The Southern Railway 1830–1982


Map Code: Ax01974

The Southern Railway (SOU) consists of nearly 150 predecessor lines, the first of which was owned by the South Carolina and Rail Road Co., whose first passenger steam locomotive left Charleston, South Carolina, on Christmas Day, 1830. By 1833, the line extended 136 miles (219 km) southwards from Charleston and was the largest continuous railroad track in the world. The railroad expanded across the South until the Civil War, when there was a hiatus. During reconstruction, the railroad resumed expansion, with new tracks laid in Ohio and Mississippi. Mergers led to it formally becoming the Southern Railway in 1894, when it controlled routes leading south, to New Orleans, southern Georgia and Florida. By 1916, the railroad covered 13 states and owned 8,000 miles (129 km) of track. Its main artery was the double-track passenger line from Washington to Atlanta, with the dual tracks laid in World War I. In 1982, after several further mergers, it became the Norfolk Southern Corporation and now operates in 22 eastern states.

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