Palmetto Railways - page 2

Business View Magazine
Palmetto Railways
Storied railroad company travels a straight track in south carolina
Everyone agrees that a railroad train needs to run in
a straight line in order to achieve its maximum speed,
safety, and efficiency; too many curves in the track
ahead and the engineer has to slow down or risk jump-
ing the rails and causing a locomotive disaster. And
yet, the saga of South Carolina’s Palmetto Railways
has more twists and turns in its long history than a
bent corkscrew, a Bavarian pretzel, and a giant roller
coaster ride, all rolled into one.
The genealogy of today’s state-owned rail company,
a division of the South Carolina Department of Com-
merce, goes back over a hundred years, when the East
Shore Terminal Company operated a Southeastern
railroad that served North and South Carolina in the
late 1800s. In 1903, after the company had expanded
along the Charleston, South Carolina Harbor water-
front, its franchise and assets were transferred to the
Charleston Terminal Company. Some two decades lat-
er, the Public Utilities Commission of Charleston took
over the railroad’s operations. In 1942, the State of
South Carolina created the South Carolina State Ports
Authority, and once again, the railroad’s ownership
changed, as the State came in to try and monitor the
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