South Carolina Railroads - Piedmont & Northern Railway


Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Original Starting Point

Original Ending Point





Spartanburg, SC Belton, SC

Greenwood, SC Anderson, SC

* 1969 - Merged into Seaboard Coast Line Railroad.
+ 1914 - Merged with the Greenville, Spartanburg & Anderson Railroad.

In 1910, the Piedmont Traction Company was formed as a street railway to operate in and around Gastonia, NC. In the same year, the Greenville, Spartanburg & Anderson Railway Company was formed in South Carolina as a street railway authorized to run between fixed termini. The two companies then 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. The network as it finally stood was finished in April of 1914. Later in 1914, the PTC and the GS&A amalgamated into the Piedmont & Northern Railway Company.

The Charlotte - Mount Holly passenger service started on April 3, 1912, running combination baggage/coach motor cars (series 2000-2022) that had been delivered in 1911 by Jewett Car Co.

The Piedmont & Northern Railway was first proposed in 1909 by William States Lee, vice-president of Southern Power & Utilities Co. (later to become Duke Power), as an "electrically powered inter-urban railway system linking the major cities of the Piedmont Carolinas." Southern's president, James B. Duke, ultimately accepted the proposal, and, two years later, in 1911, the first issue of P&N stock quietly sold out, and grading for the line began in Charlotte in April of that year.

Since Southern Power & Utilities Co. already had the power monopoly and owned the Charlotte Electric Railway (which ran the city's streetcar system) as well as the streetcar lines in other cities to be served, the P&N was seen as a natural outgrowth of their existing business. It would also serve to promote growth in the Piedmont, which was a major goal of James B. Duke.

The plan called for two lines in the initial stage: a twenty-one-mile route linking Charlotte and Gastonia, and one in South Carolina connecting Greenwood to Spartanburg, a distance of eighty-nine miles. The final link (which was never completed because of a successful challenge brought before the ICC by the Southern Railway) was to join Gastonia and Spartanburg, thus completing the network.

Within South Carolina, the P&N built 88.9 miles of track from Spartanburg to Greenwood, SC, and 11.8 miles of track from Belton to Anderson, SC in 1911.

In 1914, the P&N merged into its operations the Greenville, Spartanburg & Anderson Railroad, which gave it two more lines within South Carolina.

The P&N's network in 1964 was connected to the Clinchfield Railroad (CRR), the Carolina and North- Western Railroad (C&NW), Georgia and Florida Railway (G&F), Norfolk Southern (NS), Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL), Southern Railway (SOU), Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL), the Greenville and Northern Railroad (G&N), Charleston and Western Carolina (C&WC), and the 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 powerplants.

The Electric Railway Journal of February 11, 1911 reported: "Greenville, Spartanburg & Anderson Railway, Anderson, SC — The Duke interests propose to incorporate the Piedmont & Northern Railway with a capital stock of $5,000,000 to take over the Greenville, Spartanburg & Anderson Railway and other properties which they control but which are not yet specified. The company will be incorporated by J. B. Duke, Somerville, N. J.; B. N. Duke, New York City; Samuel McRoberts, New York City; W. S. Lee, Charlotte,
NC; Ellison A. Smyth, Greenville, and Lewis W. Parker, Greenville."
The Electric Railway Journal of October 27, 1917 reported: "Piedmont & Northern Railway, Charlotte, NC — The construction of an extension from Greenville [SC] to Camp Sevier [SC] is being considered by the Piedmont & Northern Railway."
The Electric Railway Journal of December 8, 1917 reported: "Piedmont & Northern Railway, Charlotte, NC — A contract has been awarded to the Porter & Boyd Construction Company by the Piedmont & Northern Railway to construct a 2-mile spur from Spartanburg [SC] to Camp Wadsworth [SC]."
The Electric Railway Journal of November 16, 1918 reported: "Two army training camps — Camp Sevier, 5 miles north of Greenville, SC, and Camp Wadsworth, 5 miles south of Spartanburg — were located on the company's lines in 1917. At Camp Sevier, tracks and station buildings were constructed at a cost of $12,663,
and at Camp Wadsworth at a cost of $54,644 to take care of government business. The company also purchased eight passenger coaches and constructed four electric locomotives. The President's proclamation of Dec. 28, 1917, included this property under government control."
Click Here for the South Carolina Department of Archives & History site showing photos of the Piedmont & Northern Railway depot at Greer, SC.

Towns on Route (in SC):

Line #1 - Spartanburg to Greenwood:


Tucapau > Startex (1949)

Lyman (1924)



Chick Springs








Honea Path


Shoals Junction



Line #2 - Belton to Anderson:




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