Piedmont and Northern Railway: Wikis


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Piedmont and Northern Railway
Reporting mark PN
Locale Charlotte, North Carolina to Gastonia, North Carolina Greenwood, South Carolina to Spartanburg, South Carolina
Dates of operation 1911–1969
Successor SCL
Track gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Headquarters Charlotte, North Carolina

The Piedmont and Northern Railway (reporting mark PN) was a heavy electric interurban company operating over two disconnected divisions in North and South Carolina, respectively. The trackage ran 128 miles (206 km) all told, with the northern division running 24 miles (39 km) from Charlotte, to Gastonia, North Carolina, with a three-mile spur to Belmont. The southern division was the larger of the two, with the main line running 89 miles (143 km) from Greenwood to Spartanburg, South Carolina, with a 31 mi (50 km) spur to Anderson. The line was electrified at 1500 volts DC, but much of the electrification was abandoned when dieselisation was completed in 1954. Passenger service ended in 1951. The system was absorbed into the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad in 1969.



The P&N was first proposed in 1909 by William States Lee, vice-president of Southern Power and Utilities Co., as an "electrically powered interurban railway system linking the major cities of the Piedmont Carolinas."[1]

In 1910, the Piedmont Traction Company was formed as a street railway to operate in and around Gastonia, NC. In the same year, the Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson Railway Company was formed in South Carolina as a street railway authorised to run between fixed termini. The two companies then formed a syndicate, with the PTC acquiring the Charlotte, NC street railway, whilst the GS&A bought the Belton, SC - Anderson, SC line, besides both companies building new lines and securing trackage rights over the lines of various street railways. The network as it finally stood was finished in April, 1914. At some point thereafter, the PTC and the GS&A amalgamated into the Piedmont & Northern Railway Company.

The Charlotte - Mount Holly passenger service started on April 3, 1912, running combination baggage/coach motor cars (series 2000-2022) that had been delivered in 1911 by Jewett Car Co..



The P&N's network in 1964 was connected to the Clinchfield Railroad (CRR), Carolina and North Western Railroad (C&NW), Georgia and Florida Railroad (G&F), Norfolk Southern (NS), Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL), Southern Railway (SOU), Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL), Greenville and Northern Railroad (G&N), Charleston and Western Carolina (C&WC) and Ware Shoals Railroad.

Though owned by Duke Power, the P&N operated coal trains over a branch from Mount Holly, NC, to Terrell, NC, supplying Duke Power's Lake Norman powerplants.

North Carolina Division
Mile Station Interchange Notes
0.0 Charlotte Southern, NS Piggyback ramps
3.8 Chemway
4.1 Pinoca SAL Shops (still in use by CSX)
5.4 Toddville
6.9 Thrift
10.6 Sodyeco
11.1 Mount Holly
-- -- -- --
0.0 Mount Holly
Cowans Ford
-- -- -- --
13.5 North Belmont
-- -- -- --
0.0 North Belmont
3.1 Belmont Southern
-- -- -- --
16.5 McAdenville Junction
17.6 McAdenville
17.9 Lowell
19.7 Ranlo
21.7 Groves
23.4 Gastonia Southern, C&NW Piggyback ramp

South Carolina Division
Mile Station Interchange Notes
0.0 Spartanburg ACL, Southern, Clinchfield, C&WC Piggyback ramp
3.9 Saxon (Camp Wadsworth?)
6.6 Clevedale
10.2 Startex Southern
12.0 Lyman Southern
13.4 Duncan
18.3 Greer Southern
Chick Springs
23.1 Taylors Southern
27.1 Paris (Hampton Heights?)
33.5 Greenville (River Junction) ACL, G&N, Southern, C&WC Piggyback ramp
36.5 White Horse
Golden Grove
43.7 Piedmont Southern
48.4 Pelzer Southern
50.5 Williamston Southern
58.0 Belton Southern, C&NW
-- -- -- --
0.0 Belton Southern, C&NW
11.6 Anderson C&NW, ACL, C&WC
-- -- -- --
65.8 Honea Path Southern
71.4 Donalds
74.3 Shoals Junction Southern, Ware Shoals RR
80.2 Hodges
83.9 Downs Southern
88.9 Greenwood ACL, G&F, SAL, Southern, C&WC Piggyback ramp


Plans to connect the North and South Carolina divisions between Spartanburg, SC and Gastonia, NC, and to expand northwards towards Winston-Salem, NC, were successfully blocked by appeals by the Southern Railway and other entities in court cases in the 1930s, specifically PIEDMONT & N. RY. CO. v. UNITED STATES, 280 U.S. 469 (1930) and PIEDMONT & N R. CO. v. INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, 286 U.S. 299 (1932).


The P&N, though involved heavily in passenger operations, was primarily a heavy freight carrier. The most important commodity transported was coal and coke, but also of significance were cotton (including cotton waste) and paper.

Statement of Car Loads of Freight Handled (in Carloads) - Years 1955 and 1954
Commodity Carloads,
Grain and
Grain Products
3221 3258 +37
Packing House
2200 2381 +181
Fruits and
1874 1838 -36
Coal and Coke 30203 37995 +7792
4465 4966 +501
Cotton and
8093 8907 +814
2746 2842 +96
Sand and
2196 2521 +325
Automobiles 1889 2061 +172
Oil and
2920 2738 -182
Fertilizer and
Fertilizer Products
4056 3176 -880
Machinery 613 732 +119
Paper and
Paper Products
6480 6786 +306
Clay and
Fullers Earth
1897 1805 -92
Iron and
Steel Articles
2746 3297 +37
2257 2054 -203
Merchandise 4767 4350 -417
Miscellaneous 17128 17986 +858

(Data from P&N 1955 Annual Report)

P&N Motive Power

Piedmont and Northern Electric Locomotives
Road Number Builder Build Date Engine Number Tractive Effort Notes
5000 Baldwin-Westinghouse 10-1911 37124 13,700 Built with two trolley poles; pantograph installed 1935
5001 Baldwin-Westinghouse 10-1911 37150 13,700 Built with two trolley poles; pantograph installed 1935
5002 Baldwin-Westinghouse 10-1911 37151 13,700 Built with two trolley poles; pantograph installed 1935
5003 Baldwin-Westinghouse 10-1911 37152 13,700 Built with two trolley poles; pantograph installed 1935
5004 Baldwin-Westinghouse 11-1911 37272 13,700 Built with two trolley poles; pantograph installed 1935
5005 Baldwin-Westinghouse 11-1911 37273 10,000 Built with two trolley poles; pantograph installed 1935
5006 Baldwin-Westinghouse 4-1917 44508 12,000 Ex Salt Lake & Utah #102, bought by P&N in 1947
5100 GE 63t boxcab 12-1913 4651 13,000 GE class 404-E-120-4-GE-212F 63 ton boxcab.
5101 GE 63t boxcab 12-1913 4652 13,000 GE class 404-E-120-4-GE-212F 63 ton boxcab.
5102 GE 63t boxcab 12-1913 4653 13,000 GE class 404-E-120-4-GE-212F 63 ton boxcab.
5103 GE 63t boxcab 12-1913 4654 13,000 GE class 404-E-120-4-GE-212F 63 ton boxcab. Preserved at Southeastern Railway Museum, Spencer, NC
5104 GE 63t boxcab 12-1913 4655 13,000 GE class 404-E-120-4-GE-212F 63 ton boxcab.
5105 GE 63t boxcab 12-1913 4656 13,000 GE class 404-E-120-4-GE-212F 63 ton boxcab.
5106 GE 1912 3806 14,800 Ex Oregon Electric #25; Sold to Utah-Idaho Central as #25, 1945; bought by P&N in 1948
5500 P&N Pinoca Shops 1917 - 14,800 Built from bodies of 4000-series express motors
5501 P&N Pinoca Shops 1918 - 17,072 Built from bodies of 4000-series express motors
5502 P&N Pinoca Shops 1918 - 17,072 Built from bodies of 4000-series express motors
5600 P&N Pinoca Shops 1918 - 27,072 Built from body of 4000-series express motors; rebuilt with steel cab in 1937; rebuilt as #5612 in 1949
5601 P&N Greenville Shops 1924 - 22,400 Baldwin trucks
5602 P&N Greenville Shops 1928 - 25,600 Baldwin trucks
5610 P&N Greenville Shops 1938 - 69,000 GE trucks
5611 GE 1941 - 34,500 Built by GE to P&N design
5612 P&N Greenville Shops 1949 - 75,000 Rebuilt from #5600

Piedmont and Northern Diesel Locomotives
Road Numbers Builder / Dates Built Model Livery Notes
1000-1005 6 Alco / 1954 S-4 gloss black, yellow striping
1600-1609 10 Alco /1950-1951 RS-3 gloss black, yellow striping Formerly numbers 100-109
2000-2001 2 Alco / 1965 C420 gloss black, yellow striping

Piedmont and Northern City & Interurban Cars
Road Numbers Type Builder / Dates Built Construction Seats Notes
1 Birney Brill, 1916 Steel 32 Use and fate unknown
2 City Stephenson, 1917 Wood
4 City Southern Car, 1917 Wood
350 Combine AC&F, 1913 Steel 26 Purchased from Pennsylvania Railroad - wrecked in 1941
351 Express P&N, 1942 Steel - Rebuilt from wreck of #350
400-403 Trailer PRR, 1913 Steel 72 Bought from the Pennsylvania Railroad; ran for a while with old nos. 325, 400, 408, 428
404 Trailer Jewett, 1911 Wood 60 Original trailer coach no. 2404
405-407 Trailer PRR, 1913 Steel 60 Bought from Long Island Railroad, ex-numbers 401, 402, 405
2000-2022 Combine Jewett, 1911-1912 Wood 60
2050-2051 Combine P&N, 1928 Wood 36 Rebuilt by P&N from number 2014 and 2008
2060 Express P&N, 1942 Wood - Rebuilt from #2005
2100-2101 Combine Southern Car, 1914 Steel 54 Former 2500 class trailer, powered in 1919
2102 Combine Southern Car, 1914 Steel 68 Former 2500 class trailer powered in 1919, 10' express section added in 1924
2103-2107 Coach Southern Car, 1914 Steel 68 Former 2500 class trailer, powered in 1919
2108 Coach Southern Car, 1914 Steel 68 Electric coach rebuilt from parlor-observation car "Catawba" in 1928
2200 Parlor-Observation Southern Car, 1914 Steel - Open observation parlor-observation car "Catawba". Rebuilt in 1935 with glassed-in solarium section
2201 Parlor-Observation Southern Car, 1914 Steel - Open observation parlor-observation car "Saluda". Rebuilt as business car "Carolina"
2300 Express 1912 Wood Former freight car; doors built onto ends for train access.
2400-2405 Coach trailer Jewett, 1911 Wood 60 Demotorised 2000-class rebuilt into 2100-class
2500-2507 Coach trailer Southern Car, 1914 Steel 54 Motorised 1923-1925
3000-3004 Coach trailer Niles, 1910 Wood 54 Five coaches obtained for military transport by USRA from Louisville & Northern Railway
4000-4007 Express Southern Car, 1911 Wood - Later used to build 5500 and 5600 class electric locomotives

Fate of the Rolling Stock

Some of the electric locomotives were shipped to South America, the rest were scrapped. The diesels were taken over by the Seaboard Coast Line in 1969 after that railroad took over the P&N; of them, all have been scrapped except for one S-4 surviving in the US on the Laurinburg and Southern, and four that were sent to Venezuela.

The interurban #2102, Office Car "Carolina" (formerly Saluda) and Caboose x-23 are preserved and on display to the public at the Railroad Historical Center in Greenwood, SC.


Only four of the stations built for the P&N, designed by Charles Christian Hook are still in existence today in North Carolina.

The Thrift depot in the Paw Creek community in Charlotte, NC is the only remaining P&N station in Mecklenburg County, NC; it is presently for sale.[1]

In Gaston County, several structures are still standing. The depot in Mt. Holly, NC is still standing and is currently undergoing restoration. The former P&N depot in Belmont, NC has been restored and was a P&N museum until 2004, when the lease ran out and was not given extension by the owner. The former P&N station in Gastonia, NC, burned down in 1995. Lastly, the small depot of McAdenville, NC is still standing, though it has been relocated from its previous location.

Former P&N depot, Piedmont, SC

In South Carolina, at least six stations are still standing: Pelzer, Donalds, Hodges, Greer, Piedmont and Anderson.

In Piedmont, SC, the building is still standing, and appears to be in use as a storage shed in reasonable condition.

Nothing remains of the P&N in Honea Path, SC, apart from power poles still standing, delineating the former right-of-way.

The station at Taylors, SC was still standing in 1987. Though it is now gone, a former substation - including some overhead poles of the P&N line - can still be found near the CSX's Enoree River viaduct.[2]

As far as track goes, some of the P&N's former lines are still in existence, some still in operation. The track from Pelzer, SC to Spartanburg, SC is presently the CSX's Belton Subdivision. The segment from Pelzer to Belton was taken over by the Greenville and Western Railway in 2006. The track from Mt. Holly, NC to Gastonia, NC and from Mount Holly to Belmont, NC is still in place. Initially the track belonged to CSX, it is now owned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and it is kept in passable condition; there is reportedly interest in starting a trolley or RDC service along the line into Charlotte. The property acquired by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, was a 0.77 mile segment acquired 11/27/1991 from MPSFC 0.75-1.52 and an 11.6 mile main section acquired 12/5/1991 Mt. Holly to Gastonia/Belmont MP SFC 11.39-23.0 and a 3 mile spur MP SFF 0.13-3.13 http://www.bytrain.org/corridor/stateowned.html

The former P&N RR Charlotte terminal freight depot was in the Mint/Graham/Second(MLK)St /Third St block, while the Charlotte terminal passenger depot was in the Mint/Graham/Third St/Fourth St block in Charlotte. The International League Charlotte Knights plan to build a new ballpark on the two block site to open for the 2009 or 2010 season. http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/Charlotte-Knights-AAA-Bal-t41132.html


  1. ^ a b "Thrift P&N Railroad Station - Old Mt. Holly Road, Paw Creek Community". Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. http://www.cmhpf.org/projectP&N1203.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-01.  
  2. ^ Buchanan, Carter (2006-03-26). "Evidence of former P&N electrification". RRPictureArchives.net. http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=326759. Retrieved 2007-11-01.  


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