NCRR History

Learn more about NCRR’s history by visiting Whistlestop at Company Shops Station

1848: NC Legislature passed a railroad bill calling for an east-west railroad to connect the coastal plain with the piedmont opening the state for economic and industrial development

1849: NCRR chartered as a 223-mile long corridor between Charlotte and Goldsboro, NC

1851 July 11: Groundbreaking ceremony held in Greensboro

1852 January: Railroad construction occurred simultaneously from each terminal point of the road with local landowners contracting the labor

1854: NCRR President John Motley Morehead addressed the NC Legislature asking for increased funding calling the railroad a “tree of life” for North Carolina

1854: NC Legislature approved a total of $3 million in shares for the state and $1 million in shares for private stockholders making the NCRR 75% owned by the State.

1856 January: The first train ran the entire length of the newly completed corridor from Charlotte to Goldsboro

1856: NCRR built Company Shops (later Burlington) in Alamance County for rail car and track repair

1861-1865: NCRR served as an important supply line for the Confederate Army during the Civil War although increased traffic and reduced maintenance led to poor road and rolling stock conditions

1865 April: Several NCRR structures, bridges and miles of track were destroyed during the final weeks of the Civil War

1871: NCRR signed a 30-year lease with the Richmond & Danville Railroad (R&D) for operations and equipment

1894: Southern Railway acquired the Richmond & Danville Railroad

1896 January 1: NCRR entered into a 99-year lease with Southern Railway (now Norfolk Southern Railway)

1896: Southern Railway opened its own service facility at Spencer Shops just north of Salisbury

1918 June: A fire at Company Shops destroyed all of the shops except for the engine house.

1989 September 29: NCRR merged with the Atlantic & North Carolina Railroad (chartered in 1854 to run east from NCRR’s terminus in Goldsboro to the port in Morehead City).  This merger consolidated a 317-mile corridor from Charlotte to Morehead City

1998: The State of North Carolina bought out the 25% of private NCRR stock shares making NCRR a privately run company, fully owned by the State.

1999: Norfolk Southern (NSR) and NCRR reached an exclusive trackage right agreement for NSR to continue freight and maintenance operations on the NCRR line for 15 years renewable for an additional 30 years.  In July 2012 Norfolk Southern renewed the lease agreement through December 31, 2029.  A second 15 year renewable option remains.

2000: NC Legislature established a statute enabling NCRR to reinvest dividends into crucial improvements to the NCRR line

2001: NCRR implemented a Corridor Improvement Program to improve the maintenance, integrity and economic potential of the railroad corridor

Click here for an interactive map of the projects NCRR has completed since 2001 and has planned through 2017.