ACL and SAL North Charleston and Charleston Lines : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I am unfamiliar with the geography of Charleston, S.C. However, I understand that most ACL Florida-bound passenger trains avoided Charleston Union Station because it was on a long branch from Ashley Junction (?) and would have involved an awkward reversal and consequent loss of time? Was Charleston North Station situated to the north of Ashley Junction?

Also, most Official Railway Guides quote the distance over the ACL main line between Richmond and Savannah as 509.1 miles. In particular, North Charleston 392.4 miles, Charleston Union Station 398.6 miles, and Johns Island 413.4 miles. Does the 509.1-mile Richmond-Savannah figure include a double trip from North Charleston into Union station and then back again to North Charleston? If so, could anyone please tell me what the shorter distance was between Richmond and Savannah?

A similar situation occurs with the SAL line between Hamlet and Savannah. The distance is quoted as 262.9 miles. In particular, North Charleston 161.0 miles, Charleston 167.9 miles. Again, does the 262.9-mile Hamlet-Savannah figure include a double trip? Any details would be appreciated. Thank you.

-- Stephen Dale (, July 24, 2001



Some of the information regarding ACL passenger train operations in the Charleston area can be found under the previous answers heading of Specific Locales - Old ACL mainline in Charleston. To answer some of your questions: Yes-the stuccoed N. Charleston Station was located to the north of the Ashley Jct. wye. Yes-many passenger trains bypassed the Charleston Union Station. In the heyday of passenger trains, premier trains such as the Champion and Florida Special passed through without stopping at all. Trains such as the Havana Special only stopped at the N. Charleston Station and avoided the trip down the peninsula into the Union Station. Passengers heading to downtown Charleston were transported to town on busses, which in the late 30s were painted in the ACL's purple, silver, and yellow scheme. Other passenger trains such as the Palmetto Limited made the time consuming trip to the Union Station and back.

I don't know if the mileage for the round trip to the Union Station was factored into the total mileage. However, my hometown is located south of the former Johns Island station on the exACL mail line and the milepost identifies it as being located 406 miles south of Richmond. While I can't recall ever looking at an Official Guide, I'm wondering if that publication used Richmond's Broad Street Station (located on the RF&P) as the starting point for calculating mileage rather than the south end of the James River Bridge which I believe is the technically where the ACL began. That would account for some of the additional miles. Sorry I could not be more helpful- hopefully others can provide the information you are seeking.

-- Buddy Hill (, July 24, 2001.

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