Spence to Great Falls


GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Showing of

Looking south along US 21 near Landsford. The ROW was built along the electrical transmission line ROW most of the way to Great Falls. Rails are still in place at many grade crossings.

This spur off of the Seaboard Air Line main line at Spence Junction in Catawba between Hamlet and Atlanta was built around 1907 as Duke Power began to build the hydroelectric generating stations at Great Falls. The line served coal-fired units at the power stations around Great Falls, and also served industries in Great Falls, mainly textile mills. The line paralleled the Catawba River and ran almost directly north/south. There was not much other traffic generated along the line. The branch did interchange with the Lancaster & Chester Railroad in Fort Lawn, the only such interchange even though the roads also passed close to each other in Chester. This interchange was moved to Chester when the branch was abandoned.

The line was abandoned in 1980, and the rail was removed soon after. The SC Route 9 bridge over the former ROW at Fort Lawn has been removed. The ROW can be seen as a deep cut on either side of 4-lane SC Route 9 in Fort Lawn just west of US Route 21. The US Route 21 bridge just north of the location where the picture below was taken is still in place. The ROW can be made out in most places, including extensive industrial spurs in Great Falls.

Towns on the are Spence (Catawba), Rowell, Landsford, Fudges, Fort Lawn and down to Great Falls.

This photo shows an old grade crossing near one of th closed mills in downtown Great Falls.


Joe Hinson
Lancaster, SC


Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/r65

Do you have any pictures or information about Spence to Great Falls? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.