North Carolina Railroads - Charleston, Cincinnati & Chicago Railroad


Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Original Starting Point

Original Ending Point





Edgefield, SC Marion, NC Shelby, NC

Aiken, SC Shelby, NC Camden, SC
*1896 - Re-organized as the Ohio River & Charleston Railroad.
+ 1887 - Merged in the Rutherford Railway Construction Company and the Rutherfordton, Marion & Tennessee Railway.

Discussions of an Ohio River route to the Eastern Coast started in the 1830s, when representatives from North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky met at Gate City, Virginia. This meeting originated a plan which would allow for the construction of a railroad that closely resembled what was actually constructed over the next seventy years.

Prior to the Civil War, little more than talk and plans were made, however. In 1886, a group of financiers organized the Charleston, Cincinnati & Chicago Railroad - also well known as the 3-Cs or Triple Cs line. Their objective was to extend a rail line from Charleston, South Carolina to Ashland, Kentucky - with the intent of tapping the rich veins of coal in southwestern Virginia and eastern Kentucky, as well as the iron ore recently found near Cranberry, North Carolina.

On December 22, 1886, the SC Legislature chartered this railroad as a re-organization of the Georgetown & North Carolina Narrow Gauge Railroad, including the consolidation of two incomplete North Carolina railroads - the Rutherford Railway Construction Company and the Rutherford, Marion & Tennessee Railway.

Construction began at Rutherfordton, North Carolina and quickly proceeded south to Camden, South Carolina by 1888. In 1889, the line was extended northward 25 miles to Marion, North Carolina. Simultaneously, construction was proceeding southward from Ashton to Richardson, in Kentucky.

In 1890, financial disaster struck the Triple C railroad. A major investor, Baker Brothers & Company, failed in the financial panic of the time, and the courts ordered that the railroad go into receivership. In May of 1893, the railroad was sold to its bondholders and a new corporation was established - the Ohio River & Charleston Railroad - with a NC and a SC Legislative Act confirming the re-organization in 1896.

From the 1st Annual Report of the North Carolina Railroad Commission, dated December 31, 1891:

This company was organized and chartered September 30th, 1886, and succeeded to the rights of the
Rutherfordton Railway Construction Company.

Total mileage in North Carolina, 64-1/2 miles, through the counties of Cleveland, Rutherford and

The present name and corporate existence of this company began with an Act of the General Assembly of South Carolina ratified on the 22d day of December, 1885.

The Rutherfordton Railway Construction Company was organized under an Act of the General Assembly of North Carolina ratified on the 6th day of February, 1883.

The Rutherfordton, Marion & Tennessee Railway Company was organized under an Act of the General Assembly of North Carolina ratified on the 25th day of February, 1881.

These two last-named companies were allowed to consolidate with and merge into the Charleston, Cincinnati & Chicago Railroad Company by an Act of the General Assembly ratified the 17th day of February, 1887.

The purpose of this Act was to make one continuous line and to extend the road into and across the State of North Carolina, and to enable it to be continued across the States of Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky to the Ohio River.

Currently in receivership.

Receiver------------------------------- D. H. Chamberlain ------------------- Charleston, SC.
General Manager---------------------- C. M. Ward--------------------------- Charleston, SC.
Superintendent ------------------------ A. Tripp------------------------------- Blacksburg, SC.

Towns on Route (in NC):



Vein Mountain (1886)

Pescud (1888) > Thermal City (1891)

Union Mills (1892)

Gilkey (1893)

Forest City



Lattimore (1886) > Delight (1887) > Lattimore #2 (1888)


Swangs > Patterson Springs (1892)

Earl Station (1888) > Earl (1895)

NC/SC State Line

© 2018 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved