Walterboro & Western : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I am trying to find information on the Walterbore & Western Railway. It ran I believe between Erhart, S.C. and Walterboro where it connected with the Charleston & Savannah's Green Pond branch. This all apparently became part of the Atlantic Coast Line at some point. The info that I seek is when was it built, when did it become part of the Coast Line and did it ever offer passenger service between Erhart and Walterboro? Thanks Gene McDaniel

-- gene mcdaniel (, July 23, 2000


The SCE&G coal fired power plant located at Canadys SC on the Edisto River is the only remaining industry that I know of that would generate traffic. The last time I visited the area around 1999, the trackage from Stokes, SC (location of the spur to the power plant) to Walterboro looked as though it hadn't seen a train in several years. Pretty sure CSX sold the branch to the H&B.

This former ACL branch was an interesting line. As of 1997 there were depots located in Walterboro, Williams, Ruffin, Lodge, and Ehrhardt. During the golden age of the branch, traffic consisted of cotton and other farm products from the Ehrhardt and Lodge areas, wood products from the area in and between Ruffin, Williams, Stokes, and Walterboro (see Tom Fetters book "Logging Railroads of SC"), and produce from the Ritter and Green Pond areas. A study of the line would make for a great Line South article - same goes for all the other ACL and SAL branches.

-- Buddy Hill (, January 06, 2002.

A look at a modern day rail map of this little section of S.C. shows a good bit of this old system to be still in place. The Bamberg- Ehrhardt- Maudinton (H&B Junction)segment is gone....but the line is in tact from there eastward to Walterboro. A line shown as the Hampton and Branchville connects from Maudinton southwestward to Hampton on the CWC. This line is shown to have crossed the BEW at Maudinton and continued on in an eastward direction through Padgetts, Smoaks, Canadys, Sydney, and terminating at Cottageville. This Maudlinton to Cottageville segment is long abandoned. All of this trackage is shown as most recently being the Hampton and Branchville Railroad. (The map even denotes the village of Miley, 6 or 8 miles northeast of Hampton as as the site of a one time passenger station with an 'engine facility'.) What is the frequency of train movements on these tracks today and what customers/industries are there on line? Who owns this trackage?

-- Greg Hodges (, January 04, 2002.

Things were a bit more complicated. The Plant System bought the Savannah & Charleston in June of 1880 and changed it to the Charleston & Savannah Railway. The company then set up the Green Pond, Walterboro and Branchville, but this line only reached Walterboro, so the Branchville was only a dream of establishing a connection with the South Carolina Railway System that branched there with lines to Charleston, Augusta, Columbia and Camden. The associated Columbia Newberry and Laurens extended from Columbia to Newberry; and the Carolina, Cumberland Gap and Chicago extended from Aiken to Fairfield. There was also a Barnwell branch. (That digressed a bit as that is an entirely different operation.) In 1894, Plant chartered the Walterboro & Western which built from Walterboro to Ehrhardt. In 1900, the W&W was merged with the GP,W&B RAILWAY to become the GP,W&B RAILROAD which ran from Green Pond to Ehrhardt. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad formed in 1900 and purchased the Plant System in 1902. Things got tricky just before this purchase was made. The Plant Investment Company was chartered in South Carolina on July 10, 1901 to protect Plant's interests. The PICo was to become known as the Savannah Florida & Western Railway and was to include the former SF&W, the Charleston & Savannah; the Brunswick & Western, The Alabama Midland; the Silver Springs Ocala & Gulf, and the Tampa and Thonotusassa RR. Then on October 12, the PICo added these lines: the Ashley River RR; the Abbeville Southern; the Green Pond, Walterboro & Branchville. and the Southwestern Alabama Railway. A year later, the PICo was placed under the control fo the ACL.

Even MORE interesting, the Bamberg, Ehrhardt & Walterboro was formed in 1906 to connect Bamberg on the Southern Railway to the ACL at Ehrhardt. This was one of the W C Wolfe lines, but with parallel service offered by the C&WC, the SAL and the SR, the little line got little traffic. Wolfe leased the rails from the ACL and later, through a court order, the rails were re-possessed. The ACL pulled them up and the BE&W ceased to exist in late 1939. Is this the only case where a railroad lost its rails and stopped running, but never abandoned the route?

Tom Fetters

-- Tom Fetters (, January 03, 2002.

The first segment of the Ehrhardt Branch of the ACL was built by the GREEN POND, WALTERBORO & BRANCHVILLE R.R. from Green Pond, on the mainline of the Charleston & Savannah RR, to Walterboro, SC, 12 miles, and opened in March 1887. The WALTERBORO & WESTERN R.R. was formed in 1894 and opened in 1896 from Walterboro to Ehrhardt's, 25 miles. Fourteen of the 25 miles had been purchased from a logging railroad. Both the GP W & B and the W & W were apparently operated by the Savannah Florida & Western, the "Plant System", who also controlled the C & S. Both components of the branch were merged into the Plant System in September 1901, and the Plant System came under control of the ACL in July 1902. A schedule of passenger service for the W & W is unavailable to this writer. A December 1901 timetable of the Plant System shows one roundtrip a day except Sunday, Ehrhardt's-Green Pond and back. The train left Ehrhardt's at 4:45am, arriving Green Pond at 8:00am. The return left Green Pond at 5pm and chugged back into Ehrhardt's at 8pm, three hours for 37 total miles. This would suggest that the branch loco was stabled at Ehrhardt's, perhaps in a one stall engine shed(?).

-- Tom Underwood (, July 23, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ