North Carolina Railroads - Street Railways

On February 12, 1867, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a Legislative Act granting a charter for the Fayetteville Street Railway Company to operate a "two-mile street railroad propelled by animal or other power." In 1889, a second Legislative Act was ratified to charter this company again with new incorporators. This Author has found no evidence that this street railroad was ever operational.

In 1881, the North Carolina General Assembly passed two Legislative Acts granting charters to the Asheville Street Railway Company and the Raleigh Street Railway Company, both of which were placed into operations before the end of the decade using horses to pull their cars.

From 1881 to 1921, forty-eight (48) more known street railways were placed into operations in sixteen (16) cities and towns within North Carolina. As shown below, at least nineteen (19) more street railways were chartered that never got off the drawing boards. Most of these fifty (50) street railways ended up using electrical engines to power their cars. Of the sixteen (16) cities and towns with street railways, all ended operations by the 1930s, with the last one to close down in 1939. Click Here for an alphabetical listing of all fifty (50) known street railways that became operational in North Carolina.

One short line of the Piedmont & Northern Railway continued as a streetcar line in Gastonia until 1948, but that railroad was reported with all other passenger and freight lines and not as a "street railway," even though it was considered by many to be an "inter-urban railway." All other so-called "inter-urban railways" in North Carolina died on the drawing boards and were not constructed.

In 1891, the North Carolina Railroad Commission was established, but it did not begin reporting on "Street Railways" until 1898. Their successor, the North Carolina Corporation Commission continued reporting on "Street Railways" until the commission was dissolved in 1934. Click Here to view all available reports from these two State commissions.

On July 14, 2015, the city of Charlotte launched its next generation of "Street Railway," the $37 million CityLYNX Gold Line, the first 1.5-mile stretch of a planned 10-mile streetcar system. Three replica trolleys now run daily along Trade Street and Elizabeth Avenue, making six stops. It’s the first time in 77 years that streetcars have plied the streets of Charlotte. The LYNX Blue Line provides "light rail" rapid transit service as well..

Click Here for an excellent write-up on the history of "Street Railways" in North Carolina provided by Walter R. Turner.

North Carolina Cities and Towns with Operational Street Railways

Asheville

Burlington

Charlotte

Concord


Durham

Fayetteville

Goldsboro

Greensboro

Hendersonville

High Point

New Bern

Pinehurst

Raleigh

Salisbury

Wilmington

Winston-Salem

Street Railways Chartered but No Evidence They Were Built

City / Town

Name of Street Railway

Year Chartered

Asheville

Asheville, Cranberry & Pulaski City Railroad

1891

Asheville

Biltmore & Asheville Street Railroad

1891

Asheville

Blue Ridge Interurban Railway

1913

Burlington to Durham

Alamance, Durham & Orange Railway & Electric Co.

1915

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill Trolley

1903

Charlotte to Hickory

Blue Ridge Development Co.

1920

Charlotte to Winston-Salem

North Carolina Lines, Inc.

1920

Davidson to High Point

Davidson Interurban Electric Railway

1911

Dunn-Averasboro-Duke

Dunn Trolley

1903

Durham to Raleigh

Durham & Raleigh Electric Railway

1901

Fayetteville

Fayetteville Street Railway

1867 & 1889

Greensboro

Greensboro Belt Line Railway

1891

Greensboro to High Point

Greensboro Inter-Urban Railway

1903

Hendersonville to Saluda

Saluda-Hendersonville Suburban Railway

1913

Hickory to Catawba Springs

Hickory to Catawba Springs Railway

1905

Raleigh

Wake Railway

1887

Snow Hill

Snow Hill Railway

1897

Tarboro

Tarboro Street Railway

1870 & 1893

Wilmington to Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach Electric Railway

1919


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