Beckford Junction to Elizabeth City
This 25-mile branch, which opened around 1904, was originally built as part of the Suffolk and Carolina Railway, renamed the Virginia and Carolina Coast Railroad in 1906 and acquired that year by the Norfolk and Southern Railroad, which became the Norfolk Southern Railroad in 1910. The branch provided a connection between Norfolk Southern's Suffolk, VA to Edenton, NC line and their Norfolk, VA to Chocowinity, NC mainline without having to travel all the way down to the junction at Edenton, NC.
The branch was abandoned sometime between 1940 and 1942. It served four communities between Beckford Junction and Elizabeth City, including Parkville.
Thanks to Kevin M. Smith for contributing information.
The station at Nicanor in Perquimans County stood until it suffered a fire in the late 1980's or early 1990's. A potion of the old grade is locally known as Railbed Road and is used as an informal road from Nicanor to Parkville. Another portion of the old grade can be found off of Forest Hill Circle outside of Elizabeth City and another feature of the drade locally known as Deer Hill is located just south of Sandy Cross in Gates County.
The rest of this line (through Elizabeth City out to the Albemarle Sound) is abandon/unused too, correct? I know the tracks are paved over at points along its course. I know it is where it crosses Peartree Rd.
Carl, the portion of track you are referring to is a rail spur built to service the blimp base outside of Elizabeth City during WWII. It is, I believe, an off-shoot of Norfolk-Southern. Their mainline was abandoned when the trestles over the Chowan River at Tunis and the Albemarle Sound were condemned and demolished in the 90's. That line has now been taken over by the Chesapeake & Albemarle RR which offers limited service for freight.
What does the C&A transport these days and how often do they run? I occasionally see the locomotive pull cars through town, but only at certain times, and I'm quite sure that the C&A run more frequently than I notice, perhaps at night, too. I wonder if their rail revenues have been increased by Purdue's expansion of the former Tanglewood Farms' silo and I wonder if they will be hauling the massive components for the upcoming Wind Farm project in the Desert area. I would love to see the railroad in a more active role!