Railroads of North Carolina

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Railroads were very important in North Carolina’s economic development, since the state has few navigable rivers. In addition to any logical explanations of their importance, there is something fascinating about trains. Maybe it’s the dream of travel to far-away places or a feeling of nostalgia. Maybe it’s the memory of playing with train sets when we were children. Anyway, if you share this interest in trains, take a look at these books.

Davis, Burke. The Southern Railway; Road of the Innovators.
Davis is a well-known historian. His history, told in anecdotal form, includes the results of interviews with three of the railroad’s presidents.

Ferrell, Mallory Hope. Tweetsie Country; the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad.
If you’ve ever taken a ride on Tweetsie Railroad, you’ll want to take a look at this lavishly illustrated book!

Gilbert, John, comp. & ed. Crossties through Carolina; The Story of North Carolina’s Early Day Railroads.
This is a collection of illustrations accompanied by brief text and captions.

Harshaw, Lou.Trains, Trestles & Tunnels: Railroads of the Southern Appalachians.
There are lots of black and white photographs in this book.

Scheer, Julian, and Elizabeth McD. Black. Tweetsie, the Blue Ridge Stemwinder.
This book, illustrated with drawings and photographs, and including statements by people who have known and loved Tweetsie, brings us the feelings that this train has evoked throughout its history. It’s good for railroad buffs of all ages.

Trelease, Allen W. North Carolina Railroad, 1849-1871, and the Modernization of North Carolina.
The North Carolina Railroad, running from Goldsboro to Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte, played an important role in transforming North Carolina’s economy and in bringing about Greensboro’s growth. Trelease, who was a UNCG history professor, based his book on thorough research in primary and secondary records and includes illustrations.

Ward, Ralph. Southern Railway Varnish, 1964-1979; an All-color Pictorial.
This well-illustrated book tells the story of the Southern Railway in its last years before it joined Amtrak.