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 Bonlee incorporated in 1913, but repealed the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.
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.
A Southern Railway Shippers Guide from 1916 showed five industries at
Bonlee using the A&Y for delivering and
receiving products by rail.
||Dunlap, Waddell Co.
||O. R. Glosson
||W. A. Wood, Bennett, NC
||oak and pine
||Jno. H. Dunlap & Sons
oak and pine
W. C. Brewer (P.O.
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).
is the NS MoW gon being loaded at the tie plant in Bonlee.
|| 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
|| This is a shot panning just a bit right of the photo above showing
more of the mill and it's silos.
||Panning further right, you can see the
grain hoppers in front of more grain/feed storage bins.
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.
|| 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.
|| 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!