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Look Ahead, Look South

Railroads have been a presence in Columbia for more than a hundred and fifty years. All around town, you are bound to run into signs of their activity past and present, from the former Union Station (now California Dreamin’ restaurant) and Seaboard Air Line Station (now the Blue Marlin), to Norfolk Southern’s Andrews Yard near Williams Brice Stadium and CSX’s yard across the river in Cayce.

Historically the city was served by the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line, and the Southern Railway (an advertising motto for which serves as the title of this post). There was also a regional line, the Columbia, Newberry & Laurens Railroad, acquired by the Atlantic Coast Line in the 1920s and featured passenger service from Union Station to Laurens. The ACL and SAL merged in the 1960s to form the Seaboard Coast Line, which in the 1980s combined with the Chessie System to become CSX, while the Southern merged with Norfolk & Western in 1982 to form Norfolk Southern. Both continue operations here. Amtrak provides passenger service with stops at its station off of Huger Street for the Silver Star route.

Check out RCPL’s collection for books on railroads of regional interest, as well as other legendary American railroads such as the Pennsylvania, Union Pacific, and many others. Look in the 385 call number area for books on railroad companies and their histories, and in 625 for books on railroad equipment (locomotives, cars, etc.)

Recommended railroad reads:

  • Logging Railroads of South Carolina
  • Norfolk Southern Railway
  • Rails Through the Wiregrass
  • The Southern Railway
  • Through the Heart of the South
  • The West Point Route

Bland L. Says: Well-written history of this legendary predecessor of Norfolk Southern.
Amazon Says: Davis traces railroad development in the South by a cast of remarkable entrepreneurs and the subsequent creation of the Southern Railway's network from the ruins of those earl more...
Amazon Says: Davis traces railroad development in the South by a cast of remarkable entrepreneurs and the subsequent creation of the Southern Railway's network from the ruins of those early enterprises. This is also a full account of the many innovations wrought by the Southern's leaders: the first major railroad to convert to diesel power; a pioneer in mechanized maintenance of right-of-way; the use of gigantic box cars to carry bulky cargo; and the operation of coal trains in continuous shuttle.Originally published in 1985.A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value. less...
Amazon

Bland L. Says: Actually refers to two distinct operations, the Atlanta and West Point Rail Road and the Western Railway of Alabama.
Amazon Says: "The Seaboard Air Line didn't own any airplanes. It was not an airline. It was a railroad -- and a pretty darn good one at that." Seaboard pioneered the use of articulated ste more...
Amazon Says: "The Seaboard Air Line didn't own any airplanes. It was not an airline. It was a railroad -- and a pretty darn good one at that." Seaboard pioneered the use of articulated steam locomotives, introduced the first streamlined passenger train in the U.S. Southeast, and initiated important technological changes in the rail industry. less...
Amazon
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