Charleston & Western Carolina Railway

Charleston & Western Carolina Railway ten-wheeler locomotive

In 1894, the South Carolina legislature forced the financially ailing Central of Georgia to give up its railroad properties in that state. These were the Port Royal & Augusta Railway, which ran from the South Carolina coast to Augusta, and the Port Royal & Western Carolina Railway, which linked Augusta with Greenville and several other towns in the South Carolina piedmont.C&WC Logo

The Central had gained control of the PR&A in 1881, primarily to prevent it from capturing freight traffic that otherwise might go via Central rails to Savannah. To further feed traffic to Savannah, the Central helped construct the PR&WC and soon gained control over it too.

Only about 14 miles of the two railways were in Georgia, but Georgia was seeing most of the benefit, according to South Carolina. After the Central was pushed out, the Charleston & Western Carolina was organized, in 1896, to operate the lines.

The Atlantic Coast Line gained control of the C&WC in the following year. It was not, however, until 1959 that the smaller road was merged into the parent line.

Charleston and Western Carolina Railway

In 1917 the C&WC reported 340 miles of railroad including 246 miles from Port Royal through Augusta to Spartanburg; 58 miles from McCormick to Anderson, SC; and 36 miles from Laurens to Greenville, SC.

Equipment reported (June 30, 1916) included 60 locomotives, 40 passenger cars, 734 box cars, 208 flat cars, 49 gondolas, 92 coal cars, 5 stock cars, 30 cabooses, and 82 service cars.

View of railroad bridge, canal, and waterworks.

The C&WC crossed the Augusta Canal beside the city's 1898 waterworks building. (For a brief history and more photographs of the waterworks, see this page online at the Library of Congress. For similar information on the canal, see this page at the LOC).

Charleston & Western Carolina Railway locomotive 209

Ten-wheel locomotive built by Baldwin for C&WC. (From: Baldwin Locomotive Works, Record of Recent Construction, no. 5. Online at HathiTrust Digital Library here.)

Maps, Timetables, and Other Information:

1907 system map (358K)

1916 map, Augusta area (74K)

1916 system map (533K)

1916 timetable (396K)

1917 equipment list (317K)

1953-57 map, Augusta area (357K)

C&WC locomotive photos at


Charleston and Western Carolina Railway Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey.

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