Sunday, May 8, 2011

South Carolina - Railroad Depots along the Way (#1)

On our recent trip, after leaving Beaufort South Carolina, we trundled on north via mostly state 2-lane highways.  Along the way, we consulted our listing of surviving depots that might be still standing in the small towns that we were passing through…

This is the old passenger depot in Varnville South Carolina.  It was built back in the 1880’s by the Charleston and Western Carolina railroad.  The first railroad to pass through this area was the Port Royal and Augusta Railroad.  Varnville was originally known as Dixie Station.  As you can see, the local community came together, raised the necessary monies and saved the old depot.

This is the former Hampton and Branchville Railroad passenger depot in Hampton South Carolina.   The town of Hampton was named for Wade Hampton, a well known Confederate Army General and a former governor of South Carolina.  The railroad is still in operation, having been in business since 1891.  It has changed quite a bit and it’s now down to 40 miles of track, 8 locomotives and 14 employees.

Here are two of the 8 Diesel Locomotives still in use by the H and B Railroad… These former C and O engines are both General Motors Electro-Motive GP-9’s.  GM built a total of 4,115 of these units between 1954 and 1963.  Norfolk and Western Railroad also supplied a number of GP-9’s to the H and B Railroad.  While these engines could sure use a bit of paint, they’re still regularly hauling coal down the line to the South Carolina Electric and Gas Power Plant in Canadys.

In the town of Brunson, a ‘old timer’ we encountered told us that this building was the old passenger depot for the Charleston and Augusta Railway.  Subsequent research described this building as the old Town Hall…dating from the 1870’s.  It’s an interesting building…but it’s not the depot.  Via a bit more exploration of the Internet, I found photos of the old depot…not even close…and somehow we missed the real thing.

This is the combined Charleston and Western Carolina Depot in Fairfax South Carolina.   It was built in the late 1800’s replacing an earlier depot that had burned down.  At this point this handsome structure is fully renovated and it’s being used as an office.  In the early days, Fairfax was known as Sanders , (that is, around the post office), and the train stop was called Campbell’s Station.  The two later combined to become Fairfax.  It’s a nice restoration job…but the Christmas lights should be removed asap… It’s May already!!   
More depots will come your way in the next 2 or 3 weeks…  To view a very nice collection of photos pertaining to South Carolina railroad depots, just check out this website:

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