What type or length of trains ran from New Bern to Wilmington, NC?

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What type of Freight Trains ran from Wilmington to New Bern NC? I am assured they were locals, but how many cars did they make up? The time I am looking for is any time from the 50's to the Late 70's when the trains stopped running. The reason I ask, I grew up in Morehead City, and my father would take us to Wilmington a few times a year. I remember looking out the window at the right of way. I never actually saw a train, but I do remember seeing a few covered hoppers on a siding near the Sara Lee Plant in Holly Ridge. I would just like to know how many trains traveled the line and what type of cars they had. If anyone has any photos to share of the line I would like to see them. Any help would be appreciated.

-- Daniel T. Edwards (mmedwards@inebraska.com), February 26, 2002


I met what I believe to be the last train south at the Highway 17 crossing in Verona late in the afternoon. It was sad, but not as sad as it was when they started ripping up the track. I was traveling up and down 17 in those days, and watched the whole thing. BTW, the plywood plant north of Jacksonville was serviced through Camp Lejeune for some time after SCL pulled out, but it was closed 10 years ago or so, and the remaining track along 17 was pulled up. All that's left now is the spur from Camp Lejeund to what I think is called Marine Junction, where there used to be a "wye." Don't think there has been any traffic on it since then, it's all overgrown.

-- Pete Wenk (petewenk@nccoast.com), February 27, 2002.

I'm not quite sure when it happen,it had to have been right after the BQ23-7's were delivered,but a fairly new BQ hit a log truck at a crossing just north of Jacksonville some time in the early 80's.I have a picture of it laying on its side from the newspaper in J'ville.

-- V.L.Lewis (TrkInsp5F33@aol.com), February 26, 2002.

I grew up on that line in the New Bern area. I now live in east Tennessee but was an active railfan on that line from the early 1960's until the last train ran in 1983. I believe it was 1983. I have a copy of the embargo (due to abandonment) that gave the last date for any freight cars to be delivered and picked up. All that operated on the line thru the 50's, 60's, 70's and until abandonment was locals. During the ACL days they were No. 523 south and 522 north. They changed to 423/422 after the ACL/SAL merger of 7/1/67. During the 60's GP7's were it. During the 70's, that changed to GP7's, GP38's, and later MP15AC's, B23Q's, and some GP16's. Occassionally a GP9 or a GP40 would make it down the line but the bulk was the previously mentioned loco's. The trains rarely had more than 20-25 cars north of Jacksonville, NC and I think would make it to 35 to 45 between Jacksonville and Wilmington. The trains ran Monday thru Saturday and met in Jacksonville at the 51 Mile Siding. This location was right beside US Hwy 17 in Jacksonville. Around the mid 70's (I'd have to check old timetables to be sure, the trains began a Mon/Wed/Fri and Tues/Thurs/Sat schedule. 422 would run from Wilmington to New Bern on Monday and go back on Tues as 423. And of course by Sat, 423 was heading south to Wilmington. And the process would start over again on Mon. The trains usually carried lumber, pulpwood, woodchips, various agricultural products; typical ACL branchline stuff for eastern NC. Also, carried was jet fuel from Radio Island (Morehead City/Beaufort for those not familiar with the area) to New Bern on the A&EC Rwy to New Bern, then handed over to the ACL/SCL for the run to Jacksonville and into Camp LeJeune. This jet fuel was in the 10,000 DODX tank cars and was usually run about 2 or 3 times each week in blocks of 10 cars. Later, DODX began using larger tanks. I have MANY pictures taken of those trains during the 60's, and particularily the 70's and 80's. I have many during a 2 week span after abandonment.

Raymond Smith

-- Raymond Smith (aclrr7@hotmail.com), February 26, 2002.

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