Jonesboro Heights to Lillington

The Atlantic and Western Railroad

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Note: The American Shortline Railway Guide was used as a resource for information on the A&W.

End of the line near Jonesboro, NC, along NC Highway 42, east of Sanford. The ATW now terminates at the business on the right side of the photo. The line formerly continued around the curve towards the pick-up truck in the photo, and eventually on to Lillington, NC., 22 miles away. This segment was abandoned on December 15, 1961. The ATW still operates 3.38 original miles between Sanford and Jonesboro, and now operates the former Norfolk-Southern line from Sanford to Cumnock.

The Atlantic and Western Railroad was incorporated March 7, 1899, to build from Sanford to Goldsboro, 70 miles away, and points beyond. It was opened from Sanford to Broadway in 1905 and to Lillington in April 1913, totalling 25 miles. The line extended from Sanford through Jonesboro Heights, Purnell, Winder, Campbells, Broadway, Seminole, Ryes, Arlington, Mamers, Monticello, Luart, Summerville and into Lillington. On December 15, 1961, the section from Jonesboro Heights to Lillington was abandoned, a total of 22 miles.

The ROW of the abandoned section is very difficult to make out in most places. The ROW of the existing portion of the original A&W is in marginal operating condition at best.

[In studying topographical maps for this right-of-way, it appears that the new US Route 421 alignment uses the former ROW east of Ryes. --Greg Harrison]

In the photo section in the "abandonded railroads of the us" Yahoo Group, I put some map shots showing where the old ran was. It's in the Atlantic and Western Jonesboro-Lillington album.

John Barbour
Lillington, NC
9/12/2010

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