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On U.S. 117 about halfway between Castle Hayne and Rocky Point there’s an overpass over apparently nothing. What is it?

Ken Little
StarNews

The overpass is over an old railroad corridor that ran from Castle Hayne to Wallace, says Allen Pope, N.C. Department of Transportation division engineer.

“U.S. 117 goes over the old rail line. If the rail line is re-established it will be utilized again,” Pope says.

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Gaylord Harrell
Gaylord Harrell

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3 Responses to “ On U.S. 117 about halfway between Castle Hayne and Rocky Point there’s an overpass over apparently nothing. What is it?”

  1. On December 18, 2009 at 3:12 pm Mark Koenig wrote:

    The railroad corridor was first laid out in the 1830s to connect Wilmington with Weldon, near the Virginia state line. For about 140 years it carried trains from the Wilmington & Weldon, Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard Coast Line, and eventually CSX railroads. Completed in 1840, the 161-mile “Weldon Route” was briefly the longest continuous rail line in the world. If you have a map, you can connect the towns of Wilmington, Castle Hayne, Burgaw, Watha, Willard, Wallace, Rose Hill, Magnolia, Warsaw, Faison, Calypso, Mount Olive, Goldsboro, Pikeville, Fremont, Black Creek, and Contentnea (near Wilson), where a junction with the main line heads north to Rocky Mount and Weldon. This route remained largely intact during the Civil War, transporting men and materiel north to Lee’s army in Virginia, and agricultural products south to the port of Wilmington and its fleet of blockade runners. In the early days, states considered railroads as benefiting their states only, so railroad companies typically did not cross state lines and often ran on tracks of different widths. For passengers and freight, this entailed transfers from one train to another and much inconvenience. The Civil War proved the shortcomings of these arrangements, and by the 1870s track widths were standardized and the great expansion of interstate commerce was under way. Tracks still exist on the Weldon Route north of Wallace; south of there one can see traces of the corridor and remains of structures paralleling nearby roads.
    From the Wilmington Railroad Museum

  2. On September 1, 2010 at 5:15 pm Sanford L Korschun wrote:

    Mr. Allen Pope of NCDOT misstated. He said “If the rail line is reestablished it will be utilized again”. He surely meant to say, WHEN the rail is reestablished it will be utilized again.

  3. On February 10, 2011 at 11:00 am Aaron McLamb wrote:

    The original Wilmington and Weldon line may not be the new route into Wilmington for passenger service. The other possibility is to come south on CSX’s A-Line to Pembroke and turning east (railroad south) on the new connecting track that will allow trains from Ft. Bragg to go to Sunny Point faster. This track is scheduled to be built before 2014 according to some sources. Therefore, Mr. Pope’s statement of “IF the rail line is re-established” is accurate. IF, not when. It would be somewhat cheaper to upgrade existing track than to build new rail and bridges from Wallace to Castle Hayne. However, with the state and federal govenments being broke, don’t look for it to happen within the next 10 years.



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