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“I” is for Interurbans

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South Carolina from A to Z: “I” is for Interurbans

“I” is for Interurbans. More complex than street railways yet smaller than interstate railroads, interurbans occupied a brief position in South Carolina’s transportation history. By 1895 people had begun to recognize the utility of electric railways for traffic between cities. One of the most significant lines in the country was South Carolina’s Piedmont and Northern. Developed between 1910 and 1916, eighty-nine miles of track connected Spartanburg, Greenville, and Greenwood, with a spur to Anderson. The Augusta-Aiken Railway ran for twenty-six miles between those two cities. A third line was in the lowcountry: the Charleston—Isle of Palms Traction Company. Although the Piedmont and Northern operated until 1969, the other two folded in the 1920s. By the 1920s it was clear that automobiles were not a passing fad, and interurbans were abandoned across the country.