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Atlantic & Yadkin Railway

History &


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 diehard railroaders.  

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 gift!

Anyway, I'm curious about what short line railroading was like in the past.  The A&Y has still not 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.



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 Saturday, December 16, 2017