Saluda Train Tales 

Published 11:11 pm Monday, May 13, 2019

Saluda Grade: From Top to Bottom by Matt Bumgarner 


Matt Bumgarner is an award-winning writer and the regional publisher of Tarheel Press dedicated to profiling the history of North Carolina. His books combine an in-depth approach with a readable style of regional heritage, railroad history, or the Civil War. Matt published Saluda: From Top to Bottom in November, 2015. 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


On Friday, May 17, 2019 at 7:00 p.m., he will present the research and stories behind the book which is the first major publication on the grade and railroad in more than thirty years and goes deeper than any previous work. He will describe his exploration of 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, Matt 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. 


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, and fans of the Southern Railway & Norfolk Southern. The books will be available for purchase. 


Saluda Train Tales is a free monthly event to educate the community in the importance of Saluda’s railroad history and the Saluda Grade. These events are at the Saluda Historic Depot, 32 W Main Street, Saluda, NC 28773. Saluda Train Tales is sponsored by the Polk County Community Foundation.