SAL in Charleston : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I was recently and very briefly in Charleston, SC for the very frist time (other than passing through at night aboard a train). I could see from maps I obtained where the former SAL entered town from the north, and it would appear that much of the marine terminal are might be former SAL property. I know most of SAL's passenger trains missed Charleston altogether, but I'm curious as to what passenger and freight route(s) it took through town. Did it skirt the town to the north, or did it cross the Ashely River heading south toward Savannah?

-- Doug Riddell (, August 28, 1999


Hampton Park is correct; a favorite playground of mine when visiting cousins in Charleston, 1929 on a few years. -- One could see te castellations of Citadel building rooftops in passing on 25 or 26. We lived at Wiggins, Stono, Cordseville, Dale and Meggetts during dads service as Agt/Opr. I left Meggetts in 1944. Rode Boll Weevil freequently. Motor Cars 2019 and 2020 were the regulars with now and then tow by steam out of Cooper Yard or Andrews, usually. Nos 25 and 26 usually met anywhere from Andrews to Cordesville. Motormen operated all way Hamlet-Savannah and reverse. Dan Bazemore was one; can't remember the other regular. -- Sometimes saw different non on motors; 2022 and 2023 come to mind. Some were distillates, others gasoline. -- Told Goolsby I'd like to do a "growing up on EC" with family tales, and such. Will proably do it, anyway, publish or no, just for family. I have pic of Wiggins depot at my age 3. -- 73, Don Copeland

-- Clarnce Donelly Copeland (, May 08, 2003.

The name of the park is Hampton Park. I lived across the street from the park on Moultrie Street. My dad and I used to walk up to the Grove Street station, when I was four to see the trains go by. I remember seeing the last passenger train come in. As I recall, the passenger trains use to come to the Grove St station backing in from the north and then returning to the mainline that way.

-- Juan Manigault (, October 02, 1999.

Gentlemen! Tom was right about the heavy traffic. I understand that the freights and passenger locals used to do 70 on that line. It was straight, level, and very-well built with lots of drawbridges and other neat stuff. It had a whole lot of agricuyltural business and more than a few lumber-railroad connections. There's another building still standing in West Ashley, Doug, and you can still see part of the right-of-way there too. Leave downtown on Highway 17 towards Savannah and go about two miles, then turn right on Wappoo Road. Just there at the intersection is an old depot/produce shed and you can see the old roadbed there. If you turn left at that intersection, you'll soon cross the remains of an ACL branch that left the mainline north of Rantwoles and went to a few industires along the Ashley River (across from downtown). I lived in Charleston for five years...was a C-141 navigator there...and loved every minute of it. I bought a house about 100 yards from the South Drayton Hall siding. What a life! One last note--before I ramble on too much--I would absolutely write an article for the newsletter, with by-lines for all, just to get more information on the line. In fact, it has been a long-term goal of mine to put together just such an article. HOWEVER...since I'm currently serving with the Air Force in Korea (I don't come back home until June 2000), getting to my research material is tough. I have some things here and my awesome wife can forward me the rest, if necessary. I have plenty of time to assemble and write articles here, so if you'd all consider sending me the info then I'll write it. I have no SAL-era pictures to contribute. Think about it and I'd love to hear your thoughts! JG

-- John Golden (, August 29, 1999.

I can't add too much to John's excellent response except to say that the EC line now effectively ends just south of the Shipyard River Coal Terminal/Exxon facilities in Charleston due to a condemmed trestle.

The SAL/ACL crossing in Charleston was protected by the ACL's Town Creek interlocking tower. The SAL/Sou crossing was protected by an SAL interlocking tower (name unknown to me). The SAL had a wye on the mainline between ACL and Sou crossings. From the wye the SAL accessed the Union Station (via ACL), the SAL wharf on the Cooper River, and SAL feight warehouse on East Bay St. The SAL warehouse still stands and is now occupied by a Harris Teeter Supermarket.

As John pointed out, Cooper Yard was the main SAL facility in Charleston. The yard had a coaling tower, water tanks, and a myriad of support structures. No turntable-engines turned on a wye. Hopefully, photos of this facility will surface someday.

Based on all the e-mail traffic the past year or two, I agree with John that an article is very much needed on this often overlooked SAL line. Anyone interested in co-authoring or writing it solo? BH

-- Buddy Hill (, August 28, 1999.


This line (from Charleston to Savannah) is one of my favorites - unfortunately, due to the demise of the old SAL vertical-lift bridge in Savannah, this line was abandoned in the early SCL years. Back in its heyday, the SAL opted to run fast merchadiser freights over this line (Savannah to Hamlet - known as the EC line), and ran some freight and all name passenger trains over the S line through Columbia. There was a local, known as the Boll-Weevil (Tr. 25 & 26) that ran this line - usually a single E-unit and two cars, or one of the "butt-head" gas-electrics and a coach. This train was discontinued in the 1950's. I remember as a child on our many trips to Hilton Head, crossing this line and occasionally seeing freights roar past at incredible speeds!

-Tom Alderman (Marietta, Ga.)

-- Tom Alderman (, August 28, 1999.

Hi Doug! A good portion of the old SAL route through town is still in place. Unfortunately I am not near my research material otherwise I'd give you a more detailed answer. Buddy Hill will hopefully provide you more accurate information too. As you said, the SAL line entered twon from the north, and ran north of the big Westvaco plant and into town near the ports, just on the south side of the navy bases. The remains of Cooper Yard are still in place for local switching just north of I-26, about a quarter-mile north of the old joint ACL-SRR line into downtown. Once into town, the line took a right turn and cut through the residential districts of the peninsula. It cut across town west of the Citadel and jumped across the Ashley River on a combination trestle/steel bridge (I think it was a swing bridge). You can still see the right of way through the park next to the Citadel (the park's name escapes me...). A small station was located at this site in the park to serve the little passenger trains from the late 20's through the end of passenger service in the 50's. Of course, the trackage through town is all gone, as well as the bridge and the rest of the south portion of the EC. Buddy can elaborate on the connections to Union Station (which is also gone). I'm glad you asked the question...we need to do some heavy research on this subject and publish an article in the newsletter. Good luck and let me know how your research turns out! JG

-- John Golden (, August 28, 1999.

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