Piedmont and Northern Railway
“P” is for Piedmont and Northern Railway. James B. Duke planned the Piedmont and Northern [P&N] electric railway to assist in the industrialization of the Piedmont region of the Carolinas. The line was envisioned as eventually connecting Greenwood, South Carolina, with Norfolk, Virginia. Between 1911 and 1914, an initial 89-mile line between Greenwood and Spartanburg was completed and connected with Duke’s existing line between Belton and Anderson. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s “The Electric” or “The Poor and Needy,” as it was known locally, carried workers to their jobs in the mills, shoppers to larger cities, freight traffic, among other business activities. Passenger traffic peaked in 1921 and then began to decline. Many of the Piedmont and Northern’s yellow-brick and red-tile-roofed stations, although used for other purposes, continued to be valued by their respective communities in the 21st century.