Steam on the Southern Railway : LUSENET : Southern Railway : One Thread

When and what main line was steam last used ?

When and where was steam last used in any way ?

Also engine numbers to the above .


-- andy callahan (, February 19, 1999


Response to steam on the southern railway

Dear Andy,

There were quite a number of steam runs made after the official last run of steam on the Southern in 1953. The last of these runs I have heard about was on the Gaffney Switcher, which was a North End Charlotte Division local operating out of Gaffney SC. This run needed a light engine for use on the Cherokee Falls Branch and some industrial trackage around Gaffney. The engine involved was a 2-8-0 numbered 400. I have heard this story since first joining Southern in 1973. A Hayne shopman told me he signed the 400's ICC bluecard on 12-31-53 for continued service. The 400's career ended with a collision with a southbound Charleston Division local at Blacksburg SC. The 400 was too damaged to repair. The Gaffney Switcher engineer is still living, and he and I discussed this recently. At the time of the accident they had the understanding that this was the last steam assignment on the Southern. As for finding the exact date, I am still researching. An investigation into the collision was held, and the Gaffney Switcher crew found blameless. The Southern, however, was very secretive about these steam runs occurring after the last official steam trip on June 17, 1953 using the Ms-4 6330. They had done a lost of publicity and ads about this run, proclaiming Southern as the first big railroad to be completely dieselized. The later steam runs out of Hayne, Charlotte, Asheville, and Cincinnati were hushed up, with any records of their existance carefully guarded.

Ben Lee, engineer- North Charlotte District

-- Ben Lee (, February 22, 1999.

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