North Carolina Railroads - Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad


Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Original Starting Point

Original Ending Point





Raleigh, NC

Augusta, GA
* 1900 merged into Seaboard Air Line Railway.
+ 1899 - Consolidation into SAL authorized by NC legislative Act of February 16, 1899.
+ 1894 - Leased the Palmetto Railroad.
+ 1886 - Leased the Pittsboro Railroad
+ 1881 - Participated in the creation of the Seaboard Air Line system, along with Seaboard & Roanoke Railroad and the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad - a loose affiliation whereby each retained their own identities until 1900.  
+ 1871 - A re-organization of the Chatham Railroad by NC legislative Act of December 13, 1871.
Only went to the SC/NC State Line, where it met the Palmetto Railroad in South Carolina, which it leased in 1894, as shown above. Never made it to Augusta as its own entity. 

The Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad was a reorganization of the Chatham Railroad in December of 1871. The Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad was controlled by the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad almost from the start, since it owned most of the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad's stock. This line's objective was to construct a line from Raleigh to Columbia, SC and on to Augusta, GA.

In 1872, the road crossed the Haw River, just upstream of its union with the Deep River where it forms the Cape Fear River, and it was completed to Sanford and a connection with the Western Railroad later that same year. In 1877, it was completed to Hamlet, ninety-seven (97) miles south of Raleigh, and a connection was made with the Carolina Central Railroad. Hamlet was later to play a very important role in the Seaboard Air Line Railway.

From Hamlet, a ten-mile extension was opened in 1884 to the South Carolina state line near Gibson, NC. Later, a connection was made at Gibson by the Charleston, Sumter & Northern Railroad, a South Carolina railroad. A branch from Moncure (was Lockville), eleven miles to Pittsboro, NC was completed in 1886 as the Pittsboro Railroad, which was quickly leased to the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad.

The depression years of the 1870s, along with heavy advances to the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad, caused the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad to run into financial difficulties. Looking out for the best interest of both his own company and of the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad, President John M. Robinson of the Seaboard & Roanoke Railroad, in 1873, acquired control of the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad and its new subsidiary, the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad. In October of 1875, Mr. Robinson became president of both the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad and the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad.

In 1876, the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad reached Hoffman, NC. The railroad line through Hoffman enabled forest products to be transported out of Hoffman.

The first train to reach Hamlet, NC was the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad on August 10, 1877. The Hamlet Railroad Depot was built in 1900 and is still standing today housing a railroad museum. The town of Hamlet grew and became a railroad center.

In 1879, the Raleigh & Augusta Air Line Railroad arrived in Cary, NC from the southwest, creating Fetner Junction just north of downtown and spurring further growth.

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

The Raleigh & Augusta Air-Line Railroad Company was organized April, 1861, as Chatham Railroad Company (name changed under Act December 13th, 1871) under laws of North Carolina, Acts February 15th, 1861, February 10th, 1862, February 5th, 1863, March, 1868, August 3d, 1868, August 15th, 1868, September 17th, 1868, December 18th, 1868, April 10th, 1869, December 13th, 1871.

Main line completed September 13th, 1877; is controlled by the Raleigh & Gaston Railroad Company.

No limitation as to duration of corporate powers in the original Act ratified the 15th day of February, 1861.

The Chatham Railroad Company was chartered 1855, for the purpose of effecting railroad communication between Deep River at or near the coal fields in the county of Chatham and the city of Raleigh, or some point on the North Carolina Railroad west of the city of Raleigh, with a capital stock of $800, 000.

Property Operated:

Raleigh & Augusta Air-Line Railroad----------- Raleigh, N.----------- Gibson, NC-------- 107.27
Pittsboro Railroad----------------------------------- Moncure ------------- Pittsboro, NC -------12.00

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 (in NC):

Line #1 - Raleigh to Gulf:


Asbury (1879-1880)

West Raleigh (1894)

Method (1890)


Apex (1871)

New Hill > Newhill (1895) > New Hill (1951)

Merry Oaks


Lockville > Moncure (1877)

Osgood (1873)

Buckner (1891) > Colon (1892)

Jonesborough > Sanford (1872)

Egypt Depot > Egypt (1894) > Cumnock (1895)


Line #2 - Jonesborough to NC/SC State Line:

Jonesborough > Sanford (1872)

Munns Station (1876) > Lemon Springs (1885)

Cameron (1875)

Bynums (1877) > Winder (1877) > Vass (1892)

Lake View (1903)

Niagara (1904)

Solemn Grove > Manly Station (1877) > Manly (1881)

Southern Pines (1885)

Blues Crossing (1877) > Aberdeen (1887)

Keyser (1877) > Addor (1918)

Hoffman (1878)

Marston (1915)

Cognac (1900)

Hamlet (1876)

Osborne (1888) > Carolina Springs (1909) > Osborne #2 (1910)

NC/SC State Line

© 2018 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved