The Asheville Special at Biltmore Station in the last year of service, August 1971. Click to enlarge.

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


Southern Railway logo.


The Asheville Special was a named train of the Southern Railway that ran from Asheville, North Carolina to Greensboro, North Carolina and on to Washington, D.C. and New York City with the Pennsylvania Railroad and later with the Penn Central from 1968 to 1970.

In 1953, trains 15 and 16, the Asheville Special had two sleepers running to and from New York City. A dining car also ran between Asheville and Greensboro. Trains 27 and 28 Cincinnati to Charleston, the Carolina Special, had sleepers from Chicago to Asheville and on to Charleston, the above mentioned Chicago to Greensboro; Cincinnati to Asheville; and Louisville to Asheville and on to Columbia.

Aiken-Augusta Special

The Asheville Special was connected with the Aiken-Augusta Special and 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 added onto the Crescent from Greensboro to New York. However, southbound, the sleeping car was handled by the Southerner from New York to Greensboro.


To see a downloadable extensive 1949 Southern Railway Timetable PDF file, click here.


Train Numbers: 15 (Westbound) / 16 (Eastbound)

Route Termini: Asheville Station (Asheville, NC) / Greensboro Station (Greensboro, NC)

First service: June, 1922

Last Service: August 8, 1975

Travel Time: 6 Hours and 35 Minutes

Distance traveled: 197.8 Miles

Area of service: North Carolina

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)


Map showing the Greensboro - Ashville route.