Old 09-16-2013, 06:31 PM   #1
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Default Aiken Railway Gets A GP30

Aiken Railway Set To Get Own Power

Aiken Railway (AIKR) is set to get their own motive power on the two former Southern Railway branchlines they operate in their namesake town in South Carolina. Formed when Norfolk Southern sold the lines to Western Carolina Railway Service Corporation, the Aiken Railway has been leasing LTEX SW1500 #1543 since starting up in December 2012.

Meanwhile, two GP30s bought from Larry’s Truck and Electric have been undergoing work in Belton, SC on sister railroad, Greenville & Western. Steven C. Hawkins, CEO and President of the Western Carolina Railway, said that extensive work was done on both units while in Belton. APU’s were added for winter freeze protection to warm the engines lube oil and cooling water while charging the batteries. Ditch lights were added to the long hood end for single unit running while the front headlights were raised from their former position on the short hood above the cab. New pilots were fabricated and crossover platforms were welded in a fixed position.


But it is the cosmetic changes that railfans will notice first. The engine was painted in a two tone green with “Aiken” in white lettering on the sides and both ends. “I wanted something that looked classy and respectable that would fit with the community in which AIKR operates while paying homage to the 180-year heritage of the railroad,” Hawkins said. The overall styling is based on Great Northern’s “Hustle Muscle” paint scheme, Hawkins said, with colors similar to Northern Pacific and Southern while sticking with the base Chicago & Northwestern Green used on the two Greenville & Western GP9s.
The units were former BNSF 2464 and 2473, built for the Santa Fe in 1963 and wore the famous blue and yellow livery. They were renumbered 4201 and 4202 and were delivered to South Carolina wearing GRLW reporting marks for the Greenville & Western. Now 4202 has been repainted and lettered for the new railroad. After making several test runs on the Greenville & Western, Hawkins expects it to ship on Monday from Belton on the Pickens Railway to the Norfolk Southern interchange in Anderson, SC before making its way to Aiken through Linwood, NC.

The Aiken Railway operates two branches of the Norfolk Southern line which runs from Columbia to Augusta. One thirteen mile segment runs between Warrenville and Oakwood while the second branch runs nearly six and a half miles between Aiken and Seclay. The Warrenville to Oakwood line was chartered in 1827 as the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company and was the state's first railroad. The Aiken to North Aiken line was completed by the Edgefield, Trenton & Aiken Railroad in 1879.

Meanwhile, Hawkins says the 4201 should be complete by mid to late October.

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Old 09-16-2013, 09:24 PM   #2
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Interesting to find that a 6 mile and 13 mile shortline could actually somehow be profitable. What exactly do they haul and what industries are on these lines?
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by troy12n View Post
Interesting to find that a 6 mile and 13 mile shortline could actually somehow be profitable. What exactly do they haul and what industries are on these lines?
Troy, our Aiken operation is one whole operation with a total of 18 miles of trackage, not two separate segments as you make it seem. There are 4 active customers on that line. All which use steady rail service/traffic. You have Active Minerals, and WR Grace on the AB line and you have AGY (Aiken Glass/Owens Corning) and a Feed & Seed (Can't remember the name) on the SA Line just East of the Yard. Steve has a good track record for reactivating rail service, GRLW is a prime example of that. So I am excited to see what all he has planned for AIKR.
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:48 AM   #4
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Actually, the article made it seem like there is two separate operations..

Quote:
..two separate branches..


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Old 09-17-2013, 12:45 PM   #5
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Actually, the article made it seem like there is two separate operations..





Loyd L.
Definitely the same railroad, same operation, but I'm going to have to go back and look at this again. Perhaps the wording was tricky. "Two seperate branches" but connected to one another. Their web site makes it clear that the histories of the two lines are distinct. I editted the above to take out "seperate."

http://www.wcrscorp.com/railroads.html

And a map ogf the operation --

http://carolinarails.org/counties/aiken/aiken.html

The web site I borrowed that one from has not updated it to be AIKR yet, but you can see the branch off the NS line from Warrenville and another branch off that line to North Aiken.
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Old 09-17-2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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Troy, our Aiken operation is one whole operation with a total of 18 miles of trackage, not two separate segments as you make it seem. There are 4 active customers on that line. All which use steady rail service/traffic. You have Active Minerals, and WR Grace on the AB line and you have AGY (Aiken Glass/Owens Corning) and a Feed & Seed (Can't remember the name) on the SA Line just East of the Yard. Steve has a good track record for reactivating rail service, GRLW is a prime example of that. So I am excited to see what all he has planned for AIKR.
Ok, thanks. The way you describe it, it is odd that NS would try to get rid of the line. This type of stuff CSX does all the time (or did anyway), but NS would tend to keep a line around if it's got customers. I am not that familiar with the area, but Aiken if I remember isnt too far from Augusta, I am sure they have a local out of Augusta that served it.

I guess it worked out in their favor.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:05 PM   #7
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Ok, thanks. The way you describe it, it is odd that NS would try to get rid of the line. This type of stuff CSX does all the time (or did anyway), but NS would tend to keep a line around if it's got customers. I am not that familiar with the area, but Aiken if I remember isnt too far from Augusta, I am sure they have a local out of Augusta that served it.

I guess it worked out in their favor.
Aiken is about 30 mins north of Augusta. The NS job that worked it was P22 which was based out of Aiken and was worked by a Columbia crew not Augusta.
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:36 PM   #8
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Troy;

NS has done this before in the Carolinas with the SB Line in Lancaster and the line in Blacksburg. The line in Lancaster was sold to the L&C. I'd have to double check to see if the line in Blacksburg was sold to Carolina Coastal or just leased.
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Old 09-17-2013, 11:10 PM   #9
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Default Opearations overview?

Ant and Joe,

Can you guys elaborate on days and times of operations of these lines? As well as the base of operation location.

Easp do they run anything on Fridays and weekend?

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Old 09-18-2013, 11:30 PM   #10
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Ant and Joe,

Can you guys elaborate on days and times of operations of these lines? As well as the base of operation location.

Easp do they run anything on Fridays and weekend?

CM
Greenville & Western *GRLW* Belton, SC (My Main Base)

7 Day a week operations. Monday-Friday we're on duty at 1400. Saturdays and Sundays are on call (as needed). It could be anything from bringing a unit train online, to switching a customer, or CSX running an extra local to interchange cars.

Aiken *AIKR* Aiken, South Carolina.

5 Day a week operations. (Monday- Friday). Typically on duty at 1200, but it depends on what all has to be done for the day. Basically if the locomotive isn't by the depot they are out and about somewhere.
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Old 11-15-2013, 04:03 PM   #11
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Default Aikr 4201

AIKR 4201 is completed and will begin test runs within the next week before being shipped to Aiken. The next project is the completion of the shoving platform for AIKR.

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Old 11-16-2013, 11:51 PM   #12
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Thanks for this update, Ant! Looking like my visit to Charleston between Christmas and New Years is well timed. I'll plan a side trip over to Aiken to visit y'all and see these beautiful GP30s in action.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:04 AM   #13
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I still got to get down to Aiken too. Hard to do working first Monday through Friday.
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