South Carolina Railroad Museum: worth a visit?

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South Carolina Railroad Museum: worth a visit?

Postby SouthernRailway » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:38 pm

As a frequent traveler to Charlotte and Upstate South Carolina, I see that there is a "South Carolina Railroad Museum" in Winnsboro, requiring a detour. Has anyone been and, if so, is it worth a visit? It seems to have a collection of equipment plus active train rides.

Thanks.
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Re: South Carolina Railroad Museum: worth a visit?

Postby Gadfly » Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:21 am

I can't speak to that, but Aiken, SC has put together a "decent" museum by refurbishing the depot downtown and putting together a series of archives, photos and exhibits. They are also refurbishing one or two passenger cars. I found it because my daughter lives there. It is a nice browsing museum. Aiken once had quite a railroad history (on Southern) and passenger trains once paid call for New York to Atlanta (and beyond). Aiken is "old money" and a mecca for horse racing. The rich once maintained winter homes to take advantage of the warmer clime, and they commuted back and forth seasonally to New York, Connecticut and such parts. Many race horses are based there.

When you visit the museum, you can almost "feel" the atmosphere of trains backing into the "wye", and porters busily loading baggage, and the hustle and bustle of the crowds bound for somewhere. Aiken is a charming town and worth the detour off I-20 to spend a few hours browsing at the depot and the downtown shops of which there are many. While many larger towns have "died" with the influx of malls and shopping centers, Aiken seems to have the right combination of knowledge and spunk to keep a thriving downtown area of several blocks going both parallel and across the "square". And, this, despite, the boulevards that sprang up around malls and essentially killed bigger towns who either gave up trying to revive the city, or embarked on programs that just didn't work! Aiken has the same long, crowded boulevard as the other long-dead towns with the empty store fronts and whiskey- filled derelicts hanging around. It has the Walmarts (2),
the Home Depot, Lowes, a Cracker Barrel and a long line of well-known restaurants and businesses. And its HALF the size of the town in which *I* live: all the "downtown" moved with Belks Department Stores and the mall in 1976. We still have a couple of Amtrak trains that come thru in the wee hours of the night, and we are located on the NS mainline. Main Avenue is a slum. Some store fronts were torn down leaving an empty hole downtown, and paint-peeling old buildings revealing ancient signs of 1890's businesses long gone. Most people never GO downtown anymore: its too dangerous. Oh, there's a couple of restaurants that have moved in; one in the old Webb theater bldg. They feature upscale meals and sandwiches, and show old AMC movies to showcase the building's heritage as a movie theater. There's movie posters of long-ago films that played there---at which I, as a young man, attended. They spent millions on "revitalization" projects and dug a ditch for the railroad tracks: The old depot that I worked in as an Extra Board Clerk and Agent is high and dry and serves as a feed store now.......................... None of their remedies worked. The town is a slum. It became so in '76 and remains so now. Nothing will bring it back. Its too late. The sprawl has taken over, and the boulevard (Franklin Ave) has become "the town" while the old buildings that served as town since 1870's sit in silent decay. You can't watch trains in Gastonia: there's a ditch where the main line used to be. Oh, you can go a bit north or south of town and find a spot to watch the hotshots bound for Atlanta. Better place is Ranlo near the bakery, or, better still, Lowell, NC. There's a parking lot behind the police station or the little city hall. This is where I watched 611 blast thru one night around 1993-94 making track speed because they were late and trying to stay ahead of the Crescent so they wouldn't have to clear up.

But if you are traveling and have some time to kill, visit Aiken's little museum. Lots of history there!

GF
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Re: South Carolina Railroad Museum: worth a visit?

Postby lvrr325 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:30 am

Doesn't it have a website? There's one below Columbia that even has excursions, but is only open Saturdays.
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Re: South Carolina Railroad Museum: worth a visit?

Postby runningwithscalpels » Tue Dec 10, 2013 5:40 pm

Hub City Railroad Museum, which is connected to the Amtrak station in Spartanburg, SC is very small, but I thought it was interesting. I wouldn't particularly go out of my way to visit (my parents, who I was visiting live about a half an hour away in Campobello). They have rather weird hours, and I think they opened rather recently, but the guy who was manning the desk when I went was quite knowledgable and chatty (and was willing to overlook my New Haven Railroad shirt that I was wearing - ha!) If you're in the area, it's worth checking out.

Their website seems to be squatted upon due to domain expiration (Whatever it is, it's in Japanese...) , so the best I can suggest is looking at their facebook page.

I also did a write-up on my blog, which has some pictures and such.
http://www.ihazachoochootrainproblem.com/2013/07/southern-trolling-hub-city-railroad.html
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Re: South Carolina Railroad Museum: worth a visit?

Postby Railman1396 » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:01 pm

SCRM does have a website and it is only open on Saturdays, May through Oct. Sometimes you can catch a friendly volunteer there on a non operating sat and get a 'behind the scene' tour. They do have an interesting collection, mostly ex-military locomotives however. Still, it is worth a stop if you happen to be going by, it isn't that far off I-77.
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Re: South Carolina Railroad Museum: worth a visit?

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:42 pm

Thanks for the info; I went, and the train ride was excellent, in a 1924 Southern Railway dining car. The ride lasted about an hour, so it was a lot of good railroad time. I'd recommend this museum highly; it's worth a long detour!
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Re: South Carolina Railroad Museum: worth a visit?

Postby Gadfly » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:34 pm

runningwithscalpels wrote:Hub City Railroad Museum, which is connected to the Amtrak station in Spartanburg, SC is very small, but I thought it was interesting. I wouldn't particularly go out of my way to visit (my parents, who I was visiting live about a half an hour away in Campobello). They have rather weird hours, and I think they opened rather recently, but the guy who was manning the desk when I went was quite knowledgable and chatty (and was willing to overlook my New Haven Railroad shirt that I was wearing - ha!) If you're in the area, it's worth checking out.

Their website seems to be squatted upon due to domain expiration (Whatever it is, it's in Japanese...) , so the best I can suggest is looking at their facebook page.

I also did a write-up on my blog, which has some pictures and such.
http://www.ihazachoochootrainproblem.com/2013/07/southern-trolling-hub-city-railroad.html


I actually worked at the Spartanburg station in '82, mostly as Porter/Baggage Handler. I loaded baggage on the Southern Crescent, hauled crews, and was Operator/Train Order Clerk at Hayne Yard. This was off the Extra Board when I was forced to the 'board at Hayne in early '82 out of Charlotte Yard. Actually it was a better place to work than Charlotte. The pace was slower, people didn't get so bent out of shape like they did up at the faster-paced Charlotte Yard. If it hadn't been right at 60 miles one way to Hayne, I'd have stayed there so long as I wasn't "rolled"! In the fall of '82, I bid back to Charlotte.

The old Spartanburg station was in bad repair back then. the passenger landing roof had collapsed out at the south end after a snow storm, and they told us not to go out under there. Besides, they had it blocked off with yellow tape. The last time I was at Spartanburg, they had the old station fixed up, and the museum folks had a small exhibit in one of the rooms. It was at the old Rhyne's Drug store (by then only a sandwich shop), north of the station, that I climbed up onto the steam engine C & O 2716 to come to Charlotte, thus avoiding a long wait for Amtrak. I had worked the first trick that Saturday AM, and arranged with the Road Foreman of Engines for me to ride the cab. My car was in Charlotte, and I had caught Amtrak to work down there during a furlough and the 'board was short. I "bumped" a supposedly well-connected railfan who was riding up there, and the RFE told him he'd have to get down and ride back in the train.

BOY! Was he mad! :-D Too bad....business is business, and railroaders look out for each other! LOL! :wink:

GF
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