Saint Andrews Line south of Charleston : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

What were operations like on the old Saint Andrews branch that left the old ACL main line at Johns Island and headed north or northeast for 9 or so miles? In its early years (and when was it built) what traffic did it produce and receive; and what did it produce and receive in its later years? When was it abandoned? What was the crossing like where it and the SAL EC line crossed? Was ther any type of connection at this crossing? Was ther a tower? Were there any railroad facilities along the old Saint Andrews line? After the EC was abandoned, did some of the old EC trackage to Stono not survive and was then "worked" as part of the old Saint Andrews line? How often was the Saint Andrews line switched? Sorry, lots of questions, just curious.

Raymond Smith

-- Raymond Smith (, August 30, 2003


Most helpful an informative. Thanks, Raymond

-- Raymond Smith (, August 31, 2003.

Answers to some of your questions (sorry for the length).

1)The Charleston and Savanah RR was probably one of the most heavily defended railroads in the Confederacy and was the aim of several failed attacks by Federal forces between 1861 and 1864. The railroad finally lost its southern terminal with the occupation of Savannah by Gen. T. Sherman in December 1864. The railroad was destroyed in early 1865 as Federal forces advanced northward through SC and the destruction completed with the evacuation of Confederate forces from Charleston in Feb. of that year.

2) It is my understanding that the C&S ended at a wye on the west bank of the Ashley River opposite Charleston. A temporary bridge was constructed across the river during the War to connect the C&S with the SCRR/NERR. That bridge was removed after the war. The location of the bridge was near the old US Hwy 17 bridge (northbound) into Charleston.

3) The remains of the former C&S shops at the end of the line near Croghans were finally abandoned around 1917.

4) As Tom stated a cutoff was constructed between the C&S Johns Island Station and the Northeatern RR (at what would become Bennett Yard/Ashley Jct.).

5) After construction of the cutoff, the former C&S mainline from Johns Island to Croghans became a branchline. The area traversed by this segment of former C&S trackage consisted primarily of truck farms. Outbound traffic between the 1890s and the 1940s would have consisted of produce (cabbage, potatoes, beans, etc) with minor shipments of lumber,livestock, etc. Track scales and a water tank were once located at Johns Island to weigh reefers and water steam locomotives. In coming traffic would likely consisted of seed, fertilizer, livestock, etc.

6) In regard to latter day traffic I seem to recall a concrete plant located at Croghans in the 60s/70s. Seems there was also a small warehouse or two down that way as well (Wicks Lumber?). Recall grain silos being located at Johns Island in the 70s. Hopefully others can add to latter day sources of traffic. As a kid remember seeing a pair of GP-7s with one or two cars working the line near the Croghan area.

6) Pretty sure the line was finally abandoned sometime during the late 1980s. To my knowledge only the abandoned right of way remains and is now occupied by power lines.

7) With the abondonment of most of the EC south of Charleston in the late 60s, a switch was installed at Dupont Crossing where the Croghan Branch and EC mainline crossed. SCL locals would travel up the Croghan Branch and then down the EC line, cross the Stono River, to Stono SC located on Johns Island. Outgoing traffic consisted primarily of trailers of tomatoes. This operation ceased in the early (mid?) 1970s with the remaining EC trackage and Stono Drawbridge being dismantled.

8) Not really sure how the ACL/SAL crossing worked. From the ACL ETTs it sounds like ACL crews had to access a switch and set the signals against the SAL trains after waiting a minute or so to ensure no SAL trains were in the block. Haven't been able to determine if there were signals or gates on the Croghan branch governing the ACL trains. Hopefully, ex employees familiar with this operation can fill in the blanks. Would be nice to know as the ACL's Meggett Branch and Hollywood Spur crossed the SAL EC mainline four times.

Hope all this helps.

-- Buddy Hill (, August 31, 2003.

The ACL branch from St. Andrews to John's Island, SC, was originally the northeastern end of the mainline of the Charleston & Savannah RR, which opened on October 26th, 1860, just in time to be torn up by invading Yankees. Passengers and freight were taken by boat across the Ashley River from downtown Charleston to St.Andrews. The C&S had their repair shops at St.Andrews. The C&S line ran west to John's Island, then southwest and south to Charleston. The Ashley River was finally bridged in January 1878, a new line being built north/northeast of John's Island, crossing the Ashley, and then swinging right to approach Charleston from the northwest. The C&S was sold to The Plant System in June 1880, which is how the line came into the ACL. The complete John's Island-St.Andrews branch was still in use into the 1950's, though sometime prior to the 1930's the branch had been extended to Croghan, SC. From at least the '30's on there were about a dozen named locations on the branch, but no agency stations. Each location had a team track siding which averaged about six car capacity. Don't know what shippers were on the branch, but from what we know about the Yonge's Island Branch, further south, suspect it was truck farm produce.

-- Tom Underwood (, August 31, 2003.

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