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Old 09-17-2013, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
1,911 posts, read 1,360,641 times
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This is a short piece I wrote for an online railroading magazine concerning teh new railroad in Aiken.

Aiken Railway Set To Get Own Power

Aiken Railway (AIKR) is set to get their own motive power on the two former Southern Railway branchlines they operate in their namesake town in South Carolina. Formed when Norfolk Southern sold the lines to Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation, the Aiken Railway has been leasing LTEX SW1500 #1543 since starting up in December 2012.

Meanwhile, two GP30s bought from Larry’s Truck and Electric have been undergoing work in Belton, SC on sister railroad, Greenville & Western. Steven C. Hawkins, CEO and President of the Western Carolina Railway, said that extensive work was done on both units while in Belton. APU’s were added for winter freeze protection to warm the engines lube oil and cooling water while charging the batteries. Ditch lights were added to the long hood end for single unit running while the front headlights were raised from their former position on the short hood above the cab. New pilots were fabricated and crossover platforms were welded in a fixed position.

But it is the cosmetic changes that railfans will notice first. The engine was painted in a two tone green with “Aiken” in white lettering on the sides and both ends. “I wanted something that looked classy and respectable that would fit with the community in which AIKR operates while paying homage to the 180-year heritage of the railroad,” Hawkins said. The overall styling is based on Great Northern’s “Hustle Muscle” paint scheme, Hawkins said, with colors similar to Northern Pacific and Southern while sticking with the base Chicago & Northwestern Green used on the two Greenville & Western GP9s.

The units were former BNSF 2464 and 2473, built for the Santa Fe in 1963 and wore the famous blue and yellow livery. They were renumbered 4201 and 4202 and were delivered to South Carolina wearing GRLW reporting marks for the Greenville & Western. Now 4202 has been repainted and lettered for the new railroad. After making several test runs on the Greenville & Western, Hawkins expects it to ship on Monday from Belton on the Pickens Railway to the Norfolk Southern interchange in Anderson, SC before making its way to Aiken through Linwood, NC.

The Aiken Railway operates two separate branches of the Norfolk Southern line which runs from Columbia to Augusta. One thirteen mile segment runs between Warrenville and Oakwood while the second branch runs nearly six and a half miles between Aiken and Seclay. The Warrenville to Oakwood line was chartered in 1827 as the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company and was the state's first railroad. The Aiken to North Aiken line was completed by the Edgefield, Trenton & Aiken Railroad in 1879.
Meanwhile, Hawkins says the 4201 should be complete by mid to late October.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:28 AM
 
3,441 posts, read 4,484,891 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog View Post
This is a short piece I wrote for an online railroading magazine concerning teh new railroad in Aiken.

Aiken Railway Set To Get Own Power

Aiken Railway (AIKR) is set to get their own motive power on the two former Southern Railway branchlines they operate in their namesake town in South Carolina. Formed when Norfolk Southern sold the lines to Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation, the Aiken Railway has been leasing LTEX SW1500 #1543 since starting up in December 2012.

Meanwhile, two GP30s bought from Larry’s Truck and Electric have been undergoing work in Belton, SC on sister railroad, Greenville & Western. Steven C. Hawkins, CEO and President of the Western Carolina Railway, said that extensive work was done on both units while in Belton. APU’s were added for winter freeze protection to warm the engines lube oil and cooling water while charging the batteries. Ditch lights were added to the long hood end for single unit running while the front headlights were raised from their former position on the short hood above the cab. New pilots were fabricated and crossover platforms were welded in a fixed position.

But it is the cosmetic changes that railfans will notice first. The engine was painted in a two tone green with “Aiken” in white lettering on the sides and both ends. “I wanted something that looked classy and respectable that would fit with the community in which AIKR operates while paying homage to the 180-year heritage of the railroad,” Hawkins said. The overall styling is based on Great Northern’s “Hustle Muscle” paint scheme, Hawkins said, with colors similar to Northern Pacific and Southern while sticking with the base Chicago & Northwestern Green used on the two Greenville & Western GP9s.

The units were former BNSF 2464 and 2473, built for the Santa Fe in 1963 and wore the famous blue and yellow livery. They were renumbered 4201 and 4202 and were delivered to South Carolina wearing GRLW reporting marks for the Greenville & Western. Now 4202 has been repainted and lettered for the new railroad. After making several test runs on the Greenville & Western, Hawkins expects it to ship on Monday from Belton on the Pickens Railway to the Norfolk Southern interchange in Anderson, SC before making its way to Aiken through Linwood, NC.

The Aiken Railway operates two separate branches of the Norfolk Southern line which runs from Columbia to Augusta. One thirteen mile segment runs between Warrenville and Oakwood while the second branch runs nearly six and a half miles between Aiken and Seclay. The Warrenville to Oakwood line was chartered in 1827 as the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company and was the state's first railroad. The Aiken to North Aiken line was completed by the Edgefield, Trenton & Aiken Railroad in 1879.
Meanwhile, Hawkins says the 4201 should be complete by mid to late October.

Interesting.. thanks for sharing.. what industries are these branch lines serving? I cant imagine someone investing in a short line unless they felt there was some "profit" to be derived from it.. Also, is it being subsidized by the State of SC? I know some short lines are in some cases.....If/when you have photos... please share...
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Aiken, South Carolina, US of A
1,364 posts, read 1,402,585 times
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Joe,
Are these the cars that they will have at the Railway Depo in Aiken?
I haven't been down there, do they give any train rides? For the public?
I just looked at it online, the new Depo, it looks nice. Mabey I'll have to
visit it soon.
I love old trains.
So that is how they brought the horses down for vacation, I was wondering about
that.
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Old 09-19-2013, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
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They do have some old cars at the railroad depot, but this is a new engine for the "new" railroad down there. I just heard that Norfolk Southern is literally delivering it as I type. There is a museum in the old depot, but I have never been by when it was open.

Woodlands, I'm not aware that the railroad was subsidized at all. It was bought by an in-state company and is being run by a family who lives in state. They have some business on the line and runs Monday through Friday. Class One railroads will often sell their branch lines to shortlines who can operate it more cost effectively. Just some of the shortlines in South Carolina that are part of what used to be Class 1 lines --

Pickens Railroad
Carolina Piedmont
South Carolina Central
Lancaster and Chester (half of their miles are from a Class 1, half from their orginal line)
Pee Dee River Railway
Carolina Southern

Five of the six mentioned run at least five days a week. The last one, Carolina Southern, was run into the ground by owners who didn't seem to know what they were doing.
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Old 09-25-2013, 01:39 AM
 
129 posts, read 95,899 times
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Isn't the last one completely out of service because of bad track?
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pontiac59 View Post
Isn't the last one completely out of service because of bad track?
Bad bridges, technically. But the track was just as bad. The owners "voluntarily" shut it down after repeated visits by the FRA. It's in the courts now as the counties are trying to force a sale.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:46 PM
 
129 posts, read 95,899 times
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One of the business cars that used to be on that line is now on display in Syracuse, NY. Iowa Pacific swapped it to the CNY NRHS in exchange for use of a former Strates Shows car that had been there since 1974 or so.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog View Post
Bad bridges, technically. But the track was just as bad. The owners "voluntarily" shut it down after repeated visits by the FRA. It's in the courts now as the counties are trying to force a sale.

Is the Carolina Southern the one that ran from Conway to Myrtle Beach? I have always thought that they should preserve that right of way for future rail use...though it would need a new line to connect Conway with Marion and to tie into the eastern seaboard line.. I have ridden Amtrak countless times and gotten off in Florence.. There are usually scores of people that get off and are bound for Myrtle Beach. They usually get off in Florence and rent a car.. Some get off in Dillon..though I have no idea who or what they connect to to get to Myrtle Beach. I am shocked that a rental car company hasnt put an office at the Florence Amtrak Station. I have rented a car from there once.. but had to take a cab to the airport to pick it up. Enterprise does some pick up drop off.. but their hours are limited.

Anyway.. would love to see passenger rail service reinstated from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach via Augusta, Aiken, Columbia Florence and Myrtle Beach
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:09 PM
 
77 posts, read 63,014 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodlands View Post
Is the Carolina Southern the one that ran from Conway to Myrtle Beach? I have always thought that they should preserve that right of way for future rail use...though it would need a new line to connect Conway with Marion and to tie into the eastern seaboard line.. I have ridden Amtrak countless times and gotten off in Florence.. There are usually scores of people that get off and are bound for Myrtle Beach. They usually get off in Florence and rent a car.. Some get off in Dillon..though I have no idea who or what they connect to to get to Myrtle Beach. I am shocked that a rental car company hasnt put an office at the Florence Amtrak Station. I have rented a car from there once.. but had to take a cab to the airport to pick it up. Enterprise does some pick up drop off.. but their hours are limited.

Anyway.. would love to see passenger rail service reinstated from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach via Augusta, Aiken, Columbia Florence and Myrtle Beach
Also, I'm not seeing a decent rail connection between Columbia and Florence.
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
1,911 posts, read 1,360,641 times
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Finally got back down there today, but they were not running. Still snapped a few shots though --


Aiken Railway by Joseph C. Hinson Photography, on Flickr


Aiken Railway by Joseph C. Hinson Photography, on Flickr

And the Aiken Standard did a story about the railroad earlier this week --

Aiken Railway a long-term investment for Hawkins | Aiken Standard
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