The Hub City Railroad Museum

Southern X3115 caboose - 2
While plotting my return home last Saturday from the Bon Haven house, I noticed the Hub City Railroad Museum was only a short distance away along my path home. The museum has been on my to-visit list for some time, and having nothing of any importance to do at home, I decided to stop by.

The Hub City Railroad Museum opened May 2010 in part of the Magnolia Street Station on Magnolia Street in the old baggage room. Most of the rest of the building houses a waiting area for an Amtrack train station.

Magnolia Street Station, known Spartanburg Union Station "back in the day", was built in 1904 as a train station for Southern Railway, Clinchfield Railroad, and Charleston & Western Carolina Railway.

This post card in Spartanburg County Library's digital collection, dated in the 1910s, shows the train station before most of it was torn down in 1971:
Another post card from the same time period shows a different angle:
This photo at the SC Digital Library shows a view looking from Magnolia Street:
The railroad track is of course gone, but much of the cobble stone is still there.
Magnolia Street Station - 7
A fire in 1996 almost finished off the station, but an effort began by Trey Davis, then in high school, led to a restoration in 1998.
Magnolia Street Station - 9
The area once occupied by the demolished parts of the old depot can be inferred from Google Earth:
The Hub City Railroad Museum is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10a-2pm.
Hub City Railroad Museum - 2 Hub City Railroad Museum - 4


On this Saturday I saw a steady stream of folks, many with children, visiting the museum and the caboose. I do wish I had a wide-angle lens to properly photograph the displays.

The museum is filled with interesting displays of Spartanburg railroad history. This display about peaches I found especially interesting:
Hub City Railroad Museum - 7 Hub City Railroad Museum - 8
I find peaches tasty and delicious! The Gramling area, as branded on the peach can, is still a major producer of peaches, but peach growers no longer rely on the railroad these days to transport their product.

In 2013, the museum added a restored Southern Railway caboose, built in 1947 in the Hayne Shops (closed in 1995) off Asheville Highway in Spartanburg.
Southern X3315 caboose - 12
The caboose is prominently displayed near the entrance at Magnolia Street.
Southern X3115 caboose - 2 Southern X3115 caboose - 1
The interior when I came in was packed with curious adults and children. The star attraction for the kids was the model railroad:
Southern X3315 caboose - 11
By the caboose is a Southern Railway baggage cart.
Southern X3115 caboose - 4 Southern Railway baggage cart - 1
If you look at the black and white photo of the train station above, you'll see one baggage cart in the photo near the center. Spartanburg County Library's digital collection contains a closeup of a baggage cart almost identical to the museum's display:
Behind the parking area for the building is an abandoned trestle covered with dead kudzu vines.
Abandoned trestle - 1 Abandoned trestle - 3 Abandoned trestle - 4
I found a history of this trestle on this Flickr photo's page:
Abandoned Railroad Bridge
The bridge was put in along with the tunnel to allow the ACL to continue having a direct connection with the Southern. The Clinchfield and the P&N already had direct connections with the Southern that would not be affected by the building of the new tunnel. But, as part of building the P&N an access to the tunnel, they had to build a bridge over the new P&N connection so the ACL's interchange to the Southern would not be severed. The bridge was made unnecessary when the SCL & CRR became official partners during the Family Lines era. Then only the Clinchfield interchange was used by the partner roads, since it was the most efficient and had the most track space of the three. I'm not certain when the bridge was actually taken out of service. The tracks were still in place when my family moved to Spartanburg in 1987, but were not being used. CSX started to remove the track to the bridge around 1990.
The tunnel mentioned in the quote is an approximately 870ft tunnel built by the Clitchfield Railroad in 1962 (becoming operational in 1963) to eliminate the need to interchange with Southern Railway. The tunnel, now used by CSX thanks to mergers, runs under Magnolia Street and North Church Street. I heard a few trains passing through during my visit.

I didn't go see the tunnel, but I did read over the display material in the museum about it.
Hub City Railroad Museum - 14 Hub City Railroad Museum - 15
I wondered around about an hour or so before I decided it was finally time to head back, and this time I successfully fought off the urge to explore any more interesting distractions.

I've shared my complete album of photos at Flickr.

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