Maco N.C. What Line? : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

What line ran through Maco N.C.? Also, any pics. out there regarding this town's line. Any Maco light info.?

-- Jack F. Kirkland III (, March 01, 2000


Growing up in Burgaw NC in the late 60s, there was a similar phenomenon that was spotted on the line between Burgaw and Wallace, near Watha about halfway between the two. I went with some friends to see it one night -- we saw "something" that could have been anything from a reflection on a roadsign to aliens looking for venus flytraps. For some reason, the kids in Burgaw still referred to this as the "Maco Light." That line is also abandoned, but I've heard that either it may be reconnected, or that it may be turned into a bike path. I wonder if the phenomenon will reappear to late night bikers?

-- Stephen Charest (, February 19, 2001.

Have to mention the Earley's station light on the old ACL (NC-VA) between Aulander and Ahoskie, NC. A fellow who lived near the tracks once told me he and a friend used to fake a ghost light here, but I have seen a strange light appearing here since I was a teenager in the sixties. You could see it at all hours, any weather. Once scared some dates badly, who thought we were lying about the light and took them to see it. Dunno!

-- DL Humphrey (, March 03, 2000.

In Virginia near West Point a similiar light has been seen for many years. The story of this light also related to the death of a railroad worker. Another light legend is on a railroad line in the Dismal Swamp area of Virginia.

-- Randall Bass (, March 02, 2000.

The Maco light dates to the post Civil War era. Joe Baldwin was sent to flag his train after the caboose became uncoupled from his train. The following train did not see his lights or warnings, and Joe was decapitated in the accident. The light is supposedly Joe looking for his head in the surrounding swampland. The ACL imposed a two light rule to help distinquish real from mystical. One more than one occassion, Joe stopped a train thinking there was an emergency. During the 1950s, I believe, soldiers from Fort Bragg investigated the light and found no natural cause (some believed it was swamp gas glowing in the air). The tracks were abaondoned between Malmo and Whiteville in the 1970s, and Joe has not been seen since. I heard a story they found a skull about the same time in the swamps. Maybe it was his, and Joe's work was finished.

Tony Reevy has recently published a book on NC railroad ghost stories, including the Maco light. An ACL Northern Division timetable from the 1940s or 1950s should mention the dual light rule.

I lived in Wilmington for many years, and the Maco light was a well known and respected ghost story.

-- Larry K. Neal, Jr. (, March 02, 2000.

Jack, I don't think anybody ever figured out what the Maco light was. I know that in the first few years of the 1900's there was a lot of talk about the Maco light, and often trains stopped because of a "mysterious light that appeared on the rails". Naturally, the local legend was that the light was the ghost of an ACL trainman who was killed on duty at Maco. I don't know exactly when the mass of reports of the light occurred, but it weas definitely in the steam days and well before WW II. I do have an article about the light buried somewhere in my files, and I will try and dig it out for you soon. Is the track still there?

-- John Golden (, March 02, 2000.

Maco, N.C., was on the Atlantic Coast Line R.R.s line from Wilmington to Chadburn, N.C., about 15 miles west of Wilmington and about 4 1/2 miles east of Delco. In Delorme's North Carolina Atlas & Gazetter it is pg.83 at C-6. Across the track from Maco is Sandy Creek. Maco does not show up any ACL passenger timetables. My only reference is a 1935 copy of OPEN & PRE-PAY STATION LIST where Maco is shown as "No agent", meaning there was probably just a passing siding with that name or a freight team track, but no buildings. Someone else will have to answer the rest for you.

-- Tom Underwood (, March 01, 2000.

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