Friday, February 06, 2015

Classic Southern Shortlines 2: Aberdeen, Carolina & Western

Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; Star, N.C.; December 9, 2014
In December 2014 I drove from New Jersey to Florida with my brother Bruce and along the way we spent the better part of a day each on three shortlines. We've already looked at the Sandersville Railroad in an earlier post. This time around, we're going to visit the Aberdeen, Carolina & Western, which is based in the town of Candor, N.C., just west of Aberdeen.
Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; Biscoe, N.C.; December 9, 2014
In a previous post, we looked at the early days of the AC&W, when it ran with a hodgepodge of locomotives in the colors of Chessie System and the Chesapeake & Ohio, among others. The AC&W was formed in 1987 to operate a former Norfolk Southern branch between Aberdeen and Star. The original shop was next to the old Southern freight house in the latter town. Since then, the railroad has leased trackage from NS from Charlotte through Star to Gulf, N.C., making a giant "T" (the original line from Star to Aberdeen forming the base) totaling 140 miles of track. AC&W interchanges with CSX in Aberdeen and NS in Charlotte and Gulf. It also interchanges with both railroads at Norwood. Motive power is attractively painted, such as the pair of SD40-3 locomotives we had on our chase.
Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; Candor, N.C.; December 9, 2014
On the day we chased the railroad, December 9, we first stopped in at the modern shop and headquarters building in Candor. A friendly receptionist checked on operations and told us there was a train being made up at Star that would head for Aberdeen. She also said if we were back in the area in a week or two to stop by and pick up a calendar. We headed for Star and after some poking around finally found the train being readied. Our first shot was as the train left Star (top photo of this post) and again approaching Biscoe (second photo).
Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; Candor, N.C.; December 9, 2014
The train paused at the large feed mill in Candor to do some work before continuing on its way southeast. A crewman followed in a truck to facilitate switching along the way. Once done at the mill, the train continued on its way.
Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; Eagle Springs, N.C.; December 9, 2014
The train made fairly good time across the somewhat rolling Carolina countryside. It did not stop to work again on the way to Aberdeen. After getting a shot near Eagle Springs, we again got ahead of the train at West End.
Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; West End, N.C.; December 9, 2014
After West End, the train entered golf country. Pinehurst has hosted the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup and three U.S. Opens. In 2014 it became the first venue to host both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in the same year.
Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; Pinehurst, N.C.; December 9, 2014
The train enters Aberdeen and the CSX interchange through a narrow opening between buildings. Once at Aberdeen, the locomotives dropped the outbound cars and picked up cars to return north. Since the train would be against the sun going back, we said our goodbyes to the AC&W at this point.
Aberdeen, Carolina & Western; Aberdeen, N.C.; December 9, 2014
You can find more photos from this chase here.

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