Black carbon (BC), which is formed from the incomplete combustion of fuel sources (mainly fossil fuel, biofuel and open biomass burning), is a chemically inert optical absorber in the atmosphere. It has significant impacts on global climate, regional air quality and human health. During transportation, its physical and chemical characteristics as well as its sources change dramatically. To investigate the properties of BC (i.e., mass concentration, sources and optical properties) during intra-regional transport between the southern edge of the North China Plain (SE-NCP) and central China (CC), simultaneous BC observations were conducted in a megacity (Wuhan – WH) in CC, in three borderline cities (Xiangyang – XY, Suixian – SX and Hong'an – HA; from west to east) between the SE-NCP and CC, and in a city (Luohe – LH) in the SE-NCP during typical winter haze episodes. Using an Aethalometer, the highest equivalent BC (eBC) mass concentrations and the highest aerosol absorption coefficients (σabs) were found in LH in the SE-NCP, followed by the borderline cities (XY, SX and HA) and WH. The levels, sources, optical properties (i.e., σabs and absorption Ångström exponent, AAE) and geographic origins of eBC were different between clean and polluted periods. Compared with clean days, higher eBC levels (26.4 %–163 % higher) and σabs (18.2 %–236 % higher) were found during pollution episodes due to the increased combustion of fossil fuels (increased by 51.1 %–277 %), which was supported by the decreased AAE values (decreased by 7.40 %–12.7 %). The conditional bivariate probability function (CBPF) and concentration-weighted trajectory (CWT) results showed that the geographic origins of biomass burning (BCbb) and fossil fuel (BCff) combustion-derived BC were different. Air parcels from the south dominated for border sites during clean days, with contributions of 46.0 %–58.2 %, whereas trajectories from the northeast showed higher contributions (37.5 %–51.2 %) during pollution episodes. At the SE-NCP site (LH), transboundary influences from the south (CC) exhibited a more frequent impact (with air parcels from this direction comprising 47.8 % of all parcels) on the ambient eBC levels during pollution episodes. At WH, eBC was mainly from the northeast transport route throughout the observation period. Two transportation cases showed that the mass concentrations of eBC, BCff and σabs all increased, from upwind to downwind, whereas AAE decreased. This study highlights that intra-regional prevention and control for dominant sources at each specific site should be considered in order to improve the regional air quality.