Williamston, NC depot

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Does anyone know where I might be able to get a picture of the Williamston, NC depot? I know that the depot had a unique location in that it was located off the actual "main track" by a fair distance on sort of a downtown lead track. I saw the depot in the late 70's but for some reason failed to take a picture. Any assistance would be most greatly appreciated.

Raymond Smith

-- Raymond Smith (aclrr7@hotmail.com), December 23, 2002


Yes, Buddy. It is on the west side of town JUST west of where the "downtown spur" branches off by maybe a couple hundred feet or so. It crosses the street at an angle. I might be wrong but I believe the street is a business route for one of the US Hwy's; either way it is a main street in Williamston. Ilast saw it in May or June of 1999 and at the time you could still read the paint type, the paint date, etc. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I had my camcorder with me so I videoed every inch of track including the bridge in Williamston but did not have my 35mm with me that day so I have no still shots.

Raymond Smith

-- Raymond Smith (aclrr7@hotmail.com), December 27, 2002.

Where is the bridge located that you all are referring to? I recall a railroad bridge on the west side of town? Is this the same bridge?

-- Buddy Hill (palmettoLTD@hotmail.com), December 27, 2002.

Thanks Vic! I'm only interested in the bridge, and the markings on it. What style is it?

-- Russell Underwood (NFDRwy@Cox.net), December 26, 2002.

The bridge is very accessable,but photo ops are kinda hard.The wood train,F738, usually goes to Plymouth around 230 am and returns around 5 or 530 am.

-- Vic Lewis (TrkInsp5F33@aol.com), December 26, 2002.

No, the depot is gone. I do not know whether it was moved or torn down and there seems to be little info around Williamston about it's demise. The ACL bridge over the road looks good, or at least it did in 1999.

Raymond Smith

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

So, the depot and bridge are both still there, and accessable for photos? What is the best time of day to get good, well lit shots?

Williamson is about an hour south of me, so I would'nt want to drive down for nothing. Thanks!

-- Russell Underwood (NFDRwy@Cox.net), December 26, 2002.

I have "scanned" the dickens out of the Terra Server aerial photos and topo maps and can't detect anything looking like a right of way from the past, however it could have been so long ago that all evidence (particularily from the air) is gone. You can pretty much follow the old spur as far as the Roanoke River bridge.

Later folks,

Raymond Smith

-- Raymond Smith (aclrr7@hotmail.com), December 24, 2002.

Thanks to all for the additional information on the train order board mystery. Harry, the industrial site you mentioned was a former fertilizer plant and the spur did indeed once serve a warf for river to rail transfer (info obtained from a brochure prepared by the City of Williamston).

Both the downtown spur and the "mainline" to Jamestown and Plymouth crossed Highway 17 at grade (at least they did 15 years ago). Your recollection of a signal near the junction of the "mainline" and the spur makes sense operationally. However, the presence of a TO board on a depot isolated from the "mainline" remains perplexing. Wonder if the downtown spur could have been the original route through Williamston rejoining the mainline east of town? Would be nice to have access to an old valuation map to confirm. Fun topic.

-- Buddy Hill (palmettoLTD@hotmail.com), December 24, 2002.

Buddy -- my memory, also, is going back 42 years, but between September, 1960 and January, 1961, Norfolk Southern detoured Norfolk to Plymouth via N&PBL-Pinners Point- ACL (Hobgood- Parmele-Plymouth). I made only one round trip, but seems to me, the Williamston train order signal was at the junction of the Plymouth Extension, possibly remote controlled from the depot. I've reviewed SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS in ACL, SCL, and CSX timetables, but find no notation regarding location of the signal. Before the Williamston bypass , ACL's tracks crossed U.S. 17 at grade to serve a plant east of town on the Roanoke River and maybe to tansfer freight to water carriers. When constructed, this may have been the intended end of the line and that's why the station was so located. ACL was in Plymouth in 1924 (and quite probably before), possibly as an afterthought to terminating at Williamston.

-- Harry Bundy (Y6B@aol.com), December 24, 2002.

Bill and Buddy, A old station agent told me the reason why there was a train order board there was to protect any meets between Williamston and Plymouth,usually at Jamesville.The agent wasn't always there.The letters have finally wore off :-( I thought about geting a lift truck over there and CAREFULLY repaint the letters on there.

-- Vic Lewis (TrkInsp5F33@aol.com), December 24, 2002.

Thamks for the info and that is a good question about the train order board because (and I am going off memory) but the ACL/SCL line ran from Rocky Mount and Tarboro thru Parmele and then Williamston, in west to east direction, terminating at Plymouth. Heading east as the line approached Williamston, it crossed a steel Highway bridge which 3 1/2 yrs ago still had the ACL RR letters on it. Immediately after the steel overpass, the line curved to the right. In this curve, the spur took an abrupt bearing to the left toward downtown Williamston. Approximately 1/3 of a mile or so from the main track and on the spur sat the depot. The best I recall, the depot was somewhat similiar to the Wallace, NC depot. Again, it was in the late 70's when I saw it. It seems that it was in pretty good shape. Like you, I find it rare for a depot to be sitting off the main track and I myself question the need for a train order board. Maybe Bill Sellers, Vic Lewis or some other eastern NC ACL/SCL expert can help us.

Again, thanks

Raymond Smith

-- Raymond Smith (aclrr7@hotmail.com), December 23, 2002.


There is a woman out of Iowa that sells post card photos of depots for the 50 states. I think her name is Roberta Nietz or something like that. I purchased a copy of the Williamston NC depot from her a couple of years ago. I think she was charging about $4.50 per post card back then. I have her address back home and will email it to you early next week.

Be forwarned that the quality of the photographs varies from excellent to extremely poor. Its a real crap shoot as to what you'll receive. It appears that some photos are 2nd or 3rd generation copies. The Williamston NC photo was fairly good as I recall. I have received a couple of poor quality photos in the past and either asked for a refund or photos of other locations with no hassle. Good luck.

I do have a question about the Williamston depot. Why was it equipped with a train order board when the depot was located on a spur off of the "mainline"? I can't see what purpose it would serve at that location as it was not visible from the Plymouth Branch.

-- Buddy Hill (palmettoLTD@hotmail.com), December 23, 2002.

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