South Carolina Railroads - Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railway


Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Original Starting Point

Original Ending Point





TN/NC Line Marion, NC

Marion, NC Spartanburg, SC

* 1924 - Renamed to Clinchfield Railroad.
+ 1923 - Jointly leased for 999 years to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from May 11, 1923, by indenture of lease dated October 16, 1924, and the properties dehvered to the lessees on October 16, 1924. The leased properties are now being operated for the lessees by a separate organization known as Clinchfield Railroad Company.
+ 1909 - Company incorporated via Secretary of State on December 4, 1909.
+ 1908 - Company organized on March 7, 1908 under the laws of Virginia. By deed dated March 31, 1908, this railroad acquired the assets of the South & Western Railroad of Tennessee. By deed dated April 18, 1908, this railroad acquired the assets of the South & Western Railroad of North Carolina.
Was the South & Western Railroad

In 1909, the South & Western Railroad made some financially secure decisions and was on the move - so, it decided it needed a new image and renamed itself to the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railroad. With a change in corporate name, the railroad experienced a tremendous boom in construction.

The newly-renamed railroad proceeded an additional sixty (60) miles south of Marion, NC, through Bostic, and on to Spartanburg, SC its first year. At the end of 1908, it owned six steam locomotives, 269 freight cars, and a few passenger coaches.

In 1915, the railroad was considered complete when the final spike was driven at Elkhorn City, KY on February 9th. The line that had been first discussed way back in 1830, took over fifty years to construct through several different corporate names, was finally complete.

Whe the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railraod was declared completed in 1915, it included 51,171 feet of tunnels, nearly ten miles of track through mountains instead of around them. 17,476 feet of track travels over eighty (80) trestles or bridges. 43% of the track is laid on a curve, and the longest straight tangent is barely two miles in length.

The high cost of the railroad was primarily due to advanced construction techniques and the boring of 55 tunnels, of which in one 11-mile stretch there are 17 tunnels. Finally, over 115 miles of the railroad's 277 total miles are located at 1,500 feet in elevation - or higher.

On October 16, 1924, the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railroad entered into a lease with the Atlantic Coast Line and the Louisville & Nashville railroads. The joint lease was for a period of 999 years.

Prior to the lease signing, a new corporation was formed as an operating company to control the assets of the three railroads that actually comprised the CC&O - the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio Railroad, the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio of South Carolina, and the Clinchfield & Northern Railway of Kentucky.

This new operating company was named the Clinchfield Railroad Corporation on December 1, 1924.

Towns on Route (in SC):

SC/NC State Line

Chesnee (1910)

Mayo (1910)



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