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Atlantic & Yadkin Railway

History &


Bonlee (Milepost CF 110.7)


Bonlee is a small community in southwest Chatham County.  Bonlee was established in 1894 and was first known as Dunlap's Mill.  In 1898 it was renamed Causey for Joshua Causey, a local resident. In 1910, the community was renamed Bonlee, supposedly for a brand of cloth!  Bonlee incorporated in 1913, but repealed the charter in 1936.

Track Diagram

An image from the ICC valuation maps gives a fair idea of how the track and depot were laid out. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger detailed image.

bw_v27-29_cf110_bonlee.jpg (105399 bytes)



A Southern Railway Shippers Guide from 1916 showed five industries at Bonlee using the A&Y for delivering and receiving products by rail.


Goods Shipped

Company Name

cotton gin cotton Dunlap, Waddell Co.
livestock cattle, sheep O. R. Glosson
planing mill miscellaneous W. A. Wood, Bennett, NC
sawmill oak and pine Jno. H. Dunlap & Sons


oak and pine

W. C. Brewer (P.O. Bennet, NC)

Today there are feed mills and a tie plant served by the new Norfolk Southern on this former A&Y trackage.  


Odds and Ends

 If you know anything about this town or the businesses and industries that might have used the railroad for shipping or receiving products, please let me know.Below are some photos and information I have collected about Bonlee while Mr. Gareth McDonald was showing me around the line.

The tie plant at Bonlee was (is) the largest one supporting the Southern (Norfolk Southern) Railway. Unfortunately, the plant is vast and secluded.  I was fortunate to get one shot of a MoW gondola being loaded in the plant. Mr. Gareth McDonald was showing me around when we saw the "usual" grain train idling near the tie plant.  We watched for a few minutes, but Mr. McDonald said we could wait several hours before it moved.  So we drove over to the tie plant and snapped a photo of a gondola.  Mr. McDonald thought I would be interested in checking out the feed mill along the road somewhat north of the tie plant.  So we drove up there and found a second grain train on the line.  This one was not only unusual for occupying this relatively unbusy line along with another train, but the 3 locomotives powering this train were a strange mix at the time to find in North Carolina!  See what I mean in the photos below (click on thumbnails to see full 800x600 images).

Bonlee_tieplant_NS_998253_MoW_gon Left: This is the NS MoW gon being loaded at the tie plant in Bonlee.
Bonlee_feedmill The feed mill is just north of the tie plant.  Here's one of the storage buildings.  You can just see the storage silos to the right in this big mill.
Bonlee_feedmill This is a shot panning just a bit right of the photo above showing more of the mill and it's silos.
Bonlee_feedmill_hoppers Panning further right, you can see the grain hoppers in front of more grain/feed storage bins.
Bonlee_feedmill_3_unit_power here's that 3 unit set that seemed rather unique to NC! The HLCX 6504 is owned by a leasing company.  The EMD 9092 is also a leased locomotive. BN 7932 is a Burlington Northern unit.  Perhaps it's extra power being leased by parent BNSF or maybe it's run through power.  Who knows these days.
Bonlee_feedmill_grain_truck The feed mill must distribute its product by truck as there is a large loading dock and there were quite a few of these trucks rumbling in and out.
Bonlee_feedmill_old_structure This old building was probably the only structure in this set of photos that was likely to have been around in the A&Y days.  I don't know what this was, but it seemed like a good photo while I waited for that mongrel trio of locomotives to pass by for closeup shots while switching!



This website is copyrighted 1998-2016 by David M. Bott.  Images appearing on this website may be protected by U.S. Copyright Law, donor restrictions, and other rights or policies. The Railroad Roman font used in the title was bought from Ben Coifman. Persons who contemplate copying and using font or images should obtain all necessary permissions pertaining to use. Authorization to use images credited to the North Carolina Collection, University of N.C. Library at Chapel Hill should be sought from the Collection at CB#3934, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-8890. Telephone 919-962-7992. Images credited to the North Carolina State Library Photo Archives are considered in the public domain.  Images credited to others or unknown are subject to copyright restrictions and permission for use should be obtained.

This page  last edited Monday, October 10, 2016