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South Carolina Short Line Railroads


Published: May 17, 2023

By: Adam Burns

Aiken Railway

(reporting mark, AIKR):  This short line began service in 2012, leasing 19 miles of Norfolk Southern trackage between Warrenville and Oakwood, and from Aiken to North Aiken.

Carolina Piedmont Railroad

(reporting mark, CPDR): This railroad is another of Genesee & Wyoming's large family of short lines. It operates between East Greenville and Laurens, about 34 miles of former ACL property, where it interchanges traffic with CSX.  Its traffic consists of plastics, gas turbines, wind turbines, chemicals, food products, and forest products.

East Cooper & Berkeley Railroad

(reporting mark, ECBR): This short line, which began service in 1978, operates about 17 miles of track and runs between State Junction and Charity Church with a connection to CSX.   The property is owned by the South Carolina Public Railways Commission and handles primarily steel and chemicals.

Greenville & Western Railway

(reporting mark, GRLW): This short line is owned by the Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation and operates right around 13 miles between Belton and Pelzer.  

The trackage is former Piedmont & Northern, a highly successful interurban, and began service during October of 2006 when it was acquired from CSX.  The railroad handles about 2,000 carloads annually with traffic including ethanol, scrap metal, limestone, fertilizer, feed products, plastics, and paper.

Hampton & Branchville Railroad

(reporting mark, HB): This historic short line operates about 40 miles of track and dates back to 1891 serving the region's timber industry. Today the railroad primarily handles coal (moved to the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company power plant at Canadys) and paper traffic, interchanging with CSX.

Lancaster & Chester Railway

(reporting mark, LC):  This historic system dates back to 1873 as a three-foot, narrow-gauge (converted to standard-gauge in 1902), although it acquired its current name in 1896.  Its slogan is

The Springmaid Line and it connected its namesake towns.  In 2001 it acquired nearly 31 miles from NS between Catawba and Kershaw providing it a current system of about 60 miles.

Pee Dee River Railway

(reporting mark, PDRR):  The Pee Dee River is a division of the Aberdeen & Rockfish, established in October of 1987 to operate 15 miles between McColl and Bennettsville over ex-CSX trackage.  Its customers include Domtar Paper Mill, two Flakeboard Mills, Mohawk Carpet, Hanson Aggregates, and Southern States.

Pickens Railway

(reporting mark, PICK):  Another historic South Carolina short line the Pickens Railway dates back to December 24, 1890 when it was chartered by the state, which had stepped in to see the line completed between Pickens and Easley, 9.9 miles.  

During the 1990s it added 28.5 miles to its network when it acquired trackage between Anderson, Belton, and Honea Path from NS.  This is currently its remaining system as the original main line was abandoned in 2013.  

Its traffic consists of kaolin, limestone, synthetic rubber, rubber processing oil, plastics, silica, scrap metal, paper, scrap paper, bird feed ingredients, farm supplies, and electrical equipment.

Port Terminal Railroad of South Carolina

(reporting mark, PTR): Based in the port city of Charleston this terminal railroad operates 10 miles of track serving both the port and nearby industries. It connects directly with CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Port Utilities Commission of Charleston

(reporting mark, PUCC): This terminal railroad directly serves the Port of Charleston, operating 10 miles of track that connects with both NS and CSX. 

RJ Corman - Carolina Lines

(reporting mark, RJCS):  Previously known as the Carolina Southern, this short line began service in 1995 taking over from the Waccamaw Coast Line a former CSX branch between Florence, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina as well as the branch to Myrtle Beach.  

The route's history traces back to the Atlantic Coast Line.  It has not seen freight service since 2012 while awaiting repairs to bridges along the route.  R.J. Corman began operations in March, 2016, renaming it as the company's Carolina Lines.

South Carolina Central Railroad

(reporting mark, SCRF):  This short line is another subsidiary of Genesee & Wyoming.  Its history dates back to 1987 when RailTex took over a pair of disconnected lines from CSX between Cheraw and Society Hill as well as between Bishopville and Florence (former SCL and ACL branches).  It handles more than 30,000 carloads annually that includes chemicals, plastics, trash, and other commodities.


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