View Full Version : The neatest shortline there never was

10-23-2009, 09:08 PM
Some of you may be familiar with (or heard tales of) a lime green coal train that used to ply the rails of the L&N and then Seaboard System in the southeast. The "railroad" was called the Oneida & Western, and was actually a company-owned train operated for the Shamrock Coal Company. This way, the company did not have to worry about the availability of railroad cars and locomotives for delivery of its product.

There were 8 SD40-2s built to L&N specifications, two trainsets (usually run at 72 cars), and two cabooses (UP CA-11 type bay window) all painted in the unusual paint scheme.

I was fortunate enough to live near the destination coal plant for many of these trains-- SCE&G's Bushy Park power station, known as "Middleton trains" on SBD and now CSX. I was in my early teens, and my photography during this time period could pretty much be summed up in one term-- awful. In reviewing my slides recently, only a handful of presentable images have been found. This particular shot is at the south end of Bennett Yard in Charleston, while the train awaits a new crew to continue to Atlanta. This is a 25 year old Kodachrome 25, and it looks like it was taken yesterday. I can't say the same for the Ektachromes in my collection. I preferred E6 for better turn around time (much like the youth of today prefer digital for the instant results), but in retrospect would have my whole collection on Kodachrome until it turned to the failing product now replaced by Provia for me.

Joe the Photog
10-24-2009, 02:27 AM
That's interesting. I was just thinking of the O&W today, if you can believe it. Somewhere on the net, I remember seeing three of these units on a train through Columbia (SC). Talk about ugly and rare! I'd chase it all day if I had a DeLorean.

10-24-2009, 03:59 AM
I prefer them in BCR red white and blue. >=D

10-25-2009, 07:55 PM

Sometimes the Middleton trains came via Columbia, and when they did, they would run the wye with the entire train at SY Tower in Charleston. Wasn't any big deal, because it had a manned caboose, so no need for anyone to ride or watch a long shove! If I'm not mistaken, some of the Wateree trains came from Shamrock, so that's also a possibility.

10-26-2009, 06:59 PM
Another neat little operation i was born 10 or so years too late to see. The trains were sometimes routed through Athens, GA on the Abbeville sub where i have lived most of my life and through Atlanta where i have been living the past few months. A very interesting operation, call me strange but i actually like the mint green paint. Trains magazine ran a good article on the operation a year back or so.

Mike Mullins
12-09-2009, 09:11 AM

The O&W was a mixed blessing, it added a nice flavor to what you might catch going down the mainline, but, it also helped bring on the introduction of Unit Trains. Although, I guess some other railroad would have done it shortly afterword if the O&W didn't.

Can't stop 'progress'..

- Mike Mullins