Southern Railway Company
The Southern Railway Company was created on July 1, 1894 by the consolidation and reorganization of several bankrupt southern railroads by J.P. Morgan & Co., New York Bankers.
Train service first reached Calhoun, South Carolina (later Clemson) on September 28, 1873 after the Atlanta & Richmond Air Line Railway spent three years constructing a five-foot gauge line between Atlanta and Charlotte. The line went into foreclosure in 1877 and was sold, becoming part of the Richmond & Danville Railroad, known as the Piedmont Air Line Route. Controlled by the Clyde family steamship operators, their railroad holdings went insolvent in the early 1890s and the Southern Railway System was created, with the track though Calhoun, founded in 1892, becoming part of the Washington, D.C.-Atlanta mainline.
Clemson President Robert C. Edwards was successful in the early 1960s in convincing Southern President D.W. Brosnan to switch the main stop for the area from Seneca to the college town.
The Southern would continue to offer passenger service through Clemson until February 1, 1979, when the National Rail Passenger Corporation, popularly known as Amtrak, assumed responsibility for the Southern Crescent, one of only two privately operated passenger trains in the country (The other was the Rio Grande Zephyr, operated by the Denver & Rio Grande Western, between Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California). The Southern Railway System would continue to operate freight trains through Clemson until it was merged out of existence with the creation of Norfolk Southern on June 1, 1982, as the Southern linked up with the Norfolk & Western Railway.
- A freight train derailed while crossing the Seneca River trestle (now spanning Lake Hartwell) in the mid-1960s and cars were strewn along the south embankment and several went into the lake. The boxcars filled with cotton waste are still down there. They were judged too heavy to lift and not worth the trouble.