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]