Southeast Regional Railroads of the 1930's - 1940's
Piedmont & Northern Railway
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The Piedmont and Northern Railway (P&N) was a heavy electric interurban company operating over two disconnected divisions in North and South Carolina, respectively. The trackage ran 128 miles all told, with the northern division running 24 miles from Charlotte, to Gastonia, North Carolina, with a three-mile spur to Belmont. The southern division was the larger of the two, with the main line running 89 miles from Greenwood to Spartanburg, South Carolina, with a 12 mi spur to Anderson. The line was electrified at 1500 volts DC,
Piedmont & Northern
October 1, 1956
but much of the electrification was abandoned when dieselization was completed in 1954.
The P&N's network was connected to the Clinchfield Railroad (CRR), Carolina and North Western Railroad (C&NW), Georgia and Florida Railroad (G&F), Norfolk Southern (NS), Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL), Southern Railway (SOU), Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL), Greenville and Northern Railroad (G&N), Charleston and Western Carolina (C&WC) and Ware Shoals Railroad.
Though owned by Duke Power, the P&N operated coal trains over a branch from Mount Holly, NC, to Terrell, NC, supplying Duke Power's Lake Norman power plants.
In 1931 the P&N operated three electric passenger trains a day between Charlotte and Gastonia, North Carolina, 23.5 miles on it's Northern Division, and two electric passenger trains on it's Southern Division between Spartanburg and Greenwood, South Carolina. Passenger service ended in 1951 and by 1955 there was no more Spartanburg-Greenwood freight service.
The P&N, though involved to some degree in passenger operations, was primarily a heavy freight carrier. The most important commodity transported was coal and coke, but also of significance were cotton (including cotton waste) and paper.
The system was absorbed into the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad in 1969.
History of the Piedmont & Northern Railway
1909 - The Piedmont & Northern was first proposed in 1909 by William States Lee, vice-president of Southern Power and Utilities Co., as an "electrically powered interurban railway system linking the major cities of the Piedmont Carolinas. It also became a project of James B. Duke of the Duke tobacco family and later Duke Power.
1910 - The 12 miles segment from Belton to Anderson was completed by the Anderson Street Railway Systeem.
1910 - In 1910, the Piedmont Traction Company (PTC) was formed, as a street railway to operate in and around Gastonia, NC.
1910 - The same year, the Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson Railway Company (GS&A) was formed in South Carolina as a street railway authorized to run between fixed termini.
1910-14 - The PTC and GS&A formed a syndicate, with the PTC acquiring the Charlotte, NC street railway, whilst the GS&A bought the Belton, SC - Anderson, SC line, besides both companies building new lines and securing trackage rights over the lines of various street railways.
1911 - Jewett Car Co. delivers combination baggage/coach motor cars (series 2000-2022).
1912 - The Charlotte - Mount Holly passenger service started on April 3, 1912.
1912 - The PTC compltes line from Charlotte to Gastonia NC.
1912 - The GS&A completes a main line from Greenwood to Greenville, SC.
1914 - GS&A line completed to Spartanburg NC.
1914 - The PTC and the GS&A merged as the Piedmont & Northern Railway Company (P&N). The system operated on 1500 VDC but was built to steam railroad standards on private right of way except for some city street running.
1914-1950's - Passenger service used heavyweight steel cars in MU operation or sometimes pulled by electric locomotives. Carload freight service consisted primarilyof coal, coke, cotton, cotton waste and paper and continued beyond the50's.
1916 - 3 mile Belmont branch completed.
mid-1920's - Plans to connect the North and South Carolina divisions between Spartanburg, SC and Gastonia, NC, and to expand northwards towards Winston-Salem, NC, were successfully blocked by appeals by the Southern Railway and other entities in court cases before the ICC ending in the 1930s.
1932 - Passenger service on the Belmont branch discontinued.
1938 - Passenger service on the Anderson branch discontinued.
1950 - Switch to diesel-electric locomotives begins.
1951 - Passenger service ended.
1954 - Dielselization completed.
1955 - Spartanburg-Greenwood freight service discontinued.
1969 - P&N absobed into the Seaboard Coast Line.
Current - Portions of the old P&N are still in operation by the SCL successor CSX, but most is abandoned or in search of other uses. A few buildings and depots remain.(wik)
Piedmont & Northern and Durham & Southern - 1931
Note that both railways shared the same map as well as common management
Piedmont & Northern Maps from Due.
Notice the more correct to scale on the Due map vs the smooth timetable map
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- Various editions
The Electric Interurban Railways in America-Hilton & Due- pages c331-332-333
To contact our contributors please make a request by Email to: Richard Parks