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Joe the Photog
11-01-2012, 08:08 AM
Pending STB approval, there is a new shortline railroad coming to South Carolina. The Aiken Railway is set to take over two branches from Norfolk Southern in Aiken, SC; 12.45 miles between Warrenville, SC and Oakwood, SC, and 6.45 miles between Aiken, SC and Seclay (North Aiken), SC. The Warrenville to Oakwood line was chatered in 1827 as the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company, which was the state's first railroad. The Aiken to North Aiken line was completed by the Edgefield, Trenton & Aiken Railroad in 1879.

Norfolk Southern currently operates the lines with local P22.

The Aiken Railway will be the second shortline to be operated by the Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation. It's other line is the Greenville & Western which operates nearly 13 miles of rail line in Anderson, SC.

Links and References --

Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation (http://www.wcrscorp.com/index.html)
Aiken Railway -- STB Filing (http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/d6ef3e0bc7fe3c6085256fe1004f61cb/1dc12f482084774985257aa80053bda5/$FILE/233279.PDF)

Greenville & Western

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Aiken, SC (P22 Local)

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ShortlinesUSA
11-02-2012, 03:20 AM
Thanks for posting this, Joe. I heard some mention it may have been the Pickens who would be the new operator, but wasn't solid enough to post. So this came as a bit of a surprise to me, and also reassured that choice not to be in a rush to print speculative info!

It would be nice if that little bit on Carolina Rails about the power being a pair of GP30s comes true, but I'm definitely in "wait and see" mode on that one. Given the owner of Western Carolina Rail Services seems to be a bit of a buff, it would not surprise me to see some sort of nod to the line's history in the logo and/or paint scheme.

Please keep us apprised of any further details you pick up.

Joe the Photog
11-02-2012, 07:05 AM
Yeah, I was really surprised when I heard it wasn't going to be the Pickens just because the source is trusted. I haven't talked to him since, but I'd love to know some "inside baseball" on this. I'm going to try to get some official confirmation on the GP30s tomorrow. I guess there are still some ex-Santa Fe GP30s that could be bought on the free market.

A lot of people go with the "First and wrong is still first" theory when telling what they know. Not going with the original "news" was a good call!

ShortlinesUSA
11-02-2012, 08:14 AM
Indeed, ex ATSF/BNSF GP30s are plentiful at LTE right now, and there are even a few oddball GP30s hiding in backlots at places such as NRE. It is definitely within the scope of reality for a couple of GP30s to power the line.

Joe the Photog
11-03-2012, 12:59 AM
Steven Hawkins, President of the Aiken Railway (and the Greenville & Western) confirmed for me that they are bringing in two ex-AT&SF GP30s (now should be GP30Us) from LTEX. Here is the information from him --

BNSF 2464, S/N 28088, Frame 7642-31, Built 4/1963
Originally ATSF 1265, then ATSF 3265, then ATSF 2765

BNSF 2473, S/N 28098, Frame 7642-41, Built 5/1963
Originally ATSF 1275, then ATSF 3275, then ATSF 2775

Start up power will actually be a SW1500. The 2464 and 2473 will go to the Greenville & Western for what hecalls some "minor external modifications" before being shipped to Belton. Last shots I have found of either unit has them still in full Santa Fe bluebonnet paint with BNSF under the number and AT&SF on the long hood.

ShortlinesUSA
11-04-2012, 12:50 PM
Thanks for confirmation, Joe! This is great news, as GP30s are a personal favorite of mine. I know what's next on the agenda in South Carolina (behind trying to actually catch the Hampton & Branchville running).

Joe the Photog
11-06-2012, 08:50 AM
LTEX SW1500 #1543 is in Augusta now enrote to Aiken. I believe it is former Southern Pacific by way of Uncle Pete painted in an attractive red and silver/grey scheme with silver/grey trucks.

Joe the Photog
12-02-2012, 01:31 PM
The Aiken Railway starts operation tomorrow. Unconfirmed, by Joseph Johns posted on the Carolina Rails Facebook page that they are getting underway at 2 p.m. with the LTEX SW1500 that is already on property. The two former Santa Fe GP30s are in Belton, SC with Greenville & Western reporting marks.