Railway Preservation News

Mystery C&WC passenger car, Port Royal, SC
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Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Mystery C&WC passenger car, Port Royal, SC

In shuffling through various papers in another railfan's estate, I came upon this cryptic notation on the back of a business card for the Hilton Head Report, "Beaufort County [S.C.]'s 'quotable source'":

Restoration of wooden coach, ACL 62327(?), ex-C&WC [Charleston & Western Carolina], nee-Port Royal RR -- at intersection of 9th & Paris Avenue, Port Royal, SC

[question mark after car # on card--suggesting illegible or uncertain number on car]

The location in question is a stone's throw (literally) from the southernmost end of the waterfront trackage of the old C&WC, to which the later-day Port Royal RR short line operated in later years before abandonment in the 2000s.

This newspaper started in 1983 and ceased publication in March 1988, so this information was most likely scribbled down during a visit to the area in the mid-1980s, while seeking information on what definitely would have been an out-of-the-way discovery, back before everyone looked up everything on the internet. (Local newspaper offices always doubled as local history and brain archives, as many of us remember.)

I can find no sign of this car existing anywhere under any number now. Google Earth Pro only gives me grainy aerial views back to 1994, and the foliage canopy was and is thick. I worried about the ramifications of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, but I've checked with associates who had relatives down there and they both told me Hugo "did very little damage around Beaufort." (I was down there myself with relief efforts around Sumter and McClellanville after the storm.)

1917 and 1925 rosters at https://railga.com/charlewc17equip.html shows the C&WC having 42 cars in what would have been the heyday of wooden cars--22 coaches, 9 combines, 9 baggage/mail, and two business cars.

I keep hoping I'll find photos in this guy's stuff, but no luck so far.

Does the collective brain trust here have any ideas?

Author:  airforcerail [ Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mystery C&WC passenger car, Port Royal, SC

A year or two before the line was pulled up, I was involved with a South Carolina Railroad Museum project to video and photograph the line. We used a Hyrail truck and had to get off in several places to put back on, once around the open swing bridge, and another where the Marine Air Station ripped the tracks out to put in a new pipeline.

We went to the end of the line. I would think that if a car had existed within a stones throw, we would have spotted it. This was in the late 2000's. We were very particular and looked well off the trackside for anything related to the railroad.

Other than that I can pick a local guys brain he might know something.

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mystery C&WC passenger car, Port Royal, SC

This IS Spanish Moss territory, and I have had personal experience with foliage hiding structures and even rolling stock in South Carolina lowcountry.

My thoughts are that this is a carbody that rotted away or was demolished, or it disappeared to another location (candidates include the South Carolina RR Museum, the excursion operation out of mainland Myrtle Beach, and Savannah--and only the latter seems to have enough wherewithal to tackle a wooden car).

Pick the guy's brain, please. I'm curious.

Author:  airforcerail [ Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mystery C&WC passenger car, Port Royal, SC

I will ask him when I see him this weekend.

Oh, I understand what you are saying. I tell people all the time kudzu eats old houses, abandoned cars, and slow moving southerners. The very end of the track was kind of built up if I remember, and the few woods on the way into the 'yard' you could see through them to the houses or water beyond, hence why I didn't think there was a wooden car body there. Though I suppose if it had rotted out and collapsed, it was possible.

The SCRM I can say for a fact never acquired it, I doubt it went to the operation in Myrtle Beach either, but you never know.

Author:  whodom [ Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mystery C&WC passenger car, Port Royal, SC

On a somewhat related note, a bunch of photos taken at the C&WC/ACL junction in Yemassee, SC during WWII were posted to Facebook a couple of months ago. Both C&WC and ACL trains are featured. Troops headed to Parris Island for USMC basic training changed trains here.

I know some (a lot?) of you don't do Facebook, but you may be able to see the photos anyway after you click through a page or two:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Radio.WW2/p ... 9145184405

I live about 100 miles north of Yemassee on the former ACL mainline. It's pretty cool to think most or all of those ACL steamers rolled through my hometown that same day.

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