South Carolina Canal & Rail Road Company
The South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company was chartered in South Carolina in 1828 for the purpose of expanding trade between Charleston and the west. The company’s 136-mile railroad from Charleston to Hamburg, South Carolina, across the Savannah River from Augusta, opened in 1833.
A pioneering steam locomotive named the Best Friend of Charleston (above) pulled the early trains along a six-mile route leading out of that city. Hauling four or five cars with 40 or more passengers, it could run at 16 to 21 miles per hour.
In 1843 the company merged with the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad Company to become the South Carolina Railroad Company.
For various legal reasons, it was not until 1853 that the South Carolina Railroad Company was able to build a railroad bridge over the river into Augusta.
In 1881 the railroad was reorganized as the South Carolina Railway Company.
Maps and Timetables:
1833 map at Library of Congress
1863 timetable (223K)
1870 timetable (186K)
Thomas Fetters. The Charleston & Hamburg; A South Carolina Railroad and an American Legacy. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 1988.
Angus Sinclair. Growth of the Locomotive. Railway and Locomotive Engineering. April 1903, pages 161-64. Online at Internet Archive here.
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