The Cape Fear & Northern Railroad was chartered in 1892 by Holly
Springs resident Mr. George Benton Alford (note that he was given the
title "Colonel" as an honorary title for his service in the
Confederate army) from the State Legislature. Unfortunately due to "hard
times", construction could not be completed and the charter was extended
in 1893, 1895 and 1896.
Soon after, some sort of deal was reached between Alford and businessmen of Durham. Mr. Alford was inducted as first president of the road. Then Mr. B. N. Duke was elected president and John C. Angier as General Manager. The first shovelful of dirt was thrown by Miss Mattie V. Alford in Holly Springs on July 27th, 1898 according to this text:
Construction continued until the complete line was finished from Durham to Dunn in the summer of 1903. Along the line, the towns of Angier (1901) and Coats (1905) were incorporated at this time. In 1906, the name was changed to the Durham and Southern Railway.
From D&S 1958 Annual Report (link
The Duke interests were looking to diversify their holdings and so on August 16, 1902, the first stake was driven into the ground to layout the site for the Erwin Cotton Mills Company. At first, the town was named Duke in honor of the Duke family of Durham, but later was changed to Erwin in honor of William A. "Bill" Erwin, the supervisor of construction operations and who became mill manager after it was opened in 1904. A new type of cloth was made in 1906 and eventually Erwin became known as "The Denim Capital of the World."
The line operated until November 1981, when it was acquired by Seaboard Coast Line, later CSX. In December 1987, CSX sold the Dunn-Erwin segment to the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad. The A&R chartered the Dunn-Erwin Railway and started service on December 17th that same year. On January 1st, 1990, it was merged into the Aberdeen & Rockfish. In 2000, the Erwin mill closed and the Dunn-Erwin line was abandoned. The old right-of-way was later turned into a rail-trail (see below).
While it operated as the Dunn-Erwin Railway, they used DER #5072, a EMD
NW2 switcher. Builder No. 10373, built in June 1949 as Chesapeake &
Ohio 5072, Class SE-10. Reclassified as NW-2 in 1964 and sold to Dunn-Erwin
in December 1987. Was later sold as Reagent Chemical & Research Inc.
The segment between Dunn and Erwin has now been converted into a 5.3
Excerpt from Richard Prince's book, Norfolk Southern Railroad Old Dominion Line and Connections:
"It was Jake Williams' farm that the railroad, which put Angier on the map, was built in 1899. The railroad was little more than a tramway leading from Apex, in Wake County, to the Jake Williams' farm in Harnett County. It was first known and chartered as the Cape Fear and Northern Railroad; later, about 1906, the line was extended to Durham and the name changed to the Durham and Southern.
The purpose of the railroad was to haul lumber and logs. The area around Angier had a vast sweep of fine saw timber, from short and long straw pines. The trees had been bled by the turpentine workers, leaving long stems of southern pine ready to be cut and sawed into lumber. When the turpentine business came to an end, workers and their families moved south to find un-bled timber; and a new era began. A new way of making a living and supporting a family began-saw milling. No longer was the ox cart and mule-drawn wagon efficient to move lumber and logs. Now the building of the railroad was hailed as a step forward. Farming was becoming more important; growing cotton and tobacco took the place of sawmill work as that era came to a close.
The late Col. Johnathan Cicero Angier married the niece of the late Washington Duke whose "golden leaf' had found its way north after the war. The demand for more tobacco is said to have been the impetus for Mr. Duke and his sons to establish the American Tobacco Company.
Col. Angier owned and operated a lumber plant in Cary and decided to build a railroad down along the pine ridge from Apex to Harnett County. Supposedly with the backing of the Dukes, he built a railroad to the farm of Jake Williams where a "Y" was also built for turning the engine around. In time, a station house was erected for the train crew to stay at night and daily round trips were made to Apex.
Jake and his son Benton operated a general store and a turpentine distillery. Goods were transported to and from Raleigh or Dunn by two or four-horse wagons. The coming of the railroad was a boon to farmers, merchants and lumbermen.
After much discussion and numerous suggestions, the station house was named Angier to honor Johnathan C. Angier who played a major part in bringing the railroad to the area.
In July 1899, Jake Williams secured a noted surveyor, Daniel E. Green, to map and plot the land surrounding his home and the newly erected depot. Streets were laid off and named and Angier had its beginnings. By act of the North Carolina Legislature of 1901 the town received its charter.
During the 1930's, The Angier Woman's Club undertook a project to have crepe myrtles planted on roadsides leading into town from all directions. The trees make a spectacular show during June, July and August. The town chose "The Town of the Crepe Myrtles" as its slogan. Every year a Crepe Myrtle Festival is held in September with food, crafts and entertainment for all.
The Durham and Southern railroad which had run through the center of town since 1899, had its last run from Apex to Dunn on July 5, 1979. No longer was the railroad the cheapest way to transport goods to and from the industries of Angier and was no longer realizing a profit. Mayor Jack Marley and other town officials requested that railroad officials donate to the town the depot and the one hundred foot right of way within town limits. That was done and so ended another era."
I've created a new Yahoo Group here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DSRy/
Interesting posts from TrainOrders.com:
I've also collected a few posts from the Southeastern Model Railroaders Forum (SMRF) mailing list and others:
Magazine articles that talk about the Durham & Southern:
Please note that there is a book is currently being written about the Durham & Southern by Cary Poole.