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Old 03-17-2012, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,256 posts, read 19,791,183 times
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I became interested in the railway issue after our State Representative, Phil Shepherd, was advocating one from Wilmington to Jacksonville. He said it would help the Marines, naturally.

I turns out there was a railway line started in the 1890's which ran from Wilmington to Jacksonville to New Bern. However, it was removed in 1985, and the tracks were taken out. It ran parallel to Highway 17, according to this web site: Abandoned Rails: Wilmington to New Bern

Does anyone know exactly where it ran? Was it taken up when 17 was widened?

Finally, if it would really have been valuable to the Marines, why wasn't there an effort to save it before 1985?

Frankly, it sounds like a boondoggle. Another legislator wants to build a rail line from Wilmington to Wallace, which sounds like another boondoggle.

Any thoughts from the old-timers?
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:31 AM
 
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Here's a good source of some historical info for the railroad as well as detailed history of Hampstead:
THE EARLY DAYS
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,256 posts, read 19,791,183 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTNesters View Post
Here's a good source of some historical info for the railroad as well as detailed history of Hampstead:
THE EARLY DAYS
Thanks. I laughed at George Washington's view of the area, but then he saw it as a farmer would: "The whole road from Newbern to Wilmington (except in a few places of small extent) passes through the most barren country I ever beheld; especially in the parts nearest the latter; which is no other than a bed of white Sand."

I live near Dixon and Folkestone, which now are nothing but roadsigns on 17.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:21 PM
 
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I had a very long involved reply to you, like literally I had been working onth post for at least an hour and half with info on the stations in New Bern, Pollocksville, Havelock, and MHC with pics of all of their train stations with their current uses and the movement and restoration efforts. Alas, I accidentally closed the window toward the end and it's all gone so now you get the cliff notes.

All of ENC chiefly used rail in the 1800s through the early-almost mid 1900s, but bootlegging and a general independent streak with the rise of the auto age made significant declines in commuter rail. In the 80's the Marine Bases had liberty buses that would go to Wilmington, Goldsboro, Kinston, Greeenville and drop Marines off and pick them up at designated places and times, negating the use for commuter rail. (Funny how now Jacksonville is larger than all of them with the exception of Wilmington, though I know Marines still travel to Greenville and Wilimgton for college girls and Goldsboro for Air Force women). There is still rail to Wilmington but it is exclusively for freight and goes to the port.

IMO, the commuter rail idea is dumb because ENC still has that independent/auto spirit that caused commuter rail to go away in the first place. It's an area where a lot of people learn to drive long before they are legally allowed to drive and the back roads are still home to drag races. Their has not been a large enough influx of transplants to areas outside of Wilmington in ENC for a large enough population that would favor commuter rail. The only possible justification is that the Marines would use it, but despite the average age of J'ville being 23, in any group of Marines at least one has a car and they will pack it beyond capacity to get where they want to go, or rent a vehicle if necessary.

The only justifiable commuter rail would be from Raleigh to Wilmington parallel to I-40. I reckon you could throw a station in Benson, Wallace, and Burgaw, for GP if you do that.
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Old 03-18-2012, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
11,256 posts, read 19,791,183 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macjr82 View Post
There is still rail to Wilmington but it is exclusively for freight and goes to the port.
Thanks for the effort to give me the history. I found the link to the full article in the Star News, but it doesn't really make sense. They seem to be advocating, first, a line from Castle Hayne to Wallace. The justification from the Marines was shortening the time to deploy. The passenger line from Wilmington to Jacksonville was mentioned as an afterthought. I agree that it would be extremely expensive, and won't replace automobiles. At any rate, here's the article pointing to the relevant part on page 4: Missing link - Cost of re-establishing Southeastern N.C. rail route high | StarNewsOnline.com
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