Saluda Historic Depot Commemorates 50th Anniversary of the Last Run of the "Carolina Special"
After 53 years of running from Charleston to Asheville and beyond to the mid-west, the passenger train, "Carolina Special" made its final run up the Saluda Grade 50 years ago on December 5, 1968. To commemorate this auspicious occasion, the Saluda Historic Depot invites everyone to a drop-in reception at the Depot on December 5, 2018 from 6pm to 7:30pm. There will be special guests, speakers, and refreshments. Special guests and speakers will be:
Bill Schafer, retired from Norfolk-Southern and co-founder of the Southern Railway Historical Association (SRHA) will cover a brief history of the Carolina Special, and conclude with some personal memories of the train, especially on December 5, 1968.
Bill Schafer, 70, graduated from Davidson College in 1970, and began working for Southern Railway in 1971. He retired in 2011 as Norfolk Southern's Director-Strategic Planning in Norfolk, Va., after
a career spanning over forty years.
Bill has harbored a lifelong interest in railroads in general, and railroad history in particular. While at college, he made numerous trips to western North Carolina to ride and photograph passenger trains, including the Asheville Special and the Carolina Special. He actually rode over Saluda Grade on the Carolina Special seven times over the years 1966-1968, and once more on a special excursion train in 1972. He skipped a few classes to photograph the last Carolina Special climbing the grade on December 5, 1968.
In 1986 Bill helped found the Southern Railway Historical Association, which preserves and disseminates information related to the Southern Railway, principally through its quarterly journal, TIES Magazine. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga, which restores, maintains, and operates historic Southern Railway equipment.
Bill and his wife, Linda, travel extensively, but call Virginia Beach, Virginia, home.
Bill will bring some back issues of TIES Magazine for sale ($9) that feature Saluda and/or the Carolina Special, a small supply of SRHA's 2019 all-color calendar ($10); one of the months (December) features a photo of the steam-powered Carolina Special on Saluda Grade. Some of the proceeds from these sales will be donated to the Saluda Historic Depot.
Raymond "Bo" Brown from Spartanburg, SC will return to the Depot after presenting, How "The Southern" Served the South at Saluda Train Tales in 2017. He will be on hand to answer questions about the history of Southern Railway Dining Car Service and will bring samples of dining service including, china patterns, silver hollowware, silver flatware, linens, menus, all things used in the dining car during their 84 years of Southern Railway passenger car service.
Carolyn Weisbecker, daughter of Francis B Fishburne who commissioned the painting of the "Carolina Special" by the famous American artist Howard Fogg will be a special guest. Howard Fogg was known to "single-handedly paint the trains of America into railroad history." Carolyn will tell the story behind the painting and will bring prints that will be for sale. Proceeds from the sale will go to the Saluda Historic Depot. Her father, Francis B. Fishburne was a great friend of Frank Clodfelter, the Southern engineer who ran the Carolina Special for many years. Her grandfather, also named Francis. B. Fishburne, was a conductor on the Columbia to Asheville run for 40 years. He passed away in 1939.
We hope you can join us on December 5th at 6pm to salute the Carolina Special!