Kings Mountain Railroad & the
                               Chester and Lenoir Narrow Gauge

       The Carolina & N-W railway had its roots in the antebellum Kings Mountain Railroad that ran from Chester, SC, to York, SC. By 1874, the Kings Mountain RR was purchased by the Chester & Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad, with plans to extend the line to Lenoir, NC. It took ten years to reach Lenoir, with 0-6-0 #2 (right), reaching the terminus of the line on May 17, 1884.  Two weeks later, 4-4-0  #4 (below) pulled the first regularly scheduled train into Lenoir. At over 120 miles, the railroad was the largest narrow gauge railroad, by far, in either of the Carolinas.
      Over the course of the next decade, the railroad operated under the umbrella of the Richmond & Danville, essentially consolidating thru  passenger  trains with the Chester & Cheraw, running trains from Lancaster, SC, to Lenoir, NC.

   In 1894, the R&D was re-organized as the Southern Railway, and the C&L operated on its own for a few years. By 1896, robber baron tactics of the Southern forced the railroad into receivership, and it was re-organized as the Carolina & North-Western Railway. Though technically controlled by the Southern, this shortline, more than any other  in the Southern Railway family, was allowed to operate almost autonomously.
       By 1902, the C&N-W was standard gauged, and it purchased a controlling interest in a logging railroad, the Caldwell & Northern, that ran from Lenoir to Colletsville, NC.

By 1906, the railroad had been expanded to Edgemont, NC, and the railroad was nearly 150 miles long. Logging and timber boomed north-west of Lenoir, and
contributed to the growth of Lenoir and Hickory, NC as the renowned furniture capital of the world. 
  In 1912, new shops were built in Hickory, and within a decade, a locomotive, #167 (left), was even built in the shops. Here, it is shown under the shed at Chester, where photos of this railroad are hard to come by.


          From the early 1910s, through the 1940s, passenger trains were handled mainly by little 4-6-0's like #207 (right), and her sister, #206.
         Freight was initially handled by four little
2-8-0's (#270- #273), below, though by the end of the 1920's, second hand K-class Southern Railway Consolidations began appearing on the railroad (below, right).  By 1938, the railroad was abandoned from west Lenoir to Edgemont, and passenger service was discontinued in 1947.  By 1948, steam was completely gone from the railroad and replaced by diesels.

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