North Carolina Railroads - Carolina & Northwestern Railway

Acronym

Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Original Starting Point

Original Ending Point

C&NW RR

1895

1897

1938*

Cheraw, SC

Lenoir, NC
+ 1951 - Began operating the Yadkin Railroad, which was merged into Southern Railway that year.
* 1938 bankrupt. Acquired by Southern Railway ~1940. Continues as a division of Southern Railway. 
+ 1910 - Merged in the Caldwell & Northern Railroad, which extended this line from Lenoir to Collettsville. 
+ 1905 - Acquired the assets of the Caldwell & Northern Railroad. Retained its name until 1910.
+ 1897, merged in the assets of the Chester & Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad
+ 1895 - Company organized on July 18, 1895 under the laws of North Carolina.

After several years of operating, the Chester & Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad fell into receivership and was officially reorganized as the Lenoir & Chester Railroad; however, few knew this and few cared. This reorganization did not help much, and to make matters worse, the Richmond & Danville Railroad also entered bankruptcy in 1893. Later in 1893, the Richmond & Danville Railroad was reorganized to include the Chester & Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Since the Chester & Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad was having problems covering expenses, the line was turned back over to a new receiver, who was appointed as administrator to handle lawsuits and unpaid debts. The receiver managed the line until 1897, when it was merged into the Carolina & Northwestern Railway. This reorganization seemed to have the approval of Southern Railway, who had merged with the Richmond & Danville Railroad in 1894.

In 1902, the line was converted to standard gauge track. After merging in the Caldwell & Northern Railroad in 1910, the Carolina & Northwestern Railway extended this line further into Caldwell County, North Carolina, mostly to accommodate new logging companies in the surrounding area. The line proceeded around the base of Chestnut Knot and then to Upper Creek, nearly reaching the headwaters of that creek. There, the line then went toward the Linville Gorge area and stopped due to the extreme terrain.

A major flood in this area in 1916 ruined a lot of track and almost wiped out the town of Mortimer. Many logging companies chose to abandon the area since they had already acquired most of the timber they wanted anyway. Now, the Carolina & Northwestern Railway was without many major shippers, but it managed to stuggle along. By 1925, logging stopped completely.

At the same time, Mr. Ford's Model T were getting more and more popular, and the Carolina & Northwestern Railway's passenger business began to plummet. By 1935, train service was available on an "as needed" basis. In February of 1937, the company petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon passenger service between Lenoir and Edgemont. Freight service continued for almost a year, and it too was abandoned in 1938.

The line continues to operate between Lenoir and Hickory, thanks to the acquisition around 1940 by Southern Railway.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the line earned the nickname of "Can't & Never Will" (C&NW) because of all the many proposals for expansion that never took place.

Towns on Route (in NC):

NC/SC State Line

Crowders Creek

Pleasant Ridge

Gastonia

Dallas

Worth (1900)

Lufty (faded 1902)

Harden

High Shoals

Lincoln Mills (1902) > Southside (1903)

Lincolnton

Maiden

Newton

Conover

Hickory

West Hickory Station (1910s)

Rhodhiss (1901)

Granite Falls

Sawmill > Pearland (1921)

Hudson

Lenoir

Valmead

Coffeys (faded 1909)

Collettsville

Adako

Mortimer

Edgemont

The Sixth Annual Report of the North Carolina Corporation Commission for the Year Ending December 31, 1904, with Compilations from Railroad Returns for the Year Ending June 30, 1904, includes the route of the Carolina & Northwestern Railroad, including mileage:

Stations in Order (72.3 miles in NC):

Lenoir
Treland
Hudson
Saw Mills
Granite Falls
Cliffs
Winklers
Hickory
Newton
Maiden
Lincolnton
Daniels
Southside
High Shoals
Hardin
Dallas
Gastonia
Ridge
Chester, SC

The Thirteenth Annual Report of the North Carolina Commission for the Year Ending December 31, 1911, with Compilations from Railroad Returns for the Year Ending June 30, 1911, includes the routes of the Carolina & Northwestern Railway:

Chester, SC to Lenoir, NC (110 miles):
SC/NC State line
Crowders
Ridge
Gastonia
Dallas
Hardins
High Shoals
Long Shoals
Southside
Laboratory
Daniels
Lincolnton
66-Mile Siding
60-Mile Siding
Maiden
75-Mile Siding
Newton
Conover
Hickory
Cliffs
Tile
Rhodhiss
Granite Falls
Saw Mills
Hudson
Whitnel
Lenoir

Lenoir to Edgemont (24 miles):
Lenoir
Valmead
Warrior
Setzer
Holloway
Olivette
Coffeys
Collettsville
Johnweb
Adako
Gorge
Fillip
Mortimer
Edgemont



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