Wilmington and Weldon Railroad
Original route of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad main line (red) and branches (dark red). Click to enlarge.
Overview
Dates of operation1855 (1855)–1900 (1900)
PredecessorWilmington and Raleigh Railroad
SuccessorAtlantic Coast Line Railroad
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm)
Length161.5 miles (259.9 km)

The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad (W&W) name began use in 1855, having been originally chartered as the Wilmington and Raleigh Railroad in 1834.[1] At the time of its 1840 completion, the line was the longest railroad in the world with 161.5 miles (259.9 km) of track.[2] It was constructed in 4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm) gauge.[3] At its terminus in Weldon, North Carolina, it connected with the Seaboard and Roanoke Railroad (to Portsmouth, Virginia) and the Petersburg Railroad (to Petersburg, Virginia). The railroad also gave rise to the city of Goldsboro, North Carolina, the midpoint of the W&W RR and the railroad intersection with the North Carolina Railroad.[4]

History

Among the early employees of the W&W RR was assistant engineer William G. Lewis. The future Civil War general began his railroad career in 1858. From 1854 to 1871 S.L. Fremont was Chief Engineer and Superintendent. Fremont, North Carolina, is named in his honor.

During the American Civil War, the railroad was used heavily by the Confederacy for transporting troops and supplies. The railroad also played a key role in the Siege of Petersburg. The cities of Wilmington and Goldsboro fell in 1865 at the end of the war, and the railroad was badly damaged.[5]

The railroad managed to rebuild after the war. By 1866, the bridge over the Cape Fear River was rebuilt, which reconnected the line to Wilmington.[5] By 1869, the W&W and other railroads in the Carolinas were purchased by a group of Baltimore capitalists including William T. Walters. This group of lines were advertised as the Atlantic Coast Line, but were still operated independently.[6]

In 1872, the W&W was leased by the Wilmington, Columbia and Augusta Railroad, but this lease ended in 1878 when the WC&A went bankrupt.

The W&W was officially merged into the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL) on April 21, 1900. The ACL established its headquarters in Wilmington.[6] The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad from Weldon to Conentnea would become part of the ACL's main line, with the remaining line south to Wilmington becoming the ACL's Contentnea–Wilmington Line (C Line).[7]

In 1909, the ACL realigned the track in Goldsboro to bypass the center of town in conjunction with the opening of Goldsboro Union Station. The line's original alignment along Center Street was removed in 1925.[8]

The Atlantic Coast Line became the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad in 1967 after merging with their former rival, the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. In 1980, the Seaboard Coast Line's parent company merged with the Chessie System, creating the CSX Corporation. The CSX Corporation initially operated the Chessie and Seaboard Systems separately until 1986, when they were merged into CSX Transportation. The ex-ACL main line is still in service as CSX's A Line. The former W&W from Contentnea south is now CSX's W&W Subdivision (named in reference to the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad).[9]

Branches

In addition to the main line between its namesake cities, the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad also operated a number of branch lines.

Scotland Neck Branch

The Scotland Neck Branch was built in 1882 by the Scotland Neck Railroad. It connected with the main line at Pender (just south of Halifax) and ran southeast to Scotland Neck. In 1883, it was acquired by the W&W and by 1890, it had been extended south to Kinston.[10] The branch was then known as the Kinston Branch (A Branch) after W&W was merged into the Atlantic Coast Line. Today, the branch is still in service from Parmele to just north of Kinston. The remaining line is now CSX's Parmele Subdivision.

Nashville Branch

The Nashville Branch was built in 1887 and ran from the main line at Rocky Mount west to Nashville and Spring Hope. CSX sold the branch to the Nash County Railroad in 1985. It was sold again in 2011 to the Carolina Coastal Railway, who operates it today.

Tarboro Branch

The Tarboro Branch was built in 1850 and ran from the main line at Rocky Mount east to Tarboro. In 1882, the Albemarle and Raleigh Railroad was built which extended the branch east to Williamston on the Roanoke River. It was extended again in 1890 to Plymouth. The W&W acquired the Albemarle and Raleigh Railroad in 1885.

After the W&W was merged into the Atlantic Coast Line, the branch was part of the ACL's Norfolk–Rocky Mount Line (B Line) west of Tarboro (which continued to Norfolk via the former Norfolk and Carolina Railroad). East of Tarboro, it was known as the Plymouth Branch (BC Branch). The branch is still in service today and it is CSX's Tarboro Subdivision.

Midland Branch

The Midland Branch ran from the main line at Goldsboro west to Smithfield. It was originally chartered as the Smithfield & Goldsboro Railroad and it was built by its parent company, the Midland North Carolina Railway. It was acquired by the W&W in 1885. It was named the Midland Branch after the Midland North Carolina Railway. The branch closely paralleled the North Carolina Railroad (which was operated by the Southern Railway). Atlantic Coast Line abandoned the Midland Branch in 1930.[11]

Clinton Branch

The Clinton Branch was built in 1887 and ran from the main line at Warsaw west to Clinton. The Clinton Branch (known today simply as the Clinton Spur) is still in service today and it is partially operated by the Clinton Railroad.

Stations

Main Line

Milepost[12] City/Location Station[13][14] Connections and notes
A 82.6 Weldon Weldon junction with:
A 89.9 Halifax Halifax
A 91.7 Pender junction with Scotland Neck Branch
A 92.6 Ruggles
A 100.9 Enfield Enfield
A 107.0 Whitakers Whitakers
A 111.2 Battleboro
A 114.7 Schrader
A 119.6 Rocky Mount Rocky Mount Amtrak Carolinian, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, and Silver Star
station rebuilt in 1911, 1916, and in the 1960s
junction with Nashville Branch
A 121.2 South Rocky Mount junction with Tarboro Branch
A 125.6 Sharpsburg Sharpsburg
A 128.6 Joyner
A 129.4 Elm City Elm City
A 135.7 Wilson Wilson Amtrak Carolinian, Palmetto
rebuilt in 1924
junction with Norfolk Southern Railway (SOU)
A 138.9 Contentnea junction with Fayetteville Cutoff (ACL)
AC 141.9 Black Creek Black Creek
AC 148.6 Fremont Fremont also known as Nahunta
AC 152.1 Pikeville Pikeville
AC 159.8 Goldsboro Goldsboro replaced by Goldsboro Union Station in 1909
junction with:
AC 164.3 Genoa
AC 165.9 Everettsville area known today as Brogden
AC 168.5 Dudley named for Governor Edward Bishop Dudley, the railroad's founder
AC 173.5 Mount Olive
AC 177.2 Calypso Calypso
AC 180.4 Faison Faison
AC 184.6 Bowden
AC 188.8 Warsaw Warsaw junction with Clinton Branch
AC 196.5 Magnolia Magnolia
AC 201.7 Rose Hill Rose Hill
AC 205.8 Teachey Teachey
AC 208.1 Wallace Wallace originally known as Duplin Roads[15]
AC 211.5 Willard originally known as Leesburg[16]
AC 214.7 Watha Watha
AC 221.4 Burgaw Burgaw
AC 226.5 Ashton
AC 229.5 Rocky Point
AC 233.2 Marlboro
AC 235.4 Castle Hayne
AC 239.7 Wrightsboro
AC 241.1 Gordon
AC 243.1 Wilmington New Bern Junction junction with Wilmington, New Bern and Norfolk Railroad (ACL)
AC 243.6 Wilmington junction with Wilmington and Manchester Railroad (ACL)

Scotland Neck Branch

Milepost City/Location Station Connections and notes
AA 91.7 Pender junction with the Main Line
AA 99.5 Tillery
AA 103.5 Spring Hill
AA 109.9 Scotland Neck Scotland Neck
AA 116.7 Hobgood Hobgood
AA 123.7 Oak City Oak City originally Goose Nest
AA 128.2 Hassell Hassell
AA 134.8 Parmele Parmele junction with Albemarle and Raleigh Railroad (W&W/ACL)
AA 138.3 Whitehurst
AA 144.0 Staton
AA 146.3 House
AA 149.7 Greenville Greenville
AA 155.2 Winterville Winterville
AA 159.2 Ayden
Littlefield
Hanrahan
AA 166.3 Grifton Grifton
AA 171.9 Graingers
AA 177.6 Kinston Kinston

Nashville Branch

Milepost City/Location Station Connections and notes
ABA 119.9 Rocky Mount Rocky Mount junction with Main Line
ABA 125.9 Westry
ABA 130.2 Nashville Nashville
ABA 136.1 Nomeyer
ABA 138.6 Spring Hope Spring Hope

Tarboro Branch

Milepost City/Location Station Connections and notes
AB 121.2 Rocky Mount South Rocky Mount junction with Main Line
AB 128.6 Kingsboro
AB 135.6 Tarboro Tarboro junction with Norfolk and Carolina Railroad (ACL)
ABC 140.7 Mildred
ABC 143.7 Conetoe Conetoe
ABC 148.7 Bethel Bethel
ABC 152.2 Parmele Parmele junction with Kinston Branch
ABC 155.8 Robersonville Robersonville
ABC 160.5 Everetts Everetts
ABC 166.3 Williamston Williamston
ABC 177.1 Jamesville Jamesville
ABC 183.4 Dardens
ABC 188.6 Plymouth Plymouth

Midland Branch

Miles from
Goldsboro
City/Location Station Connections and notes
0.0 Goldsboro Goldsboro located on Main Line
1.0 Midland Junction junction with:
4.6 Walter
10.0 Princeton Princeton
10.7 Joyner
12.0 Holt's Mill
17.3 Peeden
18.0 Oliver
22.8 Smithfield Smithfield junction with Fayetteville Cutoff (ACL)

Clinton Branch

Milepost City/Location Station Connections and notes
ACA 188.8 Warsaw Warsaw junction with the Main Line
ACA 194.4 Turkey
ACA 195.8 Elliott
ACA 202.5 Clinton Clinton

References

  1. ^ "North Carolina Railroads - Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad". Carolana.com. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  2. ^ UNC University Libraries: This Month in North Carolina History - March 1840
  3. ^ Confederate Railroads - Wilmington & Weldon
  4. ^ About Goldsboro
  5. ^ a b "North Carolina Railroads - Wilmington & Weldon Railroad". Carolana.com. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  6. ^ a b "Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company Records, 1892-1963". University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  7. ^ Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Northern Division Timetable (1949)
  8. ^ "The Night the Tracks Came Up (after two decades of fighting)". The Cromulent Manifesto. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  9. ^ CSX Florence Sub Timetable
  10. ^ "Atlantic Coast Line Railroad" (PDF). LaBelle. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  11. ^ "North Carolina Railroads - Atlantic Coast Line Railroad". Carolana.com. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  12. ^ Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Rocky Mount & Raleigh Division Timetable (1975)
  13. ^ "North Carolina Railroads: Passenger Stations & Stops" (PDF). Jim Fergusson's Railway and Tramway Station Lists (North Carolina). Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road. Wilmington & Weldon R. R. Company. Time Table No. 5, From and After Monday, October 31st., 1859". docsouth.unc.edu. Retrieved 2018-04-24.
  15. ^ "Duplin Roads Before Wallace: A History". Cape Fear Historical Institute. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  16. ^ Turburg, Ed. "Historic and Architectural Resources of Pender County" (PDF). North Carolina (official site). Retrieved 8 December 2020.