As another modeler of the Southern lines in North Carolina (in my case, the S line from Spencer/Salisbury to Morganton) this doesn't surprise me as much as you might think. I have the good fortune to have a number of train orders issued along this line and I have evidence of eastbound freight trains running in as many as four sections. When additional westbound trains were needed they were generally run as extras.
It's kind of lost in that blob between Salisbury and Charlotte, but I wonder about the tonnage between Statesville and Charlotte on the O line. I've heard that there were some monster trains run on this line and I have at least one order for an engine to display signals and run as First No 148 from Asheville to Statesville. I presume that from there it would go to Charlotte down the O Line.