North Carolina Railroads - Roanoke & Tar River Railroad


Year Chartered or Incorporated

Year Line Operational

Year Service Ended

Original Starting Point

Original Ending Point





Boykins, VA Pendleton, NC

Lewiston, NC Murfreesboro
* 1911 - Merged into the Seaboard Air Line Railway via deed dated September 15, 1911.
+ 1887 (April) - Leased by the Seaboard & Roanoke Railroad.
The first charter of the Roanoke & Tar River Rail Road was issued by the NC State Legislature on February 25, 1871. Apparently, nothing was done by the original incorporators, and on March 5, 1885, a second charter was issued by the NC State Legislature.

The Roanoke & Tar River Railroad was organized in 1885 as a subsidiary of the Seaboard & Roanoke Railroad, to complete a line from Boykins, VA to Lewiston, NC. This thirty-six (36) mile road was constructed between 1887 and 1888.

1893, the Roanoke & Tar River Railroad acquired the Murfreesboro Railroad, a short line from Murfreesboro to Pendleton.

On May 5, 1897, the Seaboard discontinued service on the branch into Murfreesboro, but the town took action to prevent the line from being abandoned and attached the property. Not to be outdone, the Seaboard & Roanoke Railroad Company brought in a track gang under the cover of darkness two nights later and removed all rail and equipment to the town limits. Come the morning of May 8th, the town of Murfreesboro found itself without a railroad.

The Roanoke & Tar River Railroad was leased to the Seaboard & Roanoke Railroad and subsequently operated by the Seaboard Air Line Railway until it was formally merged into the SAL in 1911. The Roanoke & Tar River Railroad never owned any locomotives.

The five-mile Lewiston-Kelford stub was abandoned sometime after 1986.

The line from Boykins to Kelford and Kelford to Tunis is now operated by the North Carolina & Virginia Railroad.

Towns on Route (in NC):

Line #1 - Boykins, VA to Lewiston, NC:

NC/VA State Line

Meherrin (1886) > Severn (1889)

Pendleton (1888)

Kirby > Conway (1887)

Milwaukee (1888)



George (1899)

Rich Square


Kelford (1892)


Line #2 - Pendleton to Murfreesboro (abandoned 1897):

Pendleton (1888)


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