Lockhart Junction to Lockhart

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Along SC Highway 9 between Jonesville and Lockhart, the former ROW of the Lockhart Branch can be seen in many places. The ROW embankment to the R of the road is now visible on this recently cleared piece of land. The branch followed SC 9 most of the way into Lockhart.

This branch off of the Southern Railway main line between Columbia and Spartanburg was built some time around 1894 when a textile mill was built on the Broad River. A small hydro-electric power plant was built along the river to serve the textile and the mill town of Lockhart sprang to life. The textile mill was shut down in the late 1980s, however rail service ended long before that. The Lockhart Branch was officially abandoned by the Southern Railway in the early 1970s. The hydro-electric plant remains in service, forming the basis of the local electric co-op.

The right-of-way is evident along SC Route 9 between Lockhart Junction (east of Jonesville) on the Norfolk-Southern line between Columbia and Spartanburg and Lockhart. The ROW follows the road most of the way to Lockhart, only leaving the highway for short stretches.

My mother and her 11 brothers and sisters grew up in a house about a half-mile up Belue Road from Lockhart Jct. An uncle, Coleman White, was conductor on the Lockhart Switcher for something like 30 years. He and my grandparents are buried not far from the Junction at New Hope United Methodist Church. I had my first engine ride on the switcher when I was still in single digits, and I have the "1" milepost from the branch.

Michael Young
Columbia, SC
12/4/2009

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