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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.

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"Experimental Railroad"

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

See also: Transportation: Air and Rail (from NC Atlas Revisited)

"Experimental Railroad" usually refers to the mile-and-a-quarter road built by the Experimental Railroad Company of Raleigh in 1832-33 (at a cost of $2,700) to allow horse-drawn cars to transport stone needed for rebuilding the State Capitol, which had burned in June 1831. On Sunday afternoons, ladies and gentlemen desiring to take a railroad airing would travel from adjoining counties to ride on the road's "handsome car," as would legislators when they were in town. The railroad, considered by some historians to be the first in the state, proved to be a great success and stimulated considerable interest in railroad construction. Subsequently, two Internal Improvement Commissions, meeting in Raleigh in July and November 1833, urged the General Assembly to assist private capital in building railroads.

Additional Resources:

"Experimental Railroad." North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program. (accessed July 31, 2012).

Bartholomew, Robert H. "First Tar Heel Railroad Served Raleigh Was Constructed for Less Than $3,000." Rocky Mount Evening Telegram. April 17, 1955. (accessed July 31, 2012).

"An act to incorporate the Experimental Rail Road Company, in the City of Raleigh." Acts of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina at the Session of 1832-1833. Raleigh, N.C.: Charles R. Ramsay. 1833. (accessed July 31, 2012).

Tyer, Edward Junior. "The Experimental Railroad Company." Master's Thesis. East Carolina Univeristy. 1980.{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=JWEBCAT (accessed July 31, 2012).

Causey, Don. "Raleigh's First Railway- A Woman's Dream." The News and Observer [Raleigh, N.C.]. August 9, 1970. "Railroads - North Carolina" Vertical Reference File, Government and Heritage Library, North Carolina.

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