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Will Wilmington ever get passenger train service?

Saja Hindi

For those looking for a better way to travel, don’t give up your car anytime soon.

Wilmington used to have a railway system, but the railroad that was once heaquartered in Wilmington, the Atlantic Coastline, left the city in 1960 and relocated to warmer pastures in Jacksonville, Fla.

According to David Hurd of the Wilmington Railroad Museum, the reason for this was because Wilmington was not centrally located to overall operations asĀ  at the time it served six states, from Virginia to Alabama.

When headquartered in Wilmington, 3,000 to 4,000 employees worked for the railroad. Afer the headquarters change, about 250 employees remained in Wilmington

“The last passenger service was in 1968,” Hurd said. And it won’t be returning in the near future.

The Atlantic Coastline went through two mergers and is now part of CSX Transportation in Jacksonville.

Although there have been talks of bringing a passenger rail service back to Wilmington, Hurd said the economy will have to get much better before that’s even a possibility.

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8 Responses to “ Will Wilmington ever get passenger train service?”

  1. On July 19, 2009 at 9:19 am Sarah wrote:

    It is so sad that we had to go to Rocky Mt. last year to take a cross country train trip. Wilmington definitely needs this service!

  2. On July 20, 2009 at 11:42 am Don wrote:

    I was a little surprise that the answer didn’t include information on a 1971 DOT study on the issue of restoring passenger rail to Wilmington. It may be found at http://www.bytrain.org/future/pdf/July05SENCRPT.pdf
    In addition, there is a lot of support for restoring rail track from Wallace to Castle Hayne which would make for a shorter trip to/from than using the existing tracks by way of Pembroke.

  3. On July 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm Don wrote:

    Date of study is 2005, not 1971

  4. On July 21, 2009 at 7:17 pm CK wrote:

    Maybe the convention center downtown would have a chance if we had light rail service to Raleigh. It would be great to jump on the train in Wilmington and do a day trip. Think how many people would come here for a beach/golf weekend…

    I’d love to see trains come back to Wilmington.

  5. On July 28, 2009 at 9:06 am Bill wrote:

    Any honest economic feasibility study will show that restoration of passenger rail service to Wilmington will be a money loser. Two mitigating economic considerations would be tying passenger traffic to events at the downtown convention center, and for the proposed route via Goldsboro, the offsetting costs of restoring the former ACL Contentnea line between Castle Hayne and Wallace which would allow freight service – especially container service that could serve the Wilmington Port – in addition to passenger service.

  6. On September 3, 2009 at 11:44 pm Wayne Killian wrote:

    It was the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, not Atlantic Coastline Railroad.

    I was part of the Coast Line family; both of my parents, an uncle and a grandfather all worked for the ACL and I worked for the ACL for more than a year after we moved to Jax, FL in 1960.

    In the event you are skeptical about it being “Coast Line”, click on this website: http://www.aclsal.org/ .

  7. On September 11, 2009 at 9:09 pm william c wrote:

    In this day and timeI would travel to BURGAW and WILMINGTON by rail. This could be a money saver for alot of people whom go to the towns for business and also for families with children.This is just my theory as I love train travel.

  8. On March 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm Erin wrote:

    I think it’s a huge disadvantage not having train service here. We have considered taking a train from Rocky Mount to Charlotte to visit family…even though it would take 4 times as long than driving. As it is we are willing to drive to Rocky Mount to take a train to Washington DC. I think that making travel TO Wilmington easier, would be a boost in the local economy. I’m all for it!!!

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