North Carolina Railroads - Pittsboro Railroad


Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Original Starting Point

Original Ending Point





Pittsboro, NC

Moncure, NC
* 1900 merged into the Seaboard Air Line Railway.
+ 1886 - Leased to the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad.

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

Pittsboro Railroad; a branch of the Raleigh and Augusta Air-Line; Moncure to Pittsboro, twelve miles. Chartered in 1886 [no, 1885], and road buiit and opened in same year. Leased to the Raleigh & Augusta Air-Line Railroad Company, which practicaily owns the road.

The economic health of Pittsboro was given a major boost in 1885 with the formation of the Pittsboro Railroad Company to build a branch line connecting the town with the main line of the Raleigh & Augusta Railroad at Moncure. Township bonds furnished $10,000 in startup capital and local citizens invested another $5,000. Prison labor was hired from the state penitentiary for roadbed construction.

Work started on November 16, 1885 and eleven months later grading was almost complete and appreciative local citizens gave a dinner for the convicts who labored so hard on the roadbed. The first passenger train reached Pittsboro on December 20, 1886. The route was about 10-½ miles long. The official celebration of the railroad’s completion was not held until the following May, perhaps because the winter weather’s effect on the roads would have made travel to the festivities from the surrounding countryside almost impossible.

What a celebration it was. A train of ten cars came from Raleigh, through Moncure, and down the new branch to Pittsboro. Crowds gathered at the depot two hours before the train was scheduled to arrive. People were backed up into all the surrounding streets, their numbers estimated at between 2,000 and 4,000. The celebration was held at Kelvin Grove on West Salisbury Street, on a hill covered with ancient oak trees. The porch of the residence was used as a stand for the speakers and honored guests. Three brass bands from Durham, Raleigh, and Siler City entertained the crowd, and drills were performed by the Durham Light Infantry and the Governor’s Guard of Raleigh.

There were many speeches: a welcome by Henry A. London, President of the Pittsboro Railroad, followed by a response from Major R. S. Tucker, a director of the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad. Other speakers included the President of the Directors of the North Carolina State Penitentiary (whose laborers were used), and Captain C. B. Denson, Headmaster of the Pittsboro Scientific Academy, who presented Henry London with a gold headed cane.

Following the ceremony a meal was served to 2,500 people and a grand ball was held in the railroad’s warehouse. The huge crowds at this event were apparently orderly and well-behaved, prompting an out-of-town visitor to write to Henry A. London “….I am persuaded that Pittsboro deserves her reputation for refined hospitality. The state is far richer for having brought such clever, nice people closer to the balance of mankind.”

Soon after this road was operation, it was leased to the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad. 

From an October 27, 1899 article in the New York Times:

Headline - SEABOARD AIR LINE COMBINE, Raleigh and Gaston Railway to Absorb Many Roads.

RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 26. -- A general meeting of the stockholders of the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad Company will be held at the office of the company in Raleigh, N.C., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, for the purpose of considering the change of its corporate title from that of "The Raleigh and Gaston Railroad Company" to "Sea-any other name that may be selected- and board Air Line Railroad Company" or agreed upon.

The meeting is held also for the purpose of considering the consolidation of the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad Company with the following railroad companies, or any of them: The Raleigh and Augusta Air Line Railroad Company, the Durham and Northern Railway Company, the Roanoke and Tar River Railroad Company, the Seaboard and Roanoke Company, the Louisburg Railroad Company, the Carolina Central Railroad Company, the Palmetto Railroad Company, the Chesterfield and Kershaw Railroad Company, the Georgia, Carolina and Northern Railway Company, the the Seaboard Air Line Belt Railroad Company, the Georgia and Alabama Railroad Company, the Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad Company, the Georgia and Alabama Terminal Company, the Logansville and Lawrenceville Railroad of Georgia, the Richmond, Petersburg and Carolina Railroad Company, the Pittsboro Railroad Company, the Southbound Railroad Company.

At this meeting also will be settled the terms and conditions upon which the consolidation with each of the above-named railroad companies shall be made, or its property and franchises acquired. This will make necessary an increase of the capital stock of the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad Company from 15,000 shares of $100 each, aggregating $1,500,000, into 716,250 shares of $100 each aggregating $71,625,000.

This stock will be divided into two series of grades and provisions will be made for the preferences, conditions, and voting powers of each series or grade. The power to make this consolidation is given to this company under an Act of the General Assembly of North Carolina.

Towns on Route:

Pittsborough > Pittsboro (1893)


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