Aiken-Augusta Special

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Aiken-Augusta Special
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleSoutheastern United States
First serviceOctober 24, 1915
Last serviceOctober 22, 1966
Former operator(s)Pennsylvania Railroad
Southern Railway (U.S.)
StartNew York, New York
EndAugusta, Georgia; and secondary route to Aiken, South Carolina
Distance travelled795.4 miles (1,280.1 km) (New York-Augusta, 1952)
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)31 (southbound) and 32 (northbound)
On-board services
Seating arrangementsReclining seat coach
Sleeping arrangementsSections, roomettes, single bedrooms, double bedrooms, drawing room, compartments
Catering facilitiesDiner
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The Aiken-Augusta Special was a named night train of the Southern Railway between New York City and Augusta, Georgia. Different from other long distance Southern Railway lines which tended to briefly go through the northwestern edge of South Carolina, this route went through the interior of the state. Its route marked the last directly north-south route between Charlotte, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina, and it marked one of the last long distance trains into Augusta, Georgia. The train began as the Augusta Special on October 24, 1915.[1]

Beginning in 1928 the train had a section that split from the main route at Trenton, South Carolina and went to Aiken, South Carolina, and so the train took the name, Aiken-Augusta Special. The train was carried over Pennsylvania Railroad tracks from New York City to Washington, D.C. and in an unusual arrangement the coach cars were on a different train (#153 the Congressional southbound; #112 unnamed, northbound) from the sleeping cars between New York and Washington, and the latter city the itinerary became merged.[2][3][4]

Major stations on main Augusta route[edit]

  • New York, NY
  • Newark, NJ
  • North Philadelphia, PA
  • Philadelphia
  • Wilmington, DE
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Lynchburg
  • Danville
  • Greensboro, NC
  • High Point
  • Concord
  • Charlotte
  • Rock Hill, SC
  • Columbia
  • Augusta, GA

Asheville Special[edit]

The train had the Asheville Special (#15 south/#16 north; begun in 1930), which split from the main route in Greensboro, North Carolina and continued west from Greensboro, to Winston-Salem and then to Asheville, North Carolina. The sleeping cars were continuous from New York City to Asheville; but the coaches and the diner were strictly Asheville to Greensboro cars. The remainder of the trip, Greensboro to New York was on Aiken-Augusta Special equipment.[5]

For four years (1966-1970) after the termination of the Augusta Special, the Asheville Special was tacked onto the Crescent from Greensboro to New York. However, southbound, the sleeping car was handled by the Southerner from New York to Greensboro.[6]

Major stops on the Asheville-Greensboro route:

  • Asheville
  • Biltmore
  • Marion
  • Morganton
  • Hickory
  • Newton
  • Statesville
  • Winston-Salem
  • Greensboro

Augusta Special and demise[edit]

With dwindling traffic in the 1950s, the Aiken spur route was eliminated and in 1953 the train reverted to the Augusta Special. Sleeper service was eliminated on October 27, 1962. Its final run as a named train between Charlotte and Augusta was on October 22, 1966.[7]


  1. ^ American Rails, 'The Augusta Special'
  2. ^ American Rails, 'The Augusta Special'
  3. ^ Southern Railway July 1952 timetable, Table J
  4. ^ Pennsylvania Railroad August 1950 timetable Tables 41, 43
  5. ^ Southern Railway July 1952 timetable, Table J1
  6. ^ Southern Railway October 1966 timetable, Tables A, B, F
  7. ^ American Rails, 'The Augusta Special'