Carolina and Northwestern Railway
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Previous gauge||3 ft (914 mm)(?)|
The Carolina & Northwestern Railway (Ca&NW) was a railroad that served South Carolina and North Carolina from 1897 until January 1, 1974. The original line was operated by the Ca&NW as a separate railroad controlled by the Southern Railway until 1974 when the name was changed to the Norfolk Southern Railway. On June 1, 1982, Southern Railway and Norfolk and Western Railroad merged to form Norfolk Southern Railway. Choosing to use the name 'Norfolk Southern Railway' for the merger, in 1981, the original Ca&NW line along with original Norfolk Southern Railway was renamed Carolina and Northwestern once again. In the early 1950s several shortline subsidiaries of the Southern Railway were leased to the Ca&NW for operation, with these lines remaining a part of the Ca&NW into the 1980s.
The carrier traces its beginnings back to the Kings Mountain Railroad that ran from Chester, South Carolina, to York, South Carolina, before the Civil War. The Kings Mountain Railroad was begun in 1855 but was destroyed by the Union Army during the American Civil War and was not rebuilt after the conflict.
The route lay abandoned for almost eight years until the creation of the Chester and Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad in 1873. Within a decade the Chester & Lenoir had extended the line to Lenoir, North Carolina. At over 120 miles (190 km), the Chester & Lenoir was the largest narrow gauge railroad in the Carolinas.
When the Richmond and Danville was re-organized as the Southern Railway in 1894, the Chester & Lenoir operated on its own for a short while. By 1896, it went into receivership, and the following year was re-organized as the Carolina & Northwestern Railway. Though technically controlled by the Southern, this shortline carrier, more than any other in the Southern Railway family, was allowed to operate almost autonomously.
By 1902, the Carolina & Northwestern Railway was converted to 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge track, and it purchased a controlling interest in a logging railroad, the Caldwell and Northern, that ran from Lenoir to Collettsville, North Carolina. By 1906, the railroad had been expanded to Edgemont, North Carolina, making the line nearly 150 miles (240 km) long, further increasing access to the timber in the mountains north and west of Hickory, North Carolina.
In 1912, new shops were built in Hickory and within 10 years a locomotive was even built within the railroad’s shops.
By the mid 1930s, the Carolina and Northwestern was only operating one freight train a day except Sundays between Chester and Lenoir. By 1938, the railroad abandoned the line from west Lenoir to Edgemont. The Carolina and Northwestern was absorbed into the Southern Railway system around 1940.
In 1943, the Carolina and Northwestern was only operating one passenger train a day between Chester and Edgemont. Passenger service was soon discontinued in 1947. In March 1948, the carrier had completely dropped steam (with Southern Railway 2-8-0 #544 having the honor of being the last steam locomotive on the line) and replaced it with diesel locomotives. The Carolina & Northwestern was one of the first completely dieselized railroads in the southeast.
The section of the line between Chester and York was abandoned around 1972. The section from York to Clover was abandoned in 1981. By the late 1980s, the line had been abandoned all the way to just north of the North Carolina state line, near Bowling Green, South Carolina.
Around 1990, the track from Newton to Lincolnton, North Carolina was abandoned by the Norfolk Southern. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has railbanked the line from South Newton, NC to an area South of Maiden, NC where the end of the line stops at U.S. Highway 321.
In 1994, Norfolk Southern sold the original 22-mile (35 km) line from Hickory, NC to Lenoir, NC to the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission (CCEDC). The CCEDC subsequently leased the line to the Caldwell County Railroad Company, a subsidiary of Southeast Shortlines Inc.
The five-mile (8 km) stretch of railroad track between Gastonia and Dallas was abandoned on or about August 20, 2003.
Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotives
|A.H. Davega||0-6-0||Porter Bell & Company||196||7/1874||unknown||Bought new, first narrow gauge locomotive for the C&L|
|1st #2||0-6-0||Porter Bell & Company||201||7/1874||unknown||Diverted to Martha's Vineyard Railroad. This engine never saw service on the C&L|
|2nd #2||0-6-0||Porter Bell & Company||204||10/1874||1886||Bought new. Replaced the 1st #2. Destroyed by fire/boiler explosion at Maiden, North Carolina in 1886|
|V.A. McBee||2-4-0||Porter Bell & Company||246||6/1876||Unknown||Bought new. Named after Lincolnton Attorney|
|4||4-4-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||5439||1/1881||Unknown||Bought new. Baldwin class 8/18 C 4-4-0.|
|5||2-6-0||Brooks Locomotive Works||unknown||11/1879||Unknown||Bought second hand from the Washington City, Virginia Midland & Great Southern Railroad which was serving as their #2.|
|6||4-4-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||unknown||unknown||unknown||Bought new. Baldwin class 8/18 C 4-4-0.|
|21||0-4-4T||Mason Locomotive Works||unknown||unknown||Unknown||"Mason Bogie" acquired from the Richmond & Danville Railroad. Disposition Unknown|
|230||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||5136||1880||Unknown||Bought second hand on 9/27/1899 from the Rio Grande Southern Railroad. Originally built as Denver & Rio Grande #71 "Pacific Slope"|
|255||4-6-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Acquired 2nd hand by the C&N-W prior to 1899.|
|367||2-truck-Shay||Lima Locomotive Works||367||1891||Unknown||Bought new by the Lower Creek & Linville Valley Railroad, later to the Caldwell & Northern Railroad.|
Standard Gauge Steam Locomotives
|100||4-6-0||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Formerly Central of Georgia Railway, sold to the C&N-W in 1902|
|101||4-4-0||S&R Ry||Unknown||1883||Unknown||Formerly S&R Ry #7, to Seaboard Air Line as their 1st #7, sold to the C&N-W in 1904|
|115||4-4-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||10480||1890||1932||Ex-Cooperstown & Chit. Valley Rwy #3, later Delaware and Hudson Railway as their 2nd #215. Sold to the C&N-W in 1905. Scrapped after a fatal accident in Oyama, North Carolina in 1932.|
|121||4-4-0||Rogers Locomotive & Machine Works||3454||1884||1925||Built as NYWS&B #50, later to New York Central & Hudson River as their 604. Sold to the C&N-W in 1908. Scrapped 1925.|
|122||4-4-0||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Acquired in 1908|
|150||4-4-0||Brooks Locomotive Works||1010||1884||1941||Built as Virginia Midland Railroad #18, later renumbered to 686, Became Southern Railway #844 in 1894, later renumbered to 1850 and then to 3850. Sold to the C&N-W in 1926. Scrapped 1941.|
|1st #167||4-6-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||10107||1889||early 1920s||Built as Western New York & Pennsylvania #118/124, later Pennsylvania Railroad #6260. Sold to the C&N-W in 1911. Retired in the early 1920s. Parts used to build the 2nd #167.|
|2nd #167||4-6-0||C&N-W Hickory Shops||Unknown||1923||1942?||Built new at the Hickory Shops in 1923 using home made parts and a new boiler from Baldwin. According to resources, the engine was sold for scrap in 1942, however a photograph shows #167 at Chester in 1943.|
|200||4-6-0||Pennsylvania Railroad||488||1880||1914||Built as PRR #?, sold to the Richmond & Danville Railroad as their #305, later became Southern #605 in 1894. Sold to the C&N-W in 1902. Sold to the Wyatt Lumber Company in 1914. Disposition unknown.|
|205||4-6-0||New York Locomotive Works||Unknown||1883||1913||Built at East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad #148/355. Became Southern 1st #444 in 1894. Sold to the C&N-W in 1902. Sold to CW Lane in 1913. Disposition unknown.|
|206||4-6-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||39957||1913||1946||Purchased new. Scrapped in 1946 after a wreck in Clover, South Carolina.|
|207||4-6-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||39958||1913||1948||Purchased new. Scrapped due to dieselization in 1948.|
|230||2-6-0||Hinkley Locomotive Works||Unknown||Unknown||1913||Purchased in 1902. Sold in 1917 to Desha Lumber Company.|
|235||2-6-0||Rhode Island Locomotive Works||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Not much is known about this locomotive.|
|255||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||Unknown||Unknown||Not much is known about this locomotive.|
|256||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||21295||1902||1931||Built as CNO&TP #673, became Southern #5156. Sold to the C&N-W in 1925. Scrapped 1931.|
|260||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||21355||1902||1931||Built as CNO&TP #677, became Southern #6160. Sold to the C&N-W in 1924. Scrapped 1931.|
|265||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1882||1924||Acquired 1903. Scrapped 1924.|
|266||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1882||1924||Acquired 1903. Scrapped 1924.|
|267||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||7103||1883||1941||Built as NYWS&B #138, later New York Central & Hudson River #2222. Acquired 1903. Scrapped 1941.|
|268||2-8-0||Dickson Manufacturing Company||364||1883||1924||Built as NYWS&B #154, later New York Central & Hudson River #2233. Sold the C&N-W in 1905. Scrapped 1924.|
|270||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||38182||1912||1948||Bought new. Scrapped 1948.|
|271||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||38183||1912||1948||Bought new. Scrapped 1948.|
|272||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||39443||1913||1948||Bought new. Scrapped 1948.|
|273||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||39444||1913||1948||Bought new. Scrapped 1948.|
|300||3-truck-shay||Lima Locomotive Works||1840||1907||1920||Bought new. Sold to the Red River Lumber Company in California. Disposition unknown.|
|440||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1903||Unknown||Ex-Southern Railway #440. Sold to the C&N-W in 1928. Scrapped November 1948.|
|465||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1903||Unknown||Ex-Southern Railway #465. Disposition unknown. Very likely scrapped after dieselization in 1948.|
|477||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1902||Unknown||Leased Southern Railway locomotive (class J-2). Relettered C&N-W, but not renumbered.|
|514||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1903||Unknown||Southern Railway class J 2-8-0. Leased and relettered, C&N-W but not renumbered.|
|519||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1903||Unknown||Southern Railway class J 2-8-0. Leased and relettered, C&N-W but not renumbered. Retired in November 1949.|
|533||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1903||1945||Southern Railway class J 2-8-0. Leased and relettered C&N-W, but not renumbered. Scrapped September 1946.|
|537||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1903||Unknown||Southern Railway class J 2-8-0. Leased and relettered C&N-W, but not renumbered. Scrapped October 1949.|
|540||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1903||Unknown||Southern Railway class J 2-8-0. Leased and relettered C&N-W, but not renumbered.|
|544||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1903||Unknown||Southern Railway class J 2-8-0. Only member of the class was leased to the C&N-W that was not relettered. Last steam locomotive on the C&N-W in March 1948. Retired in July 1953 and later scrapped.|
|546||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||Unknown||1903||February 1948||Southern Railway class J 2-8-0. Leased and relettered C&N-W, but not renumbered. Scrapped in February 1948 after a wreck.|
|1||ALCo Rs-2||American Locomotive Company||75687||1948||early 1970s||Bought new. Scrapped by the early 1970s.|
|2||ALCo Rs-2||American Locomotive Company||75688||1948||early 1970s||Bought new. Scrapped by the early 1970s.|
|3||ALCo Rs-2||American Locomotive Company||75689||1948||early 1970s||Bought new. Scrapped by the early 1970s.|
|4||ALCo Rs-2||American Locomotive Company||75690||1948||early 1970s||Bought new. Scrapped by the early 1970s.|
|5||ALCo Rs-3||American Locomotive Company||78326||1950||Unknown||Bought new. Ex-Danville & Western 2nd #1, Traded in on ex-Southern GP35, disposition unknown.|
|6||ALCo Rs-3||American Locomotive Company||78327||1950||Unknown||Bought new. Ex-Danville & Western 2nd #2, Traded in on ex-Southern GP35, disposition unknown.|
|7||ALCo Rs-3||American Locomotive Company||78328||1950||Unknown||Bought new. Sub-lettered Blue Ridge, Traded in on ex-Southern GP35, disposition unknown.|
|8||ALCo Rs-3||American Locomotive Company||78329||1950||Unknown||Bought new. Sub-lettered Blue Ridge, Traded in on ex-Southern GP35, disposition unknown.|
|9||ALCo Rs-3||American Locomotive Company||79090||1951||Unknown||Bought new. Sub-lettered Yadkin, Traded in on ex-Southern GP35, disposition unknown.|
|10||ALCo Rs-3||American Locomotive Company||80514||1953||Unknown||Bought new into Southern #10, Traded in to GE in April 1974, later scrapped.|
|11||ALCo Rs-11||American Locomotive Company||81464||1956||Unknown||Bought new into Southern #11. Later became Chicago and Northwestern Railroad #2651, later renumbered to 425. disposition unknown.|
- Pg. 512; American Narrow Gauge Railroads by George Woodman Hilton; Stanford University Press, 1990
- Tar Heel Press, The Legacy of the Carolina and Northwestern Railway
- South Carolina Railroads, Kings Mountain Railroad
- South Carolina Railroads, Chester & Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad
- South Carolina Railroads/ Carolina & Northwestern Railway
- Charlotte Observer, Keeping Them on Track, December 29, 2002
- North Carolina Rail Trails, Vol.2 No. 1; Spring 1990
- North Carolina Rail Trails, Vol.13 No. 3; Winter 2004
- Railway Association of North Carolina: Caldwell County Railroad
- Clearing the Way by Michael Henry; The Gaston Gazette, Friday July 25, 2003