A Southeast Regional Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Clinchfield Railroad


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Clinchfield 1928
Clinchfield
January 1928

The Clinchfield Railroad was an operating and holding company for the Carolina, Clinch field and Ohio Railway. The line ran from the coalfields of Virginia and Elkhorn City, Kentucky, to the textile mills of South Carolina. The 35-mile segment from Dante, Virginia, to Elkhorn City, opening up the coal lands north of Sandy Ridge Mountains and forming a connection with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway at Elkhorn City, was completed in 1915. The Clinchfield was the last Class I railroad built in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. The 266-mile railroad provided access to numerous scenic wonders of the Appalachian region and is probably best-known for the state-of-the-art railroad engineering techniques applied in its construction, as exemplified by the Clinchfield Loops climbing the Blue Ridge Mountains north of Marion, North Carolina. The Clinchfield Railroad began operating the line December 1, 1924, and for many years it was leased jointly by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and Louisville and Nashville Railroad. When the L&N merged with the ACL's successor, the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad, on December 29, 1982, forming the CXS System, the separate operating company was unnecessary and was

Clinchfiel 1951
Clinchfield
March 4, 1951
merged into CSX. The line is now owned and operated by CSX Transportation as their Blue Ridge Subdivision (Spartanburg to Erwin, Tennessee) and Kingsport Subdivision (Erwin to Elkhorn City). The Clinchfield handled a large number of coal unit trains as well as scheduled freights.(wik)
In 1928 the Clinchfield operated two daily passenger trains between Elkhorn City, Kentucky and Spartanburg, South Carolina, one with parlor buffet car service. By 1943 only one daily coach train survived, service was down to three times a week by 1951 and was freight only by 1954.(rp)
Short History of the Clinchfield Railroad
1886 - Ex-Union General John T. Wilder received a charter for Charleston, Cincinnati and Chicago Railroad, commonly referred to as the "3-C" Railroad. This was the beginning of the modern Clinchfield. The promoters of this ambitious project proposed a 625-mile line from Ironton, Ohio, to Charleston, South Carolina, with an extension down the Ohio River to Cincinnati. It would serve the rich agricultural lands of the Piedmont, the summer resorts of the North Carolina mountains, the rich timber and mineral deposits and coal fields of Virginia and Kentucky, with terminals on both the Ohio River and the Atlantic seacoast. The estimated cost was $21 million. Johnson City, Tennessee was established as the headquarters for the 3-C railroad and that city became a railway boom town.
1890 - Construction progressed from Johnson City to both the north and south. Tracks reached Erwin, Tennessee.
1893 - The roadway grading was 90% complete from Johnson City to Dante, Virginia, when the 3-C began to experience financial problems and then failed in the national depression of that year.
1893 - The assets of the 3-C railroad were sold at a foreclosure for $550,000. The new owners renamed it the "Ohio River and Charleston Railroad.
1893-97 -" The construction continued in a halfhearted manner and in 1897 owners began to sell off the railroad in segments. 1902 - George L. Carter purchased the Ohio River and Charleston Railroad, renamed it the Clinchfield Railroad. Carter was involved in developing the coal lands of southwestern Virginia. He needed a railroad to transport his coal to a south Atlantic seaport.
1905-09 - Clinchfield completed from Dante, Virginia to Spartanburg, South Carolina. Road was built to excellent standards which has reduced future maintenance and improvement costs.
cir 1924 - Clinchfield leased jointly by L&N and ACL, but maintains separate identity.
1928 - Clinchfield is operating two passenger trains
Clinchfield map
Clinchfield timetable map - 1947
a day from Elkhorn, KY to Erwin, TN, one with a parlor-buffet car. One daily train continues between Erwin and Spartanburg, SC, and one mixed train on a branch from Carbo to Wilder, VA.
1930's-40's - There was only one daily passenger train from Elhorn City to Spartanburg and the parlor-buffet car was gone.
1951 - By 1951 there was only one train three times weekly between Elkhorn City to Spartanburg.
1954 - By 1954 the Clinchfield was freight only.
972 - The Clinchfield was absorbed into the Family Lines System which was a combination of the Seaboard Coast Line and the Louisville and Nashville and other smaller railroads.
1982 - Clinchfield identity is lost into the coming CSX System.
1983 - Family lines become CSX.
Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 27, 2009, revised May 11, 2011