Belton to McCormick

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(Forwarded from the Port Royal & Western Carolina Railroad)

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Northwest of Bordeaux, this trestle on the former Charleston & Western Carolina branch to Anderson was built on top of a culvert. Apparently the grade of the railroad was raised when the lake (Clarks Hill, now Strom Thurmond Lake) was impounded. Thanks to the drought, this was visible recently! Photo by Julian Finley.

This branch line was part of the original Port Royal and Western Carolina Railroad's mainline between Augusta and Spartanburg (which is still in use today by CSX). The mainline included branch lines to both Greenville and Anderson (this abandonment). Ownership of the line changed hands many times during its first few years: After a legal battle over questionable intentions, the state of South Carolina took over the line, and merged it with the Port Royal & Augusta Railway to form the Charleston & Western Carolina Railroad in 1898. The Atlantic Coast Line gained control of the railroad in 1897 essentially to gain access to Augusta. The ACL soon thereafter completed a line from Denmark down to Robbins on the C&WC, and then on the C&WC into Augusta. The ACL attempted to merge the C&WC in 1930, but this was protested by neighboring roads. The ACL finally merged the C&WC in 1959, and the line continued to see service through the Seaboard Coast Line, Seaboard System and ultimately, CSX.

This abandoned line branched from the Augusta-Spartanburg mainline at McCormick, and extended to South Anderson. The section of a Seaboard Coast Line abandonment from East Anderson (Toxaway) through Campbells to Belton Junction was actually formerly part of the Piedmont & Northern. The section from McCormick to Calhoun Falls and back to Iva was abandoned in the late 1970s. The former P & N section was abandoned during this time also. The section from Iva to South Anderson was abandoned in the early 1980s. Today, a spur is still in place from South Anderson through Orr Mill and into Anderson.

A list of stations/towns the abandoned right-of-way visited:

  • McCormick
  • Bordeaux
  • Willington
  • Mount Carmel
  • Hester
  • Calhoun Falls (where it crossed the SAL main line to Atlanta)
  • Latimer
  • Lowndesville
  • Barnes
  • Iva
  • Starr
  • Deans
  • South Anderson

Thanks to Julian Finley for contributing information about this route.

I think when i was very young and visiting Calhoun Falls that there was no diamond crossing at grade. It had a bridge over the Seaboard railroad. Its piers are still seen today or where they were just beside the main road coming in from Anderson Hwy. on the left on the road traffic bridge.

There was a short railroad that used to go to Newry Mill near Seneca that ended in 1974. It was owned by Southern. They had an engine that took cars up and down the steep hill to carry mill cotton and coal. In 1892 was when it started and was steam until the early '50s. The old mill still stands and you can see the roadbeds. It had about four miles of track with about seven or eight switches.

Good article. I enjoyed it.

Chevis Crenshaw
Seneca, SC
1/9/2010

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I attended the University if Georgia in the early '80s and would travel SC 81 to get to Athens, GA. The railroad had just been removed, but evidence of it was everywhere. Cleared roadbeds and a grade crossing on SC 81. Plus, part of the line as it branched off the main at McCormick was still intact and used for railcar storage. That section of track disappeared in the late 1980's. Other than the bridges, traces of the railroad are hard to find now. But a good eye can still see where it used to be.

Jose L. Valdivieso
Chapin, SC
8/24/2012

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The new row called out I n the pictures from the aerial photo is actually a stream. I'm think the tracks at the diamond were for transferring rail cars from one line to the other and the CW&C has always passed over via a bridge.

I have been researching C&WC today as we walked part of the old rail row today at the trestle shown in the pictures. They have made it a trail and have made a pedestrian bridge on to of the trestle.

Thanks for the article. It's very informative and helped my parents and I figure out exactly what we were trying to recall about how the intersection of the two railways were configured in Calhoun Falls.

Rob Pettigrew
Calhoun Falls, SC
12/25/2014

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The big wooden trestle. Can anyone pleqse give me an exact location? I want to go see it

gavin Sanders
sandersville ga, GA
9/30/2015

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The current track inspector for CSX was the last guy to ride the line all the way from McCormick to Belton Jct. He and I talked just the other day about this line and he told me they abandoned it in 1976, but wasn't tore out completely until the late 80's. He said it was a very scenic line and enjoyed riding it. He will retire at the end of the yr this yr, hate to see him go, he is a wealth of information on the lines in western SC/eastern GA.

Vic Lewis
Florence, SC
3/23/2016

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