This page tries to answer the questions why I
created this site and why this railway.
Why the A&Y?
Some people will wonder why I bother trying to learn about an obscure
short line in North Carolina that ceased to exist a half century ago. Sometimes I
wonder too. I grew up in Maryland, not North Carolina, and I lived in northern New
England when I started this research and web site. I was not born until thirteen years after the A&Y ceased
to exist. None of my family were long term railroad employees, much less
My interest in model trains stemmed
from my maternal grandfather. He entered the draft during World War I, but
when his number came up the draft board learned that he was married with a
child. So they sent him to apprentice with the Pennsylvania Railroad as
part of the USRA instead of to boot camp. The war ended before he was on
"active duty" for the USRA. He returned to work at Kann's
Department Store in Washington, DC, where he later headed the shipping
department. His experience may have inspired him to become a member of the
model railroad club located in the Southern Railway's Potomac Yard. I
never visited the club there with him. It was the train under his tree and
the gift of an HO scale Southern PS-4 that made me a model train fan. That
one model locomotive led to my interest in the Southern and eventually my
membership in the Southern
Railway Historical Association.
So the only answer I have is this: I am a
scale modeler and rail fan who became interested in the history of a short
line owned by a railroad company associated with a childhood gift. Think
about a world you could be opening up by giving a child an interesting
curious about what short line railroading was like in the past. The A&Y has
been the subject of much historical interest to date outside of me and the
people who live in the region it served. And I just like the obscure
- the most ordinary and most overlooked - the underdog. Having gotten to know
the families in the region that was served by the A&Y and reading
about the people who worked for this railway, I know my interest is
worthwhile. I hope your interest is piqued and you all join me in learning
more about the people, places, and equipment that comprised the A&Y.
Why a website?
I decided long ago that a website gives everyone a chance to see what
I have found. You do not have to pay directly to access this website in the same way
you would have to pay to read a book I might publish. With net neutrality gone,
I'm not sure that is still true, but let's hope. I always hoped that the people who might
never have heard of this railway and who would never buy a railroad history book might
become interested like I did. One day, I might decide to write a book. For now,
this site and a related email list shares what I've found.