Wilmington to New Bern

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(Forwarded from the Wilmington, Onslow & East Carolina Railroad)

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Station and depot in Jacksonville, NC, the other Jacksonville on the old Seaboard Coast Line. This section of rail was abandoned soon after this photograph was taken in 1981. Photo by Jason Rose.

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.

The Wilmington Star newspaper had an article in the month of January that Jacksonville missed out on a new plant because of no rail service. The county and Camp Lejeune wants the track reinstalled back to Wilmington for economic development in the area. So we will see.

George Bailey
Rocky Mount, NC
5/14/2012

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I've seen a few posts of train anesthetists who would like to see intercity rail going from Raleigh to Wilmington via Goldsboro and Jacksonville. All though if a rail connection is possible towards Fayetteville, that could benefit the army.

Zac
Springfield, VA
6/21/2012

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I recently came across an abandoned bridge while kayaking down a quiet portion of the White Oak River. I have come to find that the bridge is, in fact, a part of the old railroad line. If there is anyone who could offer more information on this particular portion of railroad, from Wilmington to New Bern, or could point me in the right direction, I would very much appreciate it. Thank you for the write-up!

Amanda
Cape Carteret, NC
2/4/2016

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Zac, of Springfield, Va., North Carolina has plans to establish passenger rail service from Raleigh to Wilmington via Goldsboro, Mt. Olive, Wallace and Burgaw. Problem is part of that line has been taken up although the state still maintains control of the right-of-way. The state is also considering passenger service to Wilmington via Fayettesville and Pembroke. No decision has been made about which, if either, route will get precedence. The whole plan is contingent on finding adequate funding for track improvements and some construction. I can tell you some of us here in the Piedmont would love to be able to take the train to the beach. A lot of college kids in Wilmington would benefit as well by having this service available.

Dana Hill
Graham, NC
8/20/2016

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