masthead_shortlines
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Romulus Linney, the colorful and loquacious politician from Taylorsville, remarked something to the effect that the the emeralds found in the nearby Hiddenite mine were so valuable that "a well-wintered junebug could fly away with enough of the mineral tied to its hind leg to pay for the whole railroad!" When the vote for the railroad's charter came to be taken, the first senator polled announced that "he voted for the Junebug Road!" and the railroad's nickname was born.

Alexander Railroad Company

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arc_state The railroad line was originally chartered and built in 1887 as the Statesville & Western, a subsidiary of Atlantic, Tennessee & Ohio, which ran between Charlotte and Statesville, North Carolina. The AT&O was purchased by the Richmond & Danville, and eventually came under the expanding Southern Railway system. Today the pike interchanges with the Norfolk Southern at Statesville, handles industrial switching in the area, and maintains a shop at Taylorsville. The road serves about 20 customers, handling approximately 2,500 carloads per year. Principal commodities carried are grain, pulpboard, plastics, lumber products, and scrap paper.

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ARC route in context / NC state rail map

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ARC route map / web

HawkinsRails thanks railfan friend Ben Wells for use of his ARC photos below

Motive Power

Alexander #3

  • builder:General Electric
  • model:44 tonner
  • type:B-B light switcher
  • built:June 1951, GE #31111
  • series:334 produced
  • engine:(2) Caterpillar D17000, 400 hp
  • notes:
  • ex Hampton & Branchville #42
    to Alexander #3, 1961
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    Alexander #8

  • builder:Electro Motive Division
  • model:SW9
  • type:B-B yard switcher
  • built:Mar 1952, EMD #15968
  • series:786 produced, 1951-53
  • engine:EMD 567B, 12 cyls. 1200 hp
  • notes:
  • ex Union Railroad #707
    to Alexander #8, 1990
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    Alexander #9

  • builder:Electro-Motive Division
  • model:SW1500
  • type:B-B yard switcher
  • built:May 1972, EMD #4608-37
  • series:808 produced 1966-74
  • engine:EMD 645 (12 cyl, 1500 hp)
  • notes:
  • ex Cotton Belt, Southern Pacific #2627
    later Larrys Truck & Electric
    to Alexander #9
  • builder

    tag_pinLocations

    A Day on the Junebug Line

    October 23, 2012
    Ben Wells reporting

    wells1 First I caught up to the Alexander in West Statesville, at the yard and wye by Meachem Road. First sighted the No.9 as it was shoving 6 boxcars around the wye and down the grade toward the warehouses.

    wells2 After dropping all six cars within the warehouse (and out of sight), it returned to the yard, quickly picked up 2 covered hoppers plus a boxcar, and sped west.

    wells3 A few miles west of town, the crew backed down the long spur at Deer Ridge Rd to switch Pratt Industries and Providencia. Then they headed west, stopping to pick up the bulkhead/waffle-center flat car at Foothills Drive (no pics – got ahead and missed it). Then they sped west again through the communities of Stony Point and Hiddenite.

    wells4 No other stops until they reached the Alexander Industrial Park, in Midway (a few miles east of Taylorsville). There was a small yard here and several industries. They switched one industry then ran around their train, put together a 10-car train, and left it in the yard (for the next day’s run?). Then the engine ran light all the way to Taylorsville. And, just as you recorded in 1999, they drove the No.9 into the engine house and rolled down the door.

    wells5 Bonus: I found that GE switcher at Bartlett Milling in Statesville along the NS. There was a small stub-end switching yard there, which appeared to be dedicated to Bartlett.

    all photos Alexander County, NC / Oct 2012 / Ben Wells

    Alexander Industrial Park

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    Alexander Railroad Company President and General Manager Benjamin Zachary said the shell building is the next logical step for industrial growth in the county. "The Alexander Railroad Company Board of Directors took this step with the primary intent of creating new jobs and new rail traffic in the county," Zachary said. "It's our intent to continue to be a strong economic partner in Alexander County."

    President and General Manager Benjamin Zachary

    Click to see the Alexander Industrial Park area plotted on a Google Maps page
    Read more about the Alexander Railroad's Taylorsville Industrial Park

    Taylorsville locomotive shop

    Click to see the ARC locomotive shop area plotted on a Google Maps page

    tag_lagnLagniappe

    Taylorsville Run-around

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    If I was going to model a prototypical shortline railroad, perhaps on a shelf around the basement, I am certain I would set out to recreate the Alexander.

    At 18 miles, it is the perfect length, and it possesses all the key elements: interchange, warehouse switching, long stretches for running, and a small shop. Perhaps this will be my retirement project! The ARC is a classy little southeastern pike, with an SW8 that always looks clean and bright in person and in nearly every picture of it I've ever seen. My father and I had a blast chasing #8 all the way up the line from Statesville to the end, taking ample pictures along the way. The crew seemed amused by our presence at every grade crossing in Alexander County ... although I feel certain we were not the first, nor the last railfans to chase the SW8. At Taylorsville, we were treated to two shortline features:

    First, in order to get #8 on the correct end of its train for the trip back to Statesville the next day, the crew performed a run-around move using gravity. First, #8 was uncoupled from its northbound movement and pulled into the siding (1, below). Then the small train was allowed to roll downhill past the switch (2), after which the locomotive was brought back out from the siding and reconnected to the train (3). Brilliant! The second treat was watching the crew drive #8 right into the shops and lowering the roll-up door (Locations, above), like someone returning their car to the garage after a day's work! Drive in, shut down, go home!

    This is shortline running at its best. Long live the Junebug.

    all photos above Taylorsville, NC / 1999 / RWH

    Links / Sources

    This page was updated on 2017-08-01