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Southern Railway S-Line

The majority of my pictures in North Carolina were taken while I was working at the JAARS Center in Waxhaw in 1981. I would take a one day jaunt on a Saturday and try to photograph trains on the Clinchfield. It was while I was in Marion that I discovered the Southern Railway line west out of Old Fort. Slow moving trains on a mountain grade with easy access brought me back on multiple trips.

North Carolina Southern Railway train picture index

The Western North Carolina Railroad was financed, built and operated by the state of North Carolina. By the end of 1885 the railroad had built west from Salisbury to within four miles of Morganton. In 1886 it was leased and later sold to the Richmond and Danville Railroad. The railroad continued construction westward reaching Marion in 1870 and Old Fort in 1873 where worked stopped for several years. Desiring a railroad to Asheville the state provided the railroad with convicts and the money to get it done. The Swannanoa Tunnel (the longest on the route) near Ridgecrest was completed in March 1879 and the line was completed into Asheville on October 2, 1880. The Southern Railway took over operations of the railroad in 1896.

Between Old Fort and Ridgecrest the railroad curves back and forth for 11 miles to gain elevation. The line crosses Mill Creek 11 times and goes through seven tunnels. The grade varies from 1.5 to 2.9 percent. Photos in this series are on CDs 125, 126, 127, and 128.

Southern Railway freight train 164 entering Old Fort on March 14, 1981

This may look like a short gallery, but there are 38 pages in this series with about 100 pictures.
Linwood Yard
Marion, NC
Old Fort

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