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Saluda Grade to reopen?

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Posted by MrBassman81 on Monday, December 27, 2021 6:02 PM

I walked from Saluda towards sand cut on Thanksgiving of this year. I took this picture about 1/4 mile down. I made it about half way to sand cut & turned around. Briars made it extremely difficult to navigate. Definetly no maintenance has been done. 

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Posted by roundstick on Tuesday, December 28, 2021 3:52 PM

ns145

Have no fear, Trip Optimizer and PTC will know just what to do!

Duck and cover!

 

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Posted by C40_9w on Thursday, March 24, 2022 7:35 PM

Hello, ive been following this thread for a while and thought id ask a questio. I dont know much about how railroads operate in this kind of field but howcome theyve kept it so long if it isnt in use? And due to recent events is it a possibility they would do something with it? i know they probably wouldnt use it but why not rip it up to use it for money if they want a profit so bad.

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, March 25, 2022 11:46 AM

C40_9w

Hello, ive been following this thread for a while and thought id ask a questio. I dont know much about how railroads operate in this kind of field but howcome theyve kept it so long if it isnt in use? And due to recent events is it a possibility they would do something with it? i know they probably wouldnt use it but why not rip it up to use it for money if they want a profit so bad.

While suggestions of re-activating the line are generally met with denial, that doesn't mean the railroad doesn't have some idea that it could someday become necessary and/or desirable.  Maintenance has apparently been negligible.  Apparently property taxes are not a significant issue.  And sometimes the scrap value is overshadowed by the cost of removal - never mind the rails themselves.  Remediation is an expense, too.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by C40_9w on Sunday, March 27, 2022 6:00 PM

Oh ok thanks.

 

 
C40_9w

Hello, ive been following this thread for a while and thought id ask a questio. I dont know much about how railroads operate in this kind of field but howcome theyve kept it so long if it isnt in use? And due to recent events is it a possibility they would do something with it? i know they probably wouldnt use it but why not rip it up to use it for money if they want a profit so bad.

 

While suggestions of re-activating the line are generally met with denial, that doesn't mean the railroad doesn't have some idea that it could someday become necessary and/or desirable.  Maintenance has apparently been negligible.  Apparently property taxes are not a significant issue.  And sometimes the scrap value is overshadowed by the cost of removal - never mind the rails themselves.  Remediation is an expense, too.

 

[/quote]

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 11:13 PM

Correct if wrong.  Is there a fiber optic cable along the ROW?  That might make it impossible to abandon depending on NC rules and how the land parcels were acquired.

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Posted by dubch87 on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 1:07 PM

blue streak 1

Correct if wrong.  Is there a fiber optic cable along the ROW?  That might make it impossible to abandon depending on NC rules and how the land parcels were acquired.

 



Yes. Street View

I can't remember the specifics from when I looked it up through the county's online register of deeds, but it was something like a 50-year lease that started circa 1995-96, so it may be another 25 years before anything can happen.

   

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Posted by diningcar on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 2:12 PM

 Way too many variables.

1: Fee title and/or reversion interests. If held in fee fiber agreement may be assigned to whomever fee is sold. 

2. ROW title is comprised of many components as several prior owners were probably involved, and each fee parcel must be examined to determine what may be done in event of abandonment. 

3. Each state has its own requirements regarding disposition, many established through litigation. 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 2:23 PM

The question I have about fiber optics on the actual grade  is that there have been a few hellacious washouts that have cut deep gullies across the ballast prism and subgrade -- I don't see any evidence of a cable line in these areas.

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Posted by dubch87 on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 3:33 PM

Overmod

The question I have about fiber optics on the actual grade  is that there have been a few hellacious washouts that have cut deep gullies across the ballast prism and subgrade -- I don't see any evidence of a cable line in these areas.


I can't speak for the grade itself and can't identify any exposed cable in that area either, but you can see the fiber optic warning sign at Melrose at the bottom of the grade here. The link above was at the top of the grade in Saluda. Here is a washout near US 25 in Zirconia showing exposed fiber conduit. Below is exposed fiber conduit at the washout at the Vaughn Creek fill south of Tryon, summer of 2013. So it's definitely there, and I'm assuming still in use.

 

   

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Posted by dubch87 on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 4:03 PM

Polk County Register of Deeds, Book 225, Page 756



   

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 4:45 PM

dubch87
Polk County Register of Deeds, Book 225, Page 756




 

A awful lot of chicken scratching to correct errors in the typed contents.

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Posted by Ulrich on Saturday, April 9, 2022 8:32 AM

Perhaps advances in the use of distributed power and the development of brake cars over the last 20 years make steeper grades less of a problem. Pulling a long train up a 5.1% grade or trying to control a long train coming down such a grade might be more manageable with lots of horsepower distributed throughout the train.  Alternative routing involves running more miles which to date has been cheaper than the shorter routing over Saluda. Who knows, maybe fuel cell or electric locomotives will one day tip things in favor of Saluda once again. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, April 9, 2022 6:42 PM

Ulrich
Perhaps advances in the use of distributed power and the development of brake cars over the last 20 years make steeper grades less of a problem. Pulling a long train up a 5.1% grade or trying to control a long train coming down such a grade might be more manageable with lots of horsepower distributed throughout the train.  Alternative routing involves running more miles which to date has been cheaper than the shorter routing over Saluda. Who knows, maybe fuel cell or electric locomotives will one day tip things in favor of Saluda once again. 

I don't think any level of technological improvement will be able to make operating a line segment with 5.1 percent grade economically viable in relation to competing routes with more nominal graidents.

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Posted by rixflix on Sunday, April 10, 2022 7:24 AM

And since it's in Polk County you'd need Polk Salad Annie to clear the vegetation. Dealing with her other attributes would be a problem.

Rick

rixflix aka Captain Video. Blessed be Jean Shepherd and all His works!!! Hooray for 1939, the all time movie year!!! I took that ride on the Reading but my Baby caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, April 10, 2022 4:19 PM

A number of the proposed 'autonomous vehicle' schemes might be able to muster the necessary hpt to make it up the grade; zero-rpm dynamic would address concerns of brake fade or one-pipe specific runaways.  Streetcars could regularly get adhesion on up to 12% grades loaded.  

That the route is inherently 'unsuited' to economical locomotive-hauled trains may in fact make it more attractive if mandated separation of 'lighter' vehicles from trains continues without waivers...

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, April 10, 2022 4:26 PM

rixflix
And since it's in Polk County you'd need Polk Salad Annie to clear the vegetation. Dealing with her other attributes would be a problem.

But he suuuuuure wanted more and more and more... chick-a-boom!

Real southerners know it's 'poke' salad.  How they ever figured out that stuff was edible, I don't know... that phytolaccine is vicious stuff.  

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, April 10, 2022 4:38 PM

Overmod
Real southerners know it's 'poke' salad.  How they ever figured out that stuff was edible, I don't know... that phytolaccine is vicious stuff.  

Had to look it up....

One name for phytolaccine  is "poke sallet..."

Sources say it's edible if picked at the right time and cooked.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by samfp1943 on Sunday, April 10, 2022 10:02 PM

Larry: your 'New York' is showing through :Chef  Laugh

Having grown up in North Miss and West Tenn... Polk Greens graced our tables in the Spring with some frequency...  "Polk Greens"  or 'Poke Sallet' [ the latter is a very common Southern Mis-ppronunciation of the description of 'Polk Salad'.] Sigh

Just remember... Polk Greens are poision when picked fresh...Normal preperation calls for the fresh greens to be cooked at least TWICE!  First boil generally, needs to last  about five minutes(until a full boil is reached).                    

ChefThe the greens are drained, and reboiled, until they are mostly, colorless.(about thirty minutes). If the cook is not satisfied with the boiled product....A third time boiling, is not unheard of..

Some Southerners will serve the poke salad with their favorite rice recipe, or  with a rice, and their favored condiment (vinegar, spices, peppers,etc.). 

 The Polk Greens are generally, a Spring 'weed'...They can be picked around about six inches high, and are found in areas of roadside ditches, and fence rows, around old farmsteads. 

Might even locate them while railfanning some old, RR ROW; Down South. Whistling

So there's your Spring Cookin' Lesson !  Oops - Sign

 

 


 

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, April 11, 2022 1:01 PM

samfp1943
Larry: your 'New York' is showing through : 

And the Midwestern roots before that.

I'm not necessarily a fan of Utica Greens, although another local dish - chicken riggies - is pretty darned good.  Some places offer a shrimp version, too.

I'm not a fan of cooked spinach, for that matter...

Now back to your regularly scheduled line renewal.

LarryWhistling
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Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
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Come ride the rails with me!
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Posted by dubch87 on Thursday, July 21, 2022 12:39 PM

Non-profit organizations are reportedly in "ongoing negotiations" with Norfolk Southern to purchase the inactive Saluda Grade and convert it to a rail trail. The South Carolina state budget has $5 million earmarked to help with the purchase.

https://www.tryondailybulletin.com/2022/07/21/nonprofits-working-to-turn-saluda-grade-into-rail-trail/

https://www.goupstate.com/story/news/local/2022/07/21/spartanburg-earmarks-target-west-main-corridor-saluda-grade-trail/10062038002/ 

https://conservingcarolina.org/saluda-grade/

   

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Posted by samfp1943 on Thursday, July 21, 2022 9:23 PM

dubch87

Non-profit organizations are reportedly in "ongoing negotiations" with Norfolk Southern to purchase the inactive Saluda Grade and convert it to a rail trail. The South Carolina state budget has $5 million earmarked to help with the purchase.

https://www.tryondailybulletin.com/2022/07/21/nonprofits-working-to-turn-saluda-grade-into-rail-trail/

https://www.goupstate.com/story/news/local/2022/07/21/spartanburg-earmarks-target-west-main-corridor-saluda-grade-trail/10062038002/ 

https://conservingcarolina.org/saluda-grade/

 

Thanks, Dubch87  ! Whistling  This is probably as close to a zombie Thread as there may be on this Forum (?)...Smile, Wink & Grin

It still seeems to have 'Fans' here...  I have not bveen to Saluda in years, but it still seems to garner interest

The following is a C&P from the TRYON DAILY BULLETIN :

FTA:"...The potential Saluda Grade rail trail would run from Inman to Zirconia. Approximately 16 miles of the line are in South Carolina while about 15 miles are in North Carolina. The route includes dramatic scenery along the Blue Ridge Escarpment and passes through historic downtowns in Saluda, Tryon, Landrum, and Inman. When active from 1878 to 2001, the line was renowned as the steepest standard gauge mainline railroad ever built in the United States.

“As we’ve seen with the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville County, trails like this are transformational economic engines,” said Andrea Cooper, executive director of Upstate Forever. “They bring money and jobs to the local economy, boost the quality of life for residents, and offer a safe and accessible way to spend time outdoors. The Saluda Grade Rail Trail will yield a return far beyond any initial investment.”

“Saluda Grade Trail will be an extraordinary recreational amenity for the residents of our region and could become a hub for a burgeoning network of connecting parks, trails and greenways across several counties,” said Kieran Roe, executive director of Conserving Carolina.  “The trail will also help preserve and promote awareness of the remarkable history of the Saluda Grade railroad, a 19th-century engineering marvel that was key to the growth and development of this part of the Carolinas...”  

It might be the one plan that will utilize the old ROW?   RailTrail, or maybe, Those 'rail bikes'(?) at least it would be a real use, particularly, when following some of the weathering, and deterioraton that has been documented on the Old 'Grade'.

AGAIN, I for one, appreciate your updates... Thanks Whistling 

 
 

 

 


 

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Posted by mudchicken on Friday, July 22, 2022 1:49 PM

You would have at least the 6 months -to- 24 months wait before anything would happen for a conventional rail trail. The AB- docket proceedings along with the potential line abandonment map (SDM) would need adjustment under the statutes. Right now the federally required  dockets are silent.

There are other things out there that could blow-up any potential rail trail.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, July 22, 2022 8:08 PM

Could they just lay topping over the existing track and 'leave it in place'?  That would give them their trail while keeping the railroad at least legally 'in place'...

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, July 22, 2022 9:17 PM

Overmod
Could they just lay topping over the existing track and 'leave it in place'?  That would give them their trail while keeping the railroad at least legally 'in place'...

Fixing the areas that have been washed out will be a chore - no matter if the right of way is to be used for rail or trail.

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Posted by kgbw49 on Saturday, July 23, 2022 8:26 AM

I have biked the Mickelson Trail between Hill City and Custer, SD.

Going upgrade to the summit at Crazy Horse is one heck of a pull on a bicycle. I don't know what the grade is there but if Saluda Grade is similar or steeper people are in for one heck of a workout if it ever becomes either a railbike route or a traditional bike route.

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Posted by Ulrich on Saturday, July 23, 2022 10:54 AM

I believe the grade is 4.8%. Very steep for a train but quite manageable on a bicycle..

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Posted by dubch87 on Saturday, July 23, 2022 1:59 PM

I can't imagine this announcement would be made and state dollars already set aside if NS wasn't serious about selling. The non-profits just need to raise the amount NS wants for the line. It's been sitting for 20 years and will never see another train.

There are two nearby rail trails: the Thermal Belt Rail Trail in Rutherford County and the upcoming Ecusta Trail in Henderson and Transylvania counties. Both trails had ties and rails removed. The Thermal Belt Rail trail is a 12-ft asphalt path. I foresee the same or similar happening for Saluda Grade.

WATCO sold the 19-mile TR branch for $7.8 million last year. The first 6 miles of the Ecusta Trail are expected to be constructed soon at a cost of around $6.5 million. Total cost to construct the entire trail is estimated at $31 million.

Construction costs will probably be much higher for the Saluda stretch due to the aforementioned washouts. The majority are relatively minor and could be addressed with fill, but the big one east of the Big Fall Creek trestle will probably have to be addressed with a pedestrian bridge.

Assuming this goes forward, it will likely proceed in phases as funding becomes available. The 4-mile stetch connecting Tryon and Landrum would probably be first.

Hopefully some interpretive markers can be added at various points along the grade (stop boards, braking, runaway tracks, timing section, splitting up at Melrose, etc.) to provide a history of the line for future generations rather than letting it sit forgotten and reclaimed by nature.

   

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Posted by Gramp on Saturday, July 23, 2022 10:56 PM

Ulrich

I believe the grade is 4.8%. Very steep for a train but quite manageable on a bicycle..

 

And electric bikes are more prevalent for those who need a "helper" for the grade. 

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, July 24, 2022 12:17 PM

Gramp
And electric bikes are more prevalent for those who need a "helper" for the grade. 

Do those bikes have dynamics for the trip down?  They might want to put in runoffs for the bike riders.  And benches for those going up the hill.

4.3% is about 2.5 degres.  Doesn't sound like much, but I'll bet you ll be huffing and puffing by the time you get to the top of the three miles.  Even walking.

You're climbing 600 feet vertically.

That doesn't mean it can't be done, but forewarned is forearmed...

LarryWhistling
Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

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