Old 06-15-2011, 02:12 PM   #1
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Any word on what's going on down there in Chadbourne? I've been hearing some rumors go around. I'll be working in Charleston later this summer and the drive to and from there will take my right by the CALA.

Also, any other good shortline action near Charleston?

Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2011, 03:20 PM   #2
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From what I've heard all their interesting power is either OOS or has been scrapped.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:14 PM   #3
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I believe Nick is meaning the rumors that they are shutting down or either running very infrequently. I saw someone vaquebooking about it a few weeks ago. from an outsiders point of view, it seems they have run that railroad into the ground. Literally. But I haven't heard anything concrete.
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Old 06-16-2011, 02:18 PM   #4
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I have heard from someone I trust well that the FRA put several of the CALA's bridges out of service a few weeks ago, and they are for all practical purposes shut down. If they don't fix the bridges, all that would leave them is car storage around Mullins. I was through there a couple of weeks ago because they received a 90 car cut of BP covered hoppers for storage, and I was hoping I might catch them working. No luck, the hoppers were put away on the stub that used to be the line to Marion west of the CSX S line. Ex Yadkin Valley GP38 3617 was the only locomotive in town.

Not too much accessible shortline action around Charleston, as the SC Public Railways spends most of their time inside the fence on the downtown operation, and those at North Charleston and the former Navy Base tend to be very late day or night operations.

The East Cooper & Berkley (also an SCPR operation) runs afternoons from Charity Church to the CSX at State Junction, but the vast majority of the trip is against the light and the line pretty much has pine forest as scenery.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:19 PM   #5
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That unfortunately doesn't come as much of a surprise. Was the CALA still delivering coal trains to the power plant in Conway? How are they being supplied now?

Thanks for the info as always!

...I wonder how long it will be before the CLNA buys them out...if there's any business worth saving left down there...
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:31 PM   #6
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No one in their right mind would buy that line without the promise of some serious state or federal grants for trackwork, you cant run 80 car coal trains when your engines pilot is regularly scraping the rail, it just doesnt work.....
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Old 06-17-2011, 01:12 PM   #7
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The power plant at Conway operates sporadically. It is a reserve plant, essentially, only added to the grid during times of peak demand. However, with as hot and dry as June has been so far, I suspect demand is on the rise.

The more steady traffic has been rock to the Vulcan facility at Red Oak, but that seems to have decreased substantially over the past 6 months. The economics of this line is difficult, because it is essentially about a 60 mile branchline to Conway via a very circuitous route. A direct line from Mullins to Conway would be much more sustainable with the level of traffic present.
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:24 AM   #8
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The more steady traffic has been rock to the Vulcan facility at Red Oak, but that seems to have decreased substantially over the past 6 months. The economics of this line is difficult, because it is essentially about a 60 mile branchline to Conway via a very circuitous route. A direct line from Mullins to Conway would be much more sustainable with the level of traffic present.
Mike, Carolina Southern hasn't handled any rock for Vulcan in years. As a matter of fact, the old Vulcan yard at Red Hill has had the rail pulled up since Vulcan set up shop on CSX's Andrews Sub at Rains, SC (just south of Mullins). The rock they've been handling was originating at Martin Marietta's quarry in Lemon Springs, NC (just south of Sanford), and taken to a sales yard at Myrtle Beach. It's sad to mention that at the time the bridges were taken out of service, Martin Marietta rock volume from Lemon Springs to Myrtle Beach via Carolina Southern was the best it had been in five years at three trains per week. Martin Marietta is not going to wait forever for Carolina Southern to get their problems fixed. If they can't get their bridges back in service, Martin Marietta is gonna walk. And that'll put the nail in the coffin.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:42 AM   #9
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Appreciate the correction. While looking at the S line on the Delorme before heading up to Mullins, I asked myself "What is signficant about Rains?" knowing I'd heard it. That answers that!
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:29 PM   #10
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Carolina Southern has put out an embargo notice for the line. There are 14 bridges out of service, starting just east of Mullins near the NC state line all the way to Conway. They will still accept cars for storage around Mullins, but that is the extent of operations for this railroad for the forseeable future. G&O black GP38 3617 is at Mullins. Most other power should be in Chadbourn and possibly some in Conway. Any unit not at Mullins is essentially stranded.
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Old 06-23-2011, 11:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Carolina Southern has put out an embargo notice for the line. There are 14 bridges out of service, starting just east of Mullins near the NC state line all the way to Conway. They will still accept cars for storage around Mullins, but that is the extent of operations for this railroad for the forseeable future. G&O black GP38 3617 is at Mullins. Most other power should be in Chadbourn and possibly some in Conway. Any unit not at Mullins is essentially stranded.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:32 AM   #12
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Is that G&O power leased or bought?
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:54 PM   #13
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They bought the GP38s from G&O, they are CALA owned. As additional info, I heard from a friend yesterday that was through Chadbourn on Tuesday. He said the only serviceable unit there was one of the GP18s. Everything else was the standard deadline power. By process of elimination, that would mean there has to be more power in Conway or along the line somewhere.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:55 AM   #14
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At least a month before the bridge in the worst condition is repaired.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:30 PM   #15
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Appreciate the update! It's encouraging they are working on repairs. I figured the CALA was done as soon as the embargo came out, or would sit around and wait for someone to give them money to fix the bridges.
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:23 PM   #16
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Hearing from industry rumblings the Carolina Southern is soon to resume ops. Latest round of embargoes released does not include the CALA, so it looks like they may be back in action soon, if not already.
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:21 AM   #17
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Unconfirmed, but according to a post on the Carolina Rails Facebook page, there has been at least one train to Conway here in the last few days. The post was made by a railfan who got word from a friend. If I were writing a news story, this would never stand up as confirmation, but it'll do on a railroad message board, I guess.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:22 AM   #18
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Did you not feel the bit from the guy who said CSX was taking it over was even worthy of railfan board rumor??? LOL
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Old 08-21-2011, 04:21 PM   #19
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Mike, I couldn't figure out if he was serious or not. It's one of those things that you almost hope is him trying to be funny.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:29 PM   #20
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I don't know about the status of the entire railroad, but I do have confirmation that they have been coming out on the CSX mainline in Mullins several times per week for the last few weeks. I'm not sure as to the amount of tonnage their hauling now.
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Old 10-26-2011, 09:09 PM   #21
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Looks like the restart of operations we discussed above was very brief. The Carolina Southern is again out of operation, and things don't sound too good per this article. This line needs MAJOR work, something (in my opinion) way beyond that which could be assisted by a single county.

http://www.myrtlebeachherald.com/v2/...&MemberID=1807
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:22 PM   #22
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Under that article, there is a good comment from a user about the Pippins and the way they run a railroad.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:46 AM   #23
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Quote:
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Under that article, there is a good comment from a user about the Pippins and the way they run a railroad.
And the user who made the comment hit the nail on the head.
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:14 PM   #24
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Latest update: No grant money from the feds. Very much an uncertain future for this shortline. The owners have made it clear they can't survive without outside assistance. Doubtful the counties have the level of funding to support what it would take to get this line running again.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:17 PM   #25
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I was in Nichols and Mullins, South Carolina two weeks or so ago for the first time in close to 3 years.

One black Carolina Southern locomotive on their track, before the stop sign gate before the right angle crossing of CSX.

The MarionCounty railroad was entirely clear of cars, but grown up in weeds, except at the turnout into a farm supply company.

In the 1990s up until my last times in the area, there were 3 pieces of rolling stock on that siding: an Old Dominion passenger car, a blue caboose, and a blue machine that looked like a locomotive wit no cab. This odd machne was similar to another one that was kept at the New South Forrest yard in Red Hill until B&A, d.b.a. CSRR, bought out Waccamaw Coastline.

In the years before my last times in the area, the Old Dominion passenger car vanished, and part of the siding was taken up.

For a number of years, the turnout at the farm supply company had the only noticeable switch stand on the Marion County railroad. The siding at the closed lumber company was also visible, but no switch stand.

On my trip to the area 2 weeks ago, the blue caboose was the only rolling stock at the farm supply company, and on the entire Marion County railroad.

The track around that area had been cleared of weeds, and there were some wheels with axles on the track.

There were no cars on the 2 runaround tracks in Nichols.
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