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Old 03-23-2017, 11:41 AM   #324
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With some free time during a visit home to Charleston, I got a wild idea and decided to visit the RJ Corman Carolina Lines on Monday, March 21st. As I rolled up in the Red Hill area (just south of Conway, SC) around 8:45, I could hear them on the radio coming out of the switch at Builders First Source and they started coming up the line engine light as I grabbed a couple of shots of the RJCC 1701 display genset. I saw two loaded center beams at Canfor in Red Hill on the drive in and figured they would pick those up. Indeed, they did-- but I didn't notice that was a south-facing switch until they pulled past it and it became evident they were going to split the power and run double-ended. That turned what I thought was going to be a slow morning of just following them north until I could get them into the light from Chadbourn west into a highly productive chase with photos all over the place, which was a very welcome development because the only shots I had of the CALA days were between Chadbourn and Mullins.

The train stopped in Loris and picked up an empty center beam from Blanton Building Supply (at least, that is who it appears to be from Google). The train was now topped out at 3 cars, and the journey north continued. There were no other pickups or set offs along the way, and right about as my mental math figured for an 8-hour day including drive time, they tied it down in Nichols.

Some of the old Carolina Southern (CALA) power is still in Chadbourn just east of the depot. I heard some of it had been scrapped and most (if not all) was planned to be, but not so far. CALA 100 (faces west, beautiful afternoon photo), CALA 950 (faces east, nose coupled), CALA 951 (faces east, crosstie pile makes photos difficult), and Baltimore & Annapolis 87 (faces west, nose coupled) were all lined up just east of the depot.

RJ Corman also appears to have opened a materials yard at Chadbourn, as the area west of the depot has been opened up and has a fenced area with lots of heavy equipment and track materials stored in the lot. This does not appear to be a wreck response facility, but rather an MOW operation.

So y'all folks who might be inclined to vacation in Myrtle Beach, here is your new shortline target. Ops are M-F and the on duty time at Chadbourn to drive to wherever the train is will be around 0730. Figure up to an hour to get to the train if it is tied down on either end of the line, obviously less the closer to Chadbourn the train has been tied down the day prior. The actual time the train is typically on the move is from roughly 0900-1500 factoring drive time into an 8-hour day. This works out to roughly two full roundtrips on the line each week.
Mike Derrick

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