Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Printer-friendly page

Atlantic & Western Railway Company

by George A. Kennedy, 2006

Atlantic & Western Railway. Image courtesy of Flickr user Donald Lee Pardue.See also: Transportation: Air and Rail (from NC Atlas Revisited)

The Atlantic & Western Railway Company was chartered on 7 Mar. 1899 under sponsorship of the Edwards family of Sanford. It took over the operation of a line extending 12 miles west from Hope Mills that had been built by the Enterprise Land & Improvement Company. Between 1903 and 1913 it built its own line east from Sanford to Lillington (26 miles); plans to continue to Goldsboro were never realized. In 1926 the company was sold under foreclosure and reorganized as the Atlantic & Western Railway (A&W), which continued to operate a line between Sanford and Lillington until 15 Dec. 1961, when all but three miles from Sanford to Jonesboro were abandoned.

The A&W was reorganized on 1 Jan. 1970 as the Atlantic & Western Corporation. Since 1988, it has been the property of Rail Management and Consulting, based in Florida. In 1990 the A&W acquired the former Cape Fear & Yadkin Valley Railroad line between Sanford and Greensboro, long operated by the Southern Railway. What began as a link between Sanford and the east has thus become a route to the west. By the early 2000s the railroad operated ten miles of track and had connections with CSX and the Norfolk Southern Railroad.


S. David Carriker, Railroading in the Carolina Sandhills, vol. 2 (1987).

Additional Resources:

Inventory of the Atlantic and Western Railroad, 1905-1968, Duke University Libraries:

GWRR Atlantic & Western Railroad (aquired by GWRR in 2005): (aquired by GWRR in 2005)

North Carolina Railway Association:

Railroads of North Carolina by Alan Coleman:

1901 Bill extending the Atlantic & Western Railway Company:

North Carolina Railway Museum:

North Carolina Digital Collections, 1899 and act to amend private law of Enterprise Land & Improvement Co. and Atlantic & Western:

Zucchino, David. "The Atlantic and Western Survives: The Little Engine That Can." The News and Observer [Raleigh, N.C.]. July 4, 1976. "Railroads - North Carolina" Vertical Reference File, Government and Heritage Library, North Carolina.

Image Credit:

"Atlantic & Western Railway." Image courtesy of Flickr user Donald Lee Pardue. Available from (accessed July 5, 2012).

Origin - location: