Williamston, NC

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Does anyone have or know of anyone who may have a photo of the Williamston, NC depot? If so, could youe maybe scan a photo and forward it; I would be most appreciative. If I am not mistaken, this depot actually sat off the "main track" a half mile or so on a railroad owned spur within the town. Is that correct? I suppose if the agent in days past and in the train order days had to hand up anything, the agent had to drive to the main.

Thanks for any assistance. Raymond Smith

-- Raymond Smith (wwf_shirley@hotmail.com), February 12, 2001


Thanks Bob, I'll check it out. rs

-- Raymond Smith (aclrr7@hotmail.com), September 23, 2001.

Raymond, there's currently a black & white photo postcard of the Williamston NC depot for sale on EBAY. It's listed under "SCL" items. No one's bid on it yet, and you can preview it before bidding. Good luck.

-- Bob Venditti (bobvend@bellsouth.net), September 22, 2001.

That track that eveyone is refering to today on CSX is called the River Lead.F738(the wood train)regularly spots cars in there and can also quite possibly be the last place on the CSX system where the switch machine is in the middle of the track!And we still use it!It goes to show that not all parts of the old coast line died after all!!!

-- V.L.Lewis (angielewis@hotmail.com), March 10, 2001.

An interesting question. I had to refer to the rule book to determine that the time shown for Nos. 516/517 (a.k.a. "The Paper Trains") applied at the 90-car Williamston passing siding, not the depot. Williamston's agent-operator no doubt was required to travel to the main line to deliver any train orders (probably without the benefit of a train order signal) or work messages. In SCL's last timetable, it was noted that time of trains at Williamston applied at Poe siding.

Williamston was not the only town in Tar Heelia where the operator was not located at the main track. The NS's operator at Elizabeth City was located on the Old Main Line and was required to travel across town to deliver orders and retrieve waybills.

-- Harry Bundy (Y6B@aol.com), February 15, 2001.

Speaking of Williamston NC, on February 24, 1950, at approximately 6:09 pm, the boiler of ACL locomotive 441 exploded on the local freight run known as the Williamston turn. The train left S. Rocky Mount NC at 9:30 am, went the 43 miles to Williamston, serviced the area, and departed Williamston at 3:50 pm going south to So. Rocky Mount. The train departed Tarboro at 5:57 pm and at approximately 6:09 pm, 33 miles south of Williamston, 2 miles south of Tarboro, the boiler of the locomotive exploded killing the engineer, fireman and brakeman. The train was running at an estimated speed of 20 miles per hour, 28 cars plus a caboose, 984 tons.

The ICC determined that the cause of the explosion was due to low water which resulted in overheating the crown sheet. Contributing to the accident was the fact that the water glass valves were shut,thus not permitting the crew to see that the water was indeed low. These valves were left open by the shop forces who had just changed the water glass that day, but no one could state why the valves were closed. Shop personnel swore they left the valves open, and blew down the glass before the locomotive left So. Rocky Mount.

The locomotive was scrapped.

I have copies of the accident report prepared by the ICC. Lemme know if anyone outthere wants a copy.

-- Michael W. Savchak (Savchak @MNR.org), February 14, 2001.

The study site for my masters thesis was located immediately to the east of Williamston NC. You are correct about the depot being located on a spur that ran through "downtown" Williamston. If my memory is correct, the spur originally terminated at a fertilizer plant located on the eastside of town on the Roanoke River. I used to have a brochure that summarized the history of the town and surrounding community. In that brochure was a photo of the Williamston depot. You might write the town and see if there are any copies still available. You might also check with one of the dealers that sells depot photo postcards. I think there was a photo of the Williamston depot on one of the lists. Hope this helps.

-- Buddy Hill (palmettoLTD@hotmail.com), February 12, 2001.

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