“Saluda: From Top to Bottom”

Published 10:00 pm Friday, July 15, 2016

Bumgarner to discuss book Monday at Tryon History Museum

“Tales of the Saluda Grade & Trains” will be the topic on Monday, July 18, at 6 p.m. at the Tryon History Museum. The program is free; seating is limited.

The Asheville & Spartanburg Railroad was an important link in building a continuous rail connection from the lowlands of South Carolina over the Blue Ridge and into North Carolina. Though coming in at a mere 66 miles, its treacherous route included the infamous Saluda Grade, the steepest section of mainline railroad in the United States. For more than 125 years, the grade demanded the respect of those who ran it and struck fear in the hearts of many who traveled it.

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This book is the first major publication on the grade and railroad in more than 30 years and goes deeper than any previous work. Penned by award-winning author Matt Bumgarner, the book explores the early history of the railroad’s formation, debunks the myths surrounding early engineering staffs and feats, and places the construction of the line in the context of railroad expansion in the era.

Along the way, the author examines in detail the sacrifices of convict labor (while paying homage to the specific men who died building the railroad), the rise of tourism in Western North Carolina, and the transformation of the railroad industry over the course of the last 150 years.

Included in the book are historical timetables, depot floor plans, and detailed track profiles of the entire railroad. This volume is the definitive work on the history of the Saluda grade and the A&S Railroad. It will be essential to any student of railroading history, local heritage, fans of the Southern Railway and Norfolk Southern.

– article submitted

by Happy McLeod