South Carolina Railroads - South Carolina & Georgia Railroad

Acronym

Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Original Starting Point

Original Ending Point

SC&GA RR

1894

1894

1899*

Charleston, SC Branchville, SC Branchville

Hamburgh, SC Columbia, SC Camden SC
* 1899 - Controlled by Southern Railway. 1902, leased by Southern Railway for 999 years-lease still in effect.
Was the South Carolina Railway

The South Carolina Canal & Railroad Company was chartered in South Carolina in 1827 for the purpose of expanding trade between Charleston and the west. The company’s 136-mile railroad from Charleston to Hamburg, SC, across the Savannah River from Augusta, opened in 1830.

In 1843, the company merged with the Louisville, Cincinnati, & Charleston Railroad to become the South Carolina Railroad. In 1881, it was reorganized as the South Carolina Railway. After entering receivership in 1889, it was reorganized once again five years later as the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad.

Southern Railway gained control of the line in 1899 and obtained a 999-year lease to it in 1902. The lease is still in effect. 

On May 10, 1894, the new owners of the bankrupt South Carolina Railway executed a certificate of incorporation, which was filed four days later with the Secretary of State of South Carolina. The name and style of the corporation was the "South Carolina and Georgia Railroad Company;" the capital stock, $5,000,000. The company was vested with the property by a deed executed on May 12, 1894. The consideration under the deed was $10,250,000 to be paid in five percent (5%) twenty-five (25) year bonds to the amount of $5,250,000, and in capital stock to the amount of $5,000,000. The new company was under the control of a group of New York capitalists, headed by Charles Parsons.

In November of 1894, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act confirming the new charter and authority was given for the construction of such extensions as might be necessary to the Ashley and Cooper rivers and through the streets of Charleston. The company was also granted the privilege of acquiring and operating terminal warehouses, docks, elevators, compresses, and steam and sailing vessels.

In 1895, the company purchased about 750 feet of water-front property on the Cooper River, between Laurens and Society streets, and the railroad was extended from its former terminus on John Street through John, Chapel, and Washington streets to the newly-acquired terminals. Included in the property purchased was an elevator of 200,000 bushel capacity and a rice mill. To these facilities the company began the building of wharves, warehouses, compresses, and other terminal structures.

In addition to these improved facilities, the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad Company continued the policies of the previous South Carolina Railway Company of adding to its system, and during the period of 1894 to 1899, the new company acquired control of several connecting lines.

It continued to operate, by a modified agreement, the line of the Carolina, Cumberland Gap & Chicago Railway Company between Aiken and Edgefield until March 31, 1896, when that company, as a result of bankruptcy, was succeeded by the Carolina & Cumberland Gap Railway Company. Then on February 24, 1897, it took a lease in perpetuity of the road of the Augusta Southern Railroad Company extending from Augusta to Tennille, GA, a distance of eighty-four (84) miles, and began operating it as a part of the system on March 1st. By this acquistion, the company secured a feeder, much of the traffic of which had been given therefore to other roads.

By a contract dated June 10, 1898, the company assumed control of two lines of the Ohio River & Charleston Railway Company, one extending from Camden, SC to Marion, NC and one from Aiken to Edgefield in SC. They began operating these on September 1st, pending arrangements for the reorganization of the Ohio River & Charleston Railway Company under the style of the South Carolina & Georgia Extension Railroad Company, and the consolidation of it with the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad Company. Stockholders did not like this nor did they approve. As a result, the two new lines were thereafter operated by the South Carolina & Georgia Extension Railroad Company on its own account for a short time.

In the midst of these negotiations, the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad Company determined to effect an entrance into Sumter, SC. To accomplish this purpose a charter was obtained for the Sumter & Wateree River Railroad Company, and construction was begun on a line nearly sixteen miles in length, extending from a junction on the Camden branch, near Middleton, to Sumter. This road was completed on August 7, 1899, and was thereafter operated as part of the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad system.

As a result of all of this, the company began to show a small profit, which had not been enjoyed in thirty-five (35) years of the road's existence. This growth in receipts was the result of an increase in tonnage carried rather than of a raising of rates, and it is clear that the road was aiding appreciably in stimulating the business of Charleston.

At the time that the South Carolina Railway Company was ordered to be sold (1894), rumors abounded that it would be bought out and operated by one of the larger railroad systems of the South. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company, in particular, was mentioned in many of these rumors. However, it refused to make a bid at that 1894 sale; and after the organization of the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad Company, the rumors stopped - until the winter of 1898-1899, when the rumors were again revived. By April of 1899, Charlestonians were certain that this road would shortly be purchased by one of the big companies, either the Louisville & Nashville Railroad or Southern Railway.

While the Charleston newspapers were spreading these rumors and debating the cons of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad and the pros of the Southern Railway, the president of Southern Railway was actually negotiating for the controlling interest in the road. This was attained during April, and on the 29th of this month the stockholders of the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad Company approved a contract leasing their line to the Southern Railway Company for a term of thirty years. The lease specified that Southern Railway should pay to the shareholders of the South Carolina & Georgia Railroad Company the net income from the operations of the property, after deducting operating expenses, interest, taxes, rents, and costs of improvements.

The coming of Southern Railway to Charleston was a significant event in the life of the city. It was the realization, after sixty-three (63) years, of the plans discussed at the Knoxville Convention in 1836, out of which grew the Louisville, Cincinnati & Charleston Rail Road Company.

The news was announced by the News and Courier in headlines - "The Roads to Charleston are Open ! The Bars at Columbia Let Down. The Southern Has Leased the Old Reliable. We get Back our Jobbing Trade. We get a Share of the Alabama Coal and Iron Trade. We get a Share of the Great West's Grain Trade."

The South Carolina & Georgia Railroad Company remained a separate corporation until May of 1902, when, with several other lines in that section controlled by the Southern Railway Company, it wa consolidated, pursuant to an Act of the legislature, to form the Southern Railway Carolina Division. The property of this company was then leased to the Southern Railway Company for 999 years from July 1, 1902. Thus ended the corporate existence of the line which for nearly three-quarters of a century had been known as the South Carolina Railroad.


Excerpted with edits from "Centennial History of South Carolina Railroad" by Samuel Melanchthon Derrick, 1930.

Towns on Route:

Line #1 - Charleston to Hamburgh:

Hamburgh

North Augusta (1900)

Clearwater (1901)

Bath

Langley

Warrenville (1898)

Graniteville

Aiken

Roseland

Mont Morenci

Oakwood

Windsor

White Pond

Williston

Elko

Blackville

Lees

Denmark

Bamberg

Midway

Edisto

Embree (1913)

Branchville

Badham (1901)

Reevesville

St. George

Pregnalls

Ross Station > Dorchester (1903)

Ridgeville

Jedburg

Summerville

Lincolnville

Anneville > Ladsons (1900)

Ashley Phosphate > Midland Park (1909)

Sineaths

Tenmile > The Farms (1913)

Horse Pond (1916)

Myers (1894)

Charleston

Line #2 - Branchville to Columbia:

Columbia

Hopkins Turnout

Weston

Gadsden

Kingsville

Fort Mott

St. Matthews

Jamison

Stilton (1898)

Orangeburg

Rowesville

Branchville

Line #3 - Camden to Branchville:

Camden

Boykin

Sanders

Hagood

Horatio (1900)

Claremont

Sumter Junction (1900s)

Wateree

Kingsville

Line #4 - Edgefield to Aiken (acquired 1898):

Edgefield

Trenton

Eureka

Lake View (1900s)

Crofts

Aiken

Line #5 - Camden, SC to Marion, NC (acquired 1898) (Towns in SC):

SC/NC State Line

Blacksburg

Kings Creek

Smyrna

Hickory Grove > Hickory (1895) > Hickory Grove (1907)

Sharon

Yorkville > York (1915)

Tirzah

Belmont

Newport

Old Point > Oldpoint (1894)

Rock Hill

Lesslie

Roddeys > Roddey (1896)

Catawba

Lindsay > Riverside (1907)

Lancaster

Elgin (1895)

Pleasant Hill

Heath Spring > Heath Springs (1916)

Oakhurst

Kershaw

Westville

Kalb (aka DeKalb Station)

Camden

Line #6 - Middleton to Sumter (acquired 1899):

Middleton

Rembert

Borden (1902)

Providence

Scarboro > Dalzell (1904)

Sumter



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