Looks like the about-to-be eastbound Asheville Special approaching Biltmore station from the servicing track in the freight yard. Photo is facing west. Left-hand cantilever signal bridge is still there, for now at least. Track closest to platform is the Spartanburg line via Saluda. By this time the Asheville station had been torn down. Click to enlarge.

(Photo by Roger Puta, railfan 44, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.)


Southern Railway drumhead.


The Aiken-Augusta Special was a named night train of the Southern Railway between New York City and Augusta, Georgia. Different from other long distance Southern Railway lines which tended to briefly go through the northwestern edge of South Carolina, this route went through the interior of the state. Its route marked the last directly north-south route between Charlotte, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina, and it marked one of the last long distance trains into Augusta, Georgia. The train began as the Augusta Special on October 24, 1915.

Beginning in 1928 the train had a section that split from the main route at Trenton, South Carolina and went to Aiken, South Carolina, and so the train took the name, Aiken-Augusta Special. The train was carried over Pennsylvania Railroad tracks from New York City to Washington, D.C. and in an unusual arrangement the coach cars were on a different train (No. 153 the Congressional southbound; No. 112 unnamed, northbound) from the sleeping cars between New York and Washington, and upon reaching the latter city the itinerary became merged.

Major stations on main Augusta route

New York, NY
Newark, NJ
North Philadelphia, PA
Wilmington, DE
Baltimore, MD
Washington, D.C.
Charlottesville, VA
Greensboro, NC
High Point
Rock Hill, SC
Augusta, GA

Asheville Special

The train had the Asheville Special (Nos. 15 south/16 north; begun in 1930), which split from the main route in Greensboro, North Carolina and continued west from Greensboro, to Winston-Salem and then to Asheville, North Carolina. The sleeping cars were continuous from New York City to Asheville; but the coaches and the diner were strictly Asheville to Greensboro cars. The remainder of the trip, Greensboro to New York was on Aiken-Augusta Special equipment.

For four years (1966-1970) after the termination of the Augusta Special, the Asheville Special was tacked onto the Crescent from Greensboro to New York. However, southbound, the sleeping car was handled by the Southerner from New York to Greensboro.

Major stops on the Asheville-Greensboro route:

In 1970 the Asheville Special was truncated to an Asheville-Salisbury train. It was finally discontinued in 1975. 

Augusta Special and demise

With dwindling traffic in the 1950s, the Aiken spur route was eliminated and in 1953 the train reverted to the Augusta Special. Sleeper service was eliminated on October 27, 1962. Its final run as a named train between Charlotte and Augusta was on October 22, 1966.


Service type: Inter-city rail
Status: Discontinued
Locale: Southeastern United States
First service: October 24, 1915
Last service: October 22, 1966
Former operators: Pennsylvania Railroad, Southern Railway (U.S.)
Route Termini: New York, New York / Augusta, Georgia; and secondary route to Aiken, South Carolina
Distance traveled: 795.4 miles (1,280.1 km) (New York-Augusta, 1952)
Service frequency: Daily
Train numbers: 31 (southbound) and 32 (northbound)
On-board services
Seating arrangements: Reclining seat coach
Sleeping arrangements: Sections, roomettes, single bedrooms, double bedrooms, drawing room, compartments
Catering facilities: Diner
Track gauge 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)

See Also:

Asheville Special

Named Passenger Trains A-K

Named Passenger Trains L-Z