This rail line was built in the late 1800s and was primarily known as the Wilmington, New Bern and Norfolk Railroad. It was part of the collection of roads that became the Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) around 1900. Other rail companies that were associated with this line are the Wilmington, Onslow and East Carolina, the East Carolina Land and Railway Company and the Wilmington and New Bern Railroad. The line went from Wilmington, the headquarters of the ACL, through Coastal, Kirkland, Scotts Hill, Hampstead, Topsail, Woodside, Holly Ridge, Folkstone, Dixon, Verona and New River to Jacksonville. At some point a connection at Jacksonville was made to service Camp Lejuene (Marine Corp Base). From Jacksonville, the line extended through Hawkside, Kellum, Deppe, Belgrade, Maysville, Ravenswood, Pollocksville, Debruhls and into New Bern. In New Bern connection was made with the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad (controlled by the Southern), and the old Norfolk Southern.
Most of this line was abandoned in the 1985, and tracks and cross-ties were removed in September and October of 1985. All of the bridges, including the trestle at Jacksonville and a steel lift span at Pollocksville were gone by December 1986, as were crossing signal at highway crossings. The new Norfolk Southern apparently operated a section from Marine Junction in Jacksonville to Kellum in order to service the Weyerhaeuser paper mill there after NS took over operation of the branch to Camp Lejuene. This section was mothballed by 1994 when the paper mill was shut down - this section has now reportedly been abandoned. CSX abandoned a short section from the Wilmington Belt to Coastal in the early 1990s. Practically nothing remains of this line today. Jacksonville has done an excellent job preserving the station and freight depot as can be seen in the pictures.
Thanks to Joe Benson for contributing information about this route.