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acl_heraldWilmington Railroad Museum

For more than 125 years, railroading was Wilmington's chief industry. In 1840 the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad was completed and was the longest continuous rail line in the world at 161 miles long. Near the turn of the 20th century several railroads up and down the eastern seaboard, including the Wilmington & Weldon, merged to become the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The ACL company headquarters was located here in Wilmington. During its heyday the railroad contributed heavily to the area's commercial and industrial growth and provided jobs and revenue for the local economy. In 1960 the ACL moved its headquarters from Wilmington to Jacksonville, FL. It was the largest single move of employees ever staged by a southeastern industry. The railroad moved over 1,000 employees, their families, their belongings, and the company files and office equipment more than 450 miles by rail. Started in 1979 by three women and a table of ACL Railroad artifacts, the Wilmington Railroad Museum was dedicated to preserving the rich history of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the history of railroading in the southeastern United States.

Wilmington Railroad Museum


The Wilmington Railroad Museum was started in 1979 and today is located downtown in its namesake city in North Carolina, housed in an 1883 Atlantic Coast Line warehouse structure. The museum features artifacts and displays related to the coastal railroad history of the region, with emphasis on the Atlantic Coast Line. Three pieces of rolling stock -- a Baldwin steamer, a boxcar, and a caboose -- are on display outside the building.

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This page was updated on 2016-11-26