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On the morning of March 7, 1981 I was in Chester, SC. Chester was the starting point for the Chester and Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad in 1873. Ten years later it reached Lenoir, NC and was the longest narrow gauge railroad in South Carolina. In 1894 it was reorganized as the Carolina & North Western Railway and converted to standard gauge in 1902. It became a branch of the Southern Railway in 1940. The Georgia, Carolina & Northern Railroad started at Monroe, NC in 1887 and built to Atlanta. It reached Chester, SC in 1888 and reached Atlanta in 1892. It was merged into the Seaboard Air Line Railway in 1901. SCL engine 1504 leads an eastbound freight train out of Atlanta and is about to cross the former Carolina & North Western Railway line.
A short time after the SCL train went by, Southern Railway engine 2605 shows up with a piggyback train headed to Charlotte. This train is on the main line between Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC. This line was built by the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad. Construction began in 1847. It merged with the Columbia and Augusta Railroad in 1869 forming the Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad. The railroad was acquired by the Richmond and Danville Railroad in 1878. It was converted from 5 foot gauge to standard gauge in 1886.
The rear of the train was filled out with general freight. If memory services me right, this would be train 192. It originates in Macon, GA around 6PM. I often heard this train come through Wadley around 8PM. It then turns north at Millen and goes through Augusta on it way to Linwood Yard near Spencer, NC. Except for crossing other railroads, this line never had block signals and that was a contributing factor in the wreck of train 192 at Graniteville (just north of Augusta) in January 2005. The derailment produced a huge chlorine gas cloud that killed nine people. Disk 130