The Blue Ridge Railway                               

     The Blue Ridge Railway was the noble name of what was going to be a noble railroad scheme, one that would stretch from Charleston, South Carolina over the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, and then up to Louisville, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.
   
      Unfortunately, the best laid plans of mice, men, and railroad barons are oft-times derailed, as it was in the case of the Blue Ridge Railway. Antebellum Politics, competing lines, the War of Northern Aggression, and corrupt Reconstruction legislators all led to the Blue Ridge Railway being the prototype way of NOT how to build and run a railroad.

      By the mid-1880's, the grandiose idea of this railroad was controlled by the Columbia & Greenville, and reduced to little more than a 44 mile sidetrack that ran into Belton, Anderson, Seneca, and Walhalla, South Carolina. In 1895, after a major reorganization of most railroads of the south, most notably, the Richmond & Danville, the Blue Ridge Railway Company was again re-organized, though still controlled and operated by the C&G. By 1901, the Blue Ridge Railway was foreclosed as collateral from the C&G to the Southern Railway, and it was operated as a semi-independent shortline under the Southern's umbrella.

      At this time, the Blue Ridge actually began the first "independent" operation of its life. Locomotives 1 and 2, a pair of old 4-4-0 steam locomotives were purchased from the C&G as its first motive power. Over the next few decades, the venerable 4-6-0 "Ten Wheeler" style of locomotive was the engine style of choice.

      In the Twentieth Century, the Blue Ridge Railway ran from the Southern Railway Washington-Atlanta mainline to Walhalla SC, interchanging with the Southern, Charleston & Western Carolina, and the Piedmont & Northern.
     In 1952, the Blue Ridge Railway was leased to the Carolina & North-Western Railway, becoming the Anderson Division of the C&N-W. A pair of Alco RS-3 diesels replaced the aging fleet of steam locomotives and served the railroad for many years.
     By the late 1950's, Southern Railway motive power began showing up on the railroad, and eventually, all operations were turned over from the C&N-W to the Southern. By 1972, there was little evidence that the Blue Ridge was ever an independent company with a long and storied past.

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