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 Post subject: Rayrode Dyze - Branchville, SC
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 1999 11:28 am 

So, there I was driving home from Savannah minding my own business as usual. Took the back road to cut short from 95 to 26 which is always a pleasant diversion from highballing down the main at 75 MPH, and where I never see any traffic from Yemassee to Orangeburg when..........<p>Timing is everything. I was the second car halted for the opening ceremonies of Branchville, SC festival called Rayrode Daze. There is a fine old restored station there, and a finer old freight house with holes in the roof.....two Fairmont cars, one retrofitted with a Briggs and one trailer loaded with a couple rusting drawbars and some rotten ties. The obligatory Southern Ry caboose on a short panel of track sits out in front. One WABCO 9.5" single stage air pump is rusting near the motorcar, no sign of the rest of the locomotive it came from. <p>The "half hour" closing of the highway lasted for an hour as every citizen of the town spoke and carried a flag from another state or country and hung it on the train shed. Many stories were related to the combination captive motorist and local crowd which required an intimate knowlege of long time local residents to appreciate. <p>Apparently, Branchville has a claim of being the oldest railroad junction in the world. NS has a line through town, and a set of rusty shortline rails runs off west from the other side of the closed highway - perhaps the Hampton and Branchville? Maybe Matt Conrad or another SC historian can clear up the history on this one, and maybe explain the multiplicity of flags and how they relate to railroad history in Branchville. <p>SCRM owns the legendary H&B 4-6-0 and they keep it in good cosmetic condition on display at the old Rockton and Rion line - wonder if they need a second air pump? <p>Anyhow, the festival (less the blockade and speechifying) runs through this weekend so stop on by if you get a chance. Good place to get BoJangles biscuits and sweet tea just across the street. <p><br>

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