Short-line anniversaries: North Carolina Railroad approaches 165, Vermont Rail turns 50 (1/27/2014)


The North Carolina Railroad Co. (NCRR) will mark its 165th anniversary on Jan. 27.

The railroad was chartered on Jan. 27, 1849, by a one-vote majority of the state's General Assembly, and was financed by combining $3 million in state funds and $1 million in private funds. In 1998, the state bought all of the private shares, making North Carolina citizens the railroad's only shareholders.

"The visionary North Carolina Gov. John Motley Morehead chartered the railroad as 'an economic tree of life' for our state," said NCRR President Scott Saylor in an op-ed he wrote for the occasion. "Today, the North Carolina Railroad’s modern vision echoes Gov. Morehead’s dream to improve our state by enabling freight to grow business, expanding rail to move people, and investing in North Carolina."

NCRR's 317-mile corridor extends from Morehead City to Charlotte. By virtue of a 1989 merger with its sister company, the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, NCRR serves the Port of Morehead City and three military bases.

The railroad receives no state appropriations. A track operating lease with Norfolk Southern Railway generates $14 million in primary annual revenue that's used to upgrade infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the Vermont Rail System (VRS) marked its golden anniversary on Jan. 6 during a special celebration held at Burlington Union Station in Burlington, Vt.

On Jan. 6, 1964, the Vermont Railroad ran its first train from Burlington yard. The railroad was established by Jay Wulfson after the Rutland Railroad dissolved in fall 1963.

The railroad later purchased the Clarendon and Pittsford Railroad in 1972, acquired a portion of the D&H line in 1983, bought the Green Mountain Railroad in 1997, and later acquired the Washington County Railroad and New York & Ogdensburg Railway. Today, VRS operates five railroads over 350 miles of track, and provides freight- and passenger-rail services.

To mark the 50th anniversary, VRS officials invited employees, customers, representatives of connecting railroad and elected officials — including Vermont Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, Secretary of Transportation Brian Searles and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger — to the Burlington Union Station event.

The celebration was the first in a series of events VRS plans to hold throughout the year to mark the milestone. The company also helped develop a 12-minute video that showcases its history, people and key events.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News