Dewi's Trains,
Trams & Trolleys

Around America by train:
New York to Southern Pines, NC

[Previous segment]  [Around America Page]  [Next segment

We stayed at the New Yorker hotel, once a hostel for missionaries; small rooms, but a great location - almost kitty-corner to Penn Station. The next morning, we couldn't find a corner store for provisions, but we did purchase a big container of cut-up fruit in the station concourse while we waited, with pleasant Baroque music playing. Before boarding we were given seat numbers "on the left", which I took to mean on the left of the car. Not so: we should have turned left on boarding, so we were in the wrong car.

The train rumbled off to New Jersey and after a few stops got to Philadelphia and changed from an electric loco to a diesel. Off again to Baltimore and Washington, where there was another smoke stop. Other trains shared the tracks. There was a "whoosh" as the 150mph Acela Express shot by, and in Baltimore there were MARC suburban trains - double-deck with a locomotive at each end of some trains. I noticed that the track was constructed in a more European fashion, the rails being held down by spring clips rather than being spiked directly into the wooden ties.

Click on thumbnail for larger picture.

  The Silver Star
image g004071
After Washington it began to get dark, but there was one more thing to see. In Ashland, VA the tracks ran down the centre of the main street: partly in a median, but on some stretches embedded in the asphalt. Ashland must be one of the few places in the US where express passenger trains do this. (photo of Ashland taken on a later expedition)
Photo g004071 on 14/03/2004
image 1066_02
We were getting quite uneasy at about 11:35pm, wondering whether the train really would stop at Southern Pines, North Carolina. The main lights were out in the coach, and people were sleeping. But we need not have worried: the train did stop, and our friends were awaiting us. The track here is also in the centre of the street, but in a median, screened from the traffic by rows of flowering trees.
Photo 1066_02 on 27/04/2002
image DSCF1136
Our friends took us to look for the railway museum at Hamlet, NC. We found it was located in the former railway station, and it was closed while the station was moved to another site. And what a station! It was situated where two railway's tracks cross at right angles, and the station had platforms on each of those tracks.
Photo DSCF1136 on 24/03/2002
image DSCF1138
There used to be a pedestrian underpass to reach other platforms. I presume that there used to be more tracks, and that trains used to be much more frequent.
Photo DSCF1138 on 24/03/2002
image DSCF1146
The next day we went to Aberdeen, where the old station is now an office. On applying at the front desk, one may go through to the back rooms and see the interior and its contents.
Photo DSCF1146 on 26/03/2002
image DSCF1143
In the back room, an auto used as a track inspection car of the Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad.
Photo DSCF1143 on 26/03/2002
image DSCF1144
Another view of the track car.
Photo DSCF1144 on 26/03/2002
image DSCF1139
There is also an exterior "museum" track. I find it incredible that diesels such as this one are now museum pieces.
Photo DSCF1139 on 24/03/2002
image DSCF1145
Outside again, we saw what had been the large office building of the A & R Railroad, a short connecting line. "I wonder what it's used for now" said I, and we investigated. We met a very pleasant gentleman who revealed that the line, founded by the Blue family, is still running and is still controlled by the family, and that the building is still the RR's head office. He presented us with a book written in 1992 for the line's centenary.
Photo DSCF1145 on 26/03/2002
image DSCF1150
Southern Pines, where we alighted, is close to Pinehurst. One town seems dedicated to riding and fox-hunting: the other, to golf. Our friends showed us many things in the local area, as well as railway subjects. One point of interest was the local community college. In front of it is this sculpture of children dancing in a ring. The ring is broken at one point: the children seem to invite you to join them.
Photo DSCF1150 on 26/03/2002

[Around America Page]  [Trains Page]  [Home]  [About]
This page last updated on 18/04/2006 8:22:54.