the P&N on the north bank and G&N on the south bank. Both ducked under the Southern Railway which was high above on a bridge. Near town, the P&N swung to the left to enter its down town yard and the little depot. The G&N followed the river where the Pinsley Group had built a brick enginehouse.

The C&WC also followed the river coming under Main Street and running beside the G&N and the river out to the mills west of town.

I got to ride the route on the diesel one day in May of 1957 from the enginehouse out to River Junction, past Furman, in and out of Travelers Rest and on to a mill at Marietta where we switched some cars, including a "French Drop" which was illegal by that time.

We then returned to Greenville, so I was one of the last to get a round trip on the line.

We did not run out to River Falls.

There was an association with a local lumber out fit that built additional track into the hills more or less toward Brevard. It never, I am told, crossed the state line.

I am still interested in this additional track and how far it did go.

Greenville's first railroad was the Atlanta & Richmond Air Line in 1873 which became the Atlanta & Charlotte Air Line which was true to the track that existed. Seaboard Air Line leased the line and ran through trains from Richmond to Atlanta until the Richmond & Danville BOUGHT the A&CAL and evicted the SAL. R&D put its trains on the line which later became Southern Railway.

The Greenville & Laurens came to town next as part of the Central of Georgia Port Royal System. This later became part of the Charleston & Western Carolina line of Atlantic Coast Line.

The Atlantic, Greenville & Western Railway Company was formed from the paper Greenville & Port Royal Company. It sought to reach the Clinchfield coal fields, but no rails were laid.

The Carolina, Knoxville & Western Railway Company was formed to take over the AG&W. It was to run from Augusta through Greenville to Knoxville. 282 miles. In 1888, grading was started north of Ware Shoals, through the meadows near Travelers Rest, and several cuts and fills near Cedar Mountain in North Carolina.

Track was laid in 1890 from Greenville through the meadows to Hellams Crossing and a locomotive began operations that year.

The line became bankrupt, and the receiver authorized an extension to Marietta. Fare was 2 cents a mile and the train backed from Marietta to Greenville as it could not be turned.

in 1899, the "Richard Humboldt" locomotive, a passenger car, 5 boxcars, and 12 flatcars were sold to the C&WC.

The Greenville & Knoxville was formed in 1904 by High Price, 5 years after the track was ripped up. The G&K was

to relay the track and extend on to Tennessee. It was to run initially to Riverview or 34 miles to the state line.

The line opened to Marietta in 1906. Asa Candler (Coca Cola) of Atlanta invested in the G&K. With the new money they cut through a hill near Cleveland at Hart Cut but used up most of the money. Track reached Pott's Cove which was renamed River Falls. Using a second hand locomotive and several old Pennsylvania passenger cars, the line ran weekend excursions to River Falls, but had no freight business. Bankrupt, the G&K was sold in 1914 to the Greenville & Western. The G&W was bankrupt by 1917.

Some months later the line was sold to Baker Fentress of Chicago that owned 20,000 acres of forests in Upper Greenville County.

On November 3m 1920, the company became the Greenville & Northern organized by Saluda Land & Lumber Co.

The terminal was just west of Main Street with a connection to the Southern's Columbia line and to the C&WC.

In 1948 the G&N bought a GE 70 ton diesel #70 and in 1951 bought another GE 70 ton . The #14 steam locomotive was sold in 1952.

S M Pinsley bought the line on July 7, 1957. It became the Greenville & Northern Railway Company.

Tom Fetters
Lombard, , IL
11/19/2014

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I am looking for information on G&N operations in Berea, SC. I understand there was an industrial park there but have not been able to find many pics let alone what industries were served there. Any suggestions?

Michael Osweiler
Waseca, MN
2/21/2015

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A very interesting newspaper story from February 27, 1918.

Brevard, "Already there is a road from Greenville up to a point near the North Carolina line at DRAKES, SC.

With the Carr Lumber Company running from Pisgah (Forest) [near Brevard] to the Pink Beds (near the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains) there as a gap of 22 miles between Drakes, SC and Brevard. The road from Greenville to Drakes is now owned by Asa G Candler, the Coca-Cola magnate, of Atlanta, and is a well known fact that he is very much interested in this section of the country and has had at different times surveyors to go over parts of the proposed route. A meeting with Mr. Candler and his associates was held n Atlanta last week, but no announcement has been made of matters considered at that time."

The route was to use the Transylvania Railroad from Pisgah Forest on to Lake Toxaway to the west of Rosman, then over the Moltz logging line to the Canada Section of Jackson County, then connect to the Blackwood lumber Tuckaseegee & South Eastern to reach Sylva, then over the Southern to Bushnell and connection to the Southern extension out of Maryville to the Little Tennessee River, thus making a route from Greenwood, SC to Knoxville.

CAN ANYONE FIND DRAKES on a map of circa 1918?

THIS would be the end of track beyond River Falls.

Tom Fetters
Lombard., IL
2/22/2015

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Looking for good photo of the railroad trestle that crossed the Richland Creek near Cleveland Park in Greenville, SC. Played around that trestle while growing up in the 1950s.

John
Greenville, SC
5/21/2015

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Can anyone find where "DRAKE" SC was located beyond River Falls?

Tom Fetters
Lombard, , IL
5/21/2015

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This may be of assistance:

http://markemark4.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-swamp-rabbit-railroad-in-river-falls.html

Jamie
Powdersville, SC
5/12/2016

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