Pictures of Charleston Rail

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a book about railroads in Charleston with lots of great photographs would be priceless, right? Well with a little help from the folks here in town, and maybe a few spread further away, that is what I am hoping for.

Charleston South Carolina Arcadia PublishingI am working with Arcadia Publishing, coincidentally located here in Charleston, to produce a book for their Images of Rail series. This is not going to be a dry history, but a look into how the railroads and streetcar lines in Charleston really fit in with local life and helped to shape that life. To that end, I am looking for old photographs that might be used in “Charleston Rail”.

Do you have a photograph of a great uncle waving from the streetcar on which he was a conductor? Do you have a snapshot of the old Seaboard Air Line Railway station at Grove and Rutledge? Maybe you even have a few pictures of relatives coming in to town at Union Station that burned in the forties. Anything like this would be of interest.

The importance of family collections cannot be overemphasized. Vintage photographs become increasingly fragile and by scanning and reproducing them in a book, they become available for all to see. While postcards are great, and well loved, what I am looking for here are actual photographs. They have to be out there somewhere – in trunks, in photo albums, or hanging on the wall.

So please, if you have anything you think might be of interest, just let me know. I would love to talk with you. Shoot me an email, give me a call or jump me in the street. If you choose the latter, please be gentle.

And if you are interested in the book, stay tuned and I will let you know when it comes out. If you subscribe to this site, you will be one of the first to know.

A Little Fiction For The Evening

Preacher Ludlow looked down at the train schedule in his hand, glanced up a the large clock on the railway station wall, and then neatly folded the type written schedule back together and tucked it in his wallet. Preacher shifted his gaze out the window and saw the people on the platform start shifting from foot to foot and pick up their bags and packages.

Pulling into the station precisely at half-past nine in the morning, the train was late again as usual. That the nine-fifteen train would arrive a quarter of an hour late was the norm here. The first train of the day arrived on time at fifteen minutes past eight, but after that each successive train would be about fifteen minutes later. This causes a slow but steady shift of the schedule where the ten fifteen train would arrive at ten forty-five and so on. By the end of the day, entire runs were shaved off the route. Nobody seemed to care much though because the trains still ran throughout the day, there was plenty of room on each one for everyone who cared to ride, and most everyone who took the train out of the little country station knew the actual schedule by heart.
Continue reading “A Little Fiction For The Evening”

Christmas Train Wishes

I just wanted to pause for a moment and wish you all a Merry Christmas. One of the things I have associated with Christmas since I was a small boy is trains. I love railroads and model railways, but as with a lot of folks, that pull gets even stronger around the holidays.

So, my off way of wishing you a happy holiday is to post a couple of model train pictures. The first one above, is of the OO British train that we have around our Christmas tree at home this year. I have been collecting British engines, cars, and buildings for years from makers like Hornby, Bachmann, and Lima, but this is the first time I have actually put them out. Maybe one day I will have a full layout, but until then under the Christmas tree will have to suffice. My son the layout work and test all of my engines to find the one that ran the best and most consistently.

The second picture, below, is from the Charleston Place hotel in downtown Charleston. Every year this grand hotel, owned The Orient-Express Hotels, puts a huge display up at the base of their main staircase. This layout is always a favorite with visitors and especially children – no matter what their age. This year the layout was created by the Charleston Model Railroad Club. It is, I am guessing, twenty feet by fifteen feet and probably eight feet at its highest point. With many different engines running at the same time, all automated, it is quite an impressive display.

So there you have some of my favorites for the season. Two things that both bring joy to my family and me currently, and bring back memories of things I loved when I was a boy. I wish you and yours a joyful and memorable holiday as well.