The Carolina Division

Currently, I live in Silicon Valley, not a mecca for train watching (UP, SP, Amtrak, CalTrain)! I grew up in South Carolina, and my allegiance is to those high hood black diesels of the Southern Railway, that used to roam the South. Some still do, but under different flags.

I grew up in the area of the Carolina and Piedmont Divisions of the Southern Railway. The Seaboard Coast Line also crosses this area multiple time. Part of the Carolina Division from Seven Mile (Charleston, SC) to Hamburg (across the Savannah River from Augusta, GA), is the route used by the Best Friend, the first regularly scheduled train service in North America. The first official day of operation was December 25, 1830. In preparation for the planning, design and future construction of my Carolina and Piedmont Division layout, I am in the process of taking pictures of the structures, track work, and cars the I will model, or use as a reference.

Southern Railway was very innovative, and developed some unique equipment. I will be building some of these unique freight and MoW cars. There will be quite alot of MoW equipment in use and parked along my layout most of it custom built as the Southern did.

My Layout

My HO layout will model the Southern Railway from the mid 70's until about two years after the merger with the Norfolk and Western in 1982. This layout is currently in the planning stages. Some passenger cars might appear in a mixed train. Mixed service had been discontinued in the early 60's on this tracks. But there will be no complete passenger train, since the Crescent did not serve this area, unless they are run as specials. Southern was the last holdout to merge its passenger service into Amtrak, with the Crescent still being run by Southern up until 1979.

Layout Specifics

The layout will be modular, most likely following the Free-mo standard, until I have a permanent room for it. I have looked at many other module standards, and do not see them fitting my individual needs. I like the idea of a point to point layout, it fits the area that I am going to model, not just an oval. I do not have room for a permanent layout, and do not want to lock up my garage except when I am running. The modules will be designed using CADRAIL. As the design progresses, this page will contain zipped files of each module.


The design and planning on the electronics end in currently going on. I am not sure if I will initially use command control or not. The long-term goal is for the complete control of the layout by computer. This includes the train, block detection, signals, and turnouts. This control will most likely be phased in over a period of time.


All of the engines on the Carolina Division will be diesel, with a few being first generation. Occasionally, a steam engine will appear carrying a railfan outing. Here is the current roster for the Carolina Division.


Prototype Information on the area

Non-signaled single track is common through the division, with sidings and speed restrictions as listed below.


Industries /Traffic

The following industries are located in the area, and their associated traffic is shown below.





RailBox Rebuilding Center

Old boxcars, and newly rebuild boxcars


Owens Corning Fiberglass

Recycled glass in open gondolas, Boxcars of insulation and shingles



steel coil


JM Huber (truck to rail transfer)

hoppers and covered gondolas



farm feed


Graniteville Co

Coal hoppers and loaded boxcars out.


JM Huber

Loaded hoppers.

Excellent article on the Kaolin industry, in the April 19993 RMC, page 81.

(SCL) interchange

Savannah River Plant (Department of Defense)

Coal, and Nuclear Products in special cars


The following industries are fictious, and their associated traffic is shown below.





Coal Power Plant

Coal, sulfur for scrubbers


Nuclear power plant under construction

Sand, rocks, cement, rebar, piping. large loads: reactors, transformers, turbines, pumps, motors, and generators


Concrete plant



fertilizer/feed mill



Gas & propane storage yard



Rail road tie treatment facility

Will have a 30" narrow gauge to move the ties around and some dual gauge track in the storage area.


Lumber Yard


Norfolk Southern Currently runs the following scheduled local trains: