North Carolina Railroads - Wilmington & Weldon Railroad

Acronym

Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Original Starting Point

Original Ending Point

W&W RR

1855

1855

1899*

Wilmington, NC

Weldon, NC
* 1899 - Renamed to the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad of North Carolina.
+ 1898 - Built/Owned the Southeastern Railroad.
+ 1893 - Built/Owned the Wilmington, Newbern & Norfolk Railroad.
+ 1892 - Built/Owned the Washington Branch, from Washington to Parmele.
+ 1892 - Built/Owned the Fayetteville Cutoff.
+ 1891 - Built/Owned the Wilmington, Onslow & East Carolina Railroad.
+ 1887 - Built/Owned the Nashville Branch, from Rocky Mount to Spring Hope.
+ 1887 - Built/Owned the Clinton & Warsaw Railroad, eliminating the road to Faison.
+ 1886 - Built/Owned the Wilson & Fayetteville Railroad
+ 1885 - Built/Owned the Clinton & Faison Railroad.
+ 1885 - Acquired the Albemarle & Raleigh Railroad, which retained its name until merged into ACL 1900.
+ 1885 - Acquired the Midland North Carolina Railroad, which added the line from Smithfield to Goldsboro.
+ 1883 - Acquired the Scotland Neck Railroad, extending its Halifax service to Scotland Neck.
+ 1849 - Built/Owned the Tarboro Branch in August, from Rocky Mount to Tarboro.
Was the Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad


First Wilmington & Weldon Railroad Office - Weldon, NC

On February 15, 1855, the state of North Carolina General Assembly finally agreed to grant a new charter and the line's name was formally changed from the Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad to the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad. The line never went to Raleigh, as originally intended in 1834.

The company relaid its entire track in the 1850s with T-rail. In 1850, the company (as the Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad) began constructing a nineteen (19) mile branch line from Rocky Mount to Tarboro, which was completed in August of 1860.

When the U.S. Civil War came in 1861, "all minor matters were dropped from consideration and the company began to serve the Confederate government in the transportation of troops and munitions of war." Company President Ashe reported on November 14, 1861 that he had the "gratification of feeling just and patriotic pride tha the company has been able to render to our beloved country inappreciable assistance in repelling from our soil ruthless invaders."

However, throughout the four years of the war there was little harmony between the railroad company and the Condederate Army officials. The new government kept insisting on lower and lower rates, and the government consistently broke up the regular schedule of the trains and began running them to suit their convenience. This was no doubt necessary, but was a constant source of complaint of the railroad's management.

The biggest challenge, like the rest of the Southern railroads, was in replacing the worn-out rails. The road was furnished iron which was taken from other lines, and the old rails were turned over to the Confederate government for use in the making of munitions.

On December 16, 1862, the road was attacked for the first time, and the Federals burned the bridge over the Neuse River, the trestle at Goshen, the water station and a number of cars at Dudley's Station. By the summer of 1864, the condition of the road was alarming. It rails were wearing out and no material for repair could be acquired from any source. The rolling stock was taxed severely and it was impossible to get labor except for an inferior class of workmen.

Events during the latter part of 1864 and early 1865 moved in rapid succession and the railroad was damaged alternately by the Federal and Confederate armies. Wilmington fell on February 22, 1865 and Goldsboro a month later, and operations of the road ceased altogether. The road south of Goldsboro was operated by the Federal authorities until it was turned back over to the company by mid-Summer. The road north of Goldsboro was practically dismantled by the Federal troops, with the destruction of most of the rolling stock, bridges, and warehouses.

One of the first tasks which the company undertook after the war was the forming of physical connections back with the other railroads in the area, which were also rebuilding. The biggest challenge that the company now faced was that it would have to rebuild with an entirely different labor situation.

In 1866, a new bridge was constructed over the Cape Fear River at Wilmington by the Wilmington Railway Bridge Company, the stock being owned jointly by the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad and the Wilmington & Manchester Railroad. The bridge with a few miles of new road established the connection of both lines at Wilmington. With better connections now in place, the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad was in position to profit greatly from increased traffic.

In 1892, the North Carolina State Supreme Court ruled that all the branch roads of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad Company were liable for taxation. The original charter exempted the company from taxation as long as the profits did not reach eight percent of the capital stock.

In 1899, the railroad was merged into the rapidly growing Atlantic Coast Line Railroad of North Carolina.

From the 1st Annual Report of the North Carolina Railroad Commission, dated December 31, 1891:

The Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company was organized March 14th, 1836, under the laws of North Carolina, Acts of General Assembly 1833–35–’36 (amendatory Acts 1851–2–5–’67). January, 1833, chartered as Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad Company; main line opened March 9th, 1840. Name changed in February, 1855.

Tarboro Branch opened in August, 1849, and Scotland Neck Branch October 1st, 1882.
Midland North Carolina Railroad was purchased in June, 1885.
The Fayetteville Branch was completed and opened October 1st, 1886.
The Nashville Branch was opened in 1887.
The Clinton Branch on April 1st, 1887.

This Corporation was chartered as the Wilmington & Raleigh Railroad, by the General Assembly of North Carolina, year 1833, for the purpose of effecting a communication by a railroad from some point within the town of Wilmington, or immediate neighborhood of the said town, to the city of Raleigh, or in the immediate neighborhood of the said city.

The charter was amended in 1835, so as to allow the Company to run its main road from some point within or near the town of Wilmington, to some point in the city of Raleigh, or in the immediate neighborhood thereof, or to some point at or near the river Roanoke, at the election of the stockholders, with a view of connecting with the Petersburg and Norfolk Railroads.

This Company claims exemption from taxation.

President ------------------------------ W. G. Elliott---------------------------- Wilmington, NC.
Vice-President...................................... Henry Walters-------------------------- Wilmington, NC.
Secretary-Treasurer ------------------- Jas. F. Post, Jr.-------------------------- Wilmington, NC.
Attorney or General Counsel ---------- George Davis --------------------------- Wilmington, NC.
Auditor -------------------------------- W. A. Riach----------------------------- Wilmington, NC.
General Manager----------------------. John R. Kenly-------------------------- Wilmington, NC.
General Superintendent---------------... John F. Divine-------------------------- Wilmington, NC.
Superintendent Transportation-------- ...F. Borden------------------------------- Wilmington, NC.
Traffic Manager------------------------ T. M. Emerson-------------------------- Wilmington, NC.
Assistant General Freight Agent------.... H. M. Emerson-------------------------- Wilmington, NC.

Towns on Route:

Line #1 - Wilmington to Weldon:

Weldon

Halifax

Pender (1890s)

Ruggles (1890s)

Enfield

Bricks (1912)

Whitakers Station (1866) > Whitakers (1869) > Mayonia (1886) > Whitakers (1886)

Battleboro

Rocky Mount

Sharpesburg (1872)

Joyners Depot > Toisnot (1873) > Elm City (1891)

Wilson

Contentnea (1890s)

Black Creek

Bardens

Nahunta > Fremont (1872)

Pikeville (1856)

Goldsboro

Genoa (1893)

Everittsville

Dudley #2 (1860)

Calypso (1898)

Mount Olive

Faisons Depot > Faison (1883)

Bowdens (1860s)

Warsaw

Carroll (1899)

Stricklands Depot > Magnolia (1857)

Rose Hill (1860s)

Teachey

Wallace (1866)

Leesburg

Sills Creek > Camera (1865) > Willard (1883)

South Washington #2 (1870) > Watha (1905)

Washington Depot

Cypress Grove > Burgaw Depot (1871) > Burgaw (1879)

Ashton (1874)

Rocky Point (1860)

Marlboro (1860s)

Northeast

Castle Hayne (1869)

Wilmington

Line #2 - Tarboro Branch (1849):

Rocky Mount

Medora (1898)

Kingsborough (1866) > Hartsborough (1876) > Kingsboro (1883) > Penelo (1888) > Kingsboro #2 (1919)

Hartsboro

Tarboro

Line #3 - Scotland Neck Branch (1882):

Halifax

Polenta (1880s)

Tillery (1882)

Looking Glass (1880s)

Spring Hill (1886)

Scotland Neck

Hobgood

Conoho

Hassell

Parmele

Grindool

House

Greenville

Ayden

Grifton

Graingers

Kinston

Line #4 - Midland Branch (1885):

Smithfield

Oliver

Holt's Mill

Joyner

Copeland

Goldsborough > Goldsboro (1893)

Line #5 - Wilson & Fayetteville Branch (1886):

South Rocky Mount

Sharpsburg

Elm City

Wilson

Contentnea

Lucama

Kenly

Jerome

Selma

Smithfield

Four Oaks

Benson

Dunn

Godwin

Wade

Luray

Fayetteville

Hope Mills

Parkton

Bennett

Buies

Pembroke

Elrod

Rowland

Line #6 - Clinton Branch (1887):

Warsaw

Elliott

Clinton

Line #7 - Nashville Branch (1887):

Rocky Mount

Nashville

Spring Hope

Line #8 - Washington Branch (1892):

Washington

Wharton

Pactolus

Whichards

Parmele

Line #9 - Wilmington & Newbern Branch (1893):

Wilmington

Scotts Hill

Topsail Sound > Topsail (1907)

Holly Ridge

Peanut (1881-1897)

Stump Sound > Folkston (1902)

Dixon (1895)

Amans Store > Verona (1894)

Jacksonville

Kellum (1901)

Maysville

Polloksville > Pollocksville (1947)

Debruhls (1888-1896)

New Berne > Newbern (1892) > New Bern (1918)

Line #10 - Wilmington Railway Bridge (1866):

Wilmington

Mears Bluff



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