Norfolk Southern Blacksburg Yard

Blacksburg Yard is located in Blacksburg SC at MP 424 on Norfolk Southern's Charlotte - Spartanburg main line. The small yard can be viewed from either side just off Hwy 5 without entering railroad property. Trains magazine featured an article about the Blacksburg to Shelby line in its April, 1994 issue.
Blacksburg yard was used as an interchange for traffic from the SB line, which originally ran from Marion, NC to Kingville, SC. In past times, two EMD 4-axle units would be based at the yard to service industries along the SB line. Weight restrictions of a trestle over Buffalo Creek on the line to Shelby dictated an old boxcar be placed between the units to spread locomotive weight.

Most of the roadbed from Marion, NC to Shelby, NC was ripped up after the abandonment frenzy of the 80's. Tracks were also ripped up beyond Kings Creek, through York (the SB line interchanged here with the Carolina & Northwestern, also abandoned) and toward Rock Hill, SC. 30+ years of abandonment have taken their toll and now it's difficult to find evidence of the roadbed in some places.

A section of the line from Shelby, NC to Kings Creek, SC was spared and used regularly until NS ceased operations in 2010.

The line from Blacksburg to Kings Creek was operated by Carolina Coastal [CLNA]. CLNA used a GP30 to service Industrial Minerals until rail operations were terminated in 2013. Afterwards, the CLNA GP30 was parked around Blacksburg yard unused until it was taken away by rail in 2015.

Blacksburg yard is seldom used now except for occasional car storage.

In 2015, NS filed for abandonment of the line.
Highway crossings were paved over.

In 2020, rails of the remaining SB line were cut up and removed. In addition, the SB line railroad bridge over Interstate 85 near Blacksburg was removed in preparation for a 3 lane project through upstate SC. A new bridge has been built for a planned walking track.

Photos on this page depict images of Blacksburg yard and SB line in Cherokee County, SC and Cleveland County, NC when steel wheels polished the railheads.

Click on images to enlarge.

- Blacksburg - MP424
The local's conductor swings down off a Southern Railway bay window caboose during switching operations. The tank cars and covered hoppers in the background were common traffic on the SB line.
If you look closely, a red Motorola MT500 handheld is in his belt holster. These radios were engraved with SOU RY CO on the front cover.
NS 119 stopped in the yard to exchange traffic for the SB line's local switcher jobs. On this cloudy March day in '95, GP59 4608 and BB 8851 (in tow) were in the consist. Mainline track is in the foreground.
NS 4608 in the yard switching cars to make up a train for the SB line. This view from 8/90 shows the yard was once busy with activity.
Buckingham Branch 8851 in NS 119's consist stopped at Blacksburg yard. This locomotive was originally L&N 404.
These log cars are unusual visitors at Blacksburg yard. There is no wood processing plant on the SB line. At one time, there was a pulpwood yard in Hickory Grove, SC served by the railroad. Rails to Smyrna, Hickory Grove, Sharon, and York, SC were pulled in the 80's.
NS 980 with 9329 pulling new CAT dozers north through Blacksburg yard.
NS 211 heads south through Blacksburg yard on this overcast March 2015 day with Central of Georgia 8101 leading two Union Pacific units. Camp cars are parked in the yard for crews working in the area.
Carolina Coastal GP30 23 in the yard at Blacksburg. This Feb 2011 photo shows unit had just arrived.
The GP30 was used to service Industrial Mineral's ore processing facility in Kings Creek, SC after NS abandoned the SB line in 2010. Industrial Minerals no longer uses the railroad. The entire SB line in this area has fell silent.
There has been discussion the aggregate mine near I-85 will be using rail to ship its product. A map was circulated showing where proposed rail sidings will be built at the mine site.
A new bridge replaced the original over the interstate and was built with capability to carry rail traffic when I-85 was widened.
Carolina Coastal GP30 23 on the house track at Blacksburg. This locomotive sat unused in the yard for over a year after Industrial Minerals ceased operations.
Carolina Coastal GP30 23 shown parked at Industrial Minerals ore processing facility in Kings Creek, SC. The SB line rails ended here on the industry's property when the new Hwy 5 project was completed. The trestle near the processing plant is the reason no more rail traffic will use the SB line to King's Creek. The CLNA GP30 was parked at various places around Blacksburg yard unused until taken away in June 2015.
GMTX 9023 parked on the house track in Blacksburg yard. The unit was set out of a mainline consist after experiencing problems. Ore cars for Industrial Minerals in Kings Creek, SC line a yard track.
NS 980 with 9540 pulls three transformer loads north through Blacksburg yard. Occasionally, a green Siemens wide-vision caboose brings up the rear on transformer loads.
View looking railroad north, NS 980 rolls past Blacksburg yard with transformer loads.
NS119 at the intermediate signal in Blacksburg. 119 will head south down into the Broad River valley and continue on its way toward Spartanburg SC and points beyond. This signal was removed during upgrade in early 2013.
Canadian National 2174 trails on this northbound stack train through Blacksburg, SC.
Canadian Pacific 6223 with two leased units trailed by an NS locomotive heads south through Blacksburg yard in April, 2014.
This view is from the east side of the roadbed looking south toward Broad River valley. New signal installation can be seen in left side of photo. Old signals were removed in early 2013. New style signal housing holds aspects for both directions.
NS119 with NS 6565 leading two units south between Blacksburg yard and Broad River at Moss Crossing. 119 will quickly make the run downgrade into the Broad River valley.

- SB line -
This view from April, 2000 shows the siding in Earl NC, a few miles up the SB line from Blacksburg yard. Tank cars and covered hoppers were stored on siding at times. The old depot was removed years ago. Tracks are now gone. Road crossings have been paved over.
GP30 2637 and a GP38 spliced by the "spacer" boxcar at former Southern Railway station in Shelby, NC. Common practice was for crews to tie up here when working north of Blacksburg. A crossing at grade with CSX (SAL) was about a mile north. After NS ripped up tracks from Marion to Shelby, the local would use CSX tracks for servicing PPG. A short portion of the original main line remained from Conshel to MP160 where the SB line terminates.
NS 5065 GP38-2 tied up in the industrial yard at PPG Industries, Shelby NC. This 2010 photo was taken before NS abandoned the SB line. Milepost 160 marker still stands at the end of the line. Pine trees have begun to grow in between the rails on the original SB mainline here. CSX and NS jointly serviced PPG Industries for years. CSX currently handles rail traffic at PPG.
NS sent track gangs up the SB line in 2010. Ties were replaced, track work was performed and then line was abandoned. Road crossings have been paved. This view is looking south on Bettis Road a few miles up the line from Blacksburg. Stacks of old ties that were bundled have slowly disappeared. The right of way is overgrown with trees and brush, rail was removed.
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