— User Comments —
This is part of the 'original' Norfolk Southern (absorbed by SR in 1974) line between Norfolk, VA and Charlotte, NC. Parts of the norfolk-edenton segment are operated by a short line, the impressive miles long trestle over Albemare Sound has been removed, and the remaining segment from Plymouth to Raleigh via Chocowinity via Greenville and Wilson were leased to short line CLNA from Norfolk Southern in 2008. Chocowinity (once called Mardsen by NS because it woundnt fit on train orders) has a still active yard used by NS to serve the PCS phosphate mines at Lee Creek, NC which is accessed by the WL line at Phosphate Jct.
The Chesapeake and Albemarle has been operating this section of the "original" NS (NS Ry) for nearly 20 years. The C&A is now a RailAmerica company.
I was employed by the NS from 1997 to 2001. I worked this line and became quite familiar with it. The line was served by a thru freight which originated bout of Linwood NC. The 350 ran to Raleigh where it set off cars for that area and picked up cars that needed to towards Chocowinity and beyond. There was also a crew change. Once leaving Raleigh the 350 would stop in Wilson where it would drop off cars and pick up loaded woodchip cars for Morehead City NC. Once leaving Wilson the 350 would head to Chocowinity NC where it would drop off cars before returning as the 349. The Wilson switcher originated out of Wilson NC and worked the local businesses in the area and north to Greenville NC where it would run around its train and return to Wilson. There was also a woodchip mill just south of Wilson that the switcher worked. There were four trains that worked out of Chocowinity. One went north and one ran towards Morehead City. The NS 52 ran to the phosphate plant in Aurora NC. The other worked towards New Bern working the Weyhauser Plant. The line itself was very hilly when leaving out of Raleigh. Knightdale Hill and Eagle Rock were the killer hills that would make a train stall if underpowered. I know from experience. After that it was pretty much smooth sailing. The NS line crossed the CSX at grade in Wilson. We had to get permission from the CSX dispatcher to cross. Providing there was an AMTRAK or CSX train within 10 miles of the interlock. The NS also crossed the CSX branch line in Greenville NS. The diamond was protected by regular stop signs with a first come first serve rule. The line was abandoned in favor of the H line which runs from Raleigh to New Bern, the to Morehead City. Once in New Bern train need ing to go to Chocowinity could use the line running north from New Bern. The H line is also owned by the state of North Carolina which also provides funds to help NS maintain it. The NS saw no need to have to lines running the same direction and thus the sale to the short line company. The old NS line also was a headache to maintain. Even with welded rail there were a lot of slow orders.