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Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad Company

The Road of Personal Service

1988 Official Guide listing

These days the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad Company operates a series of shortline railroads in central North Carolina and South Carolina, including the Pee Dee River Railway and the Dunn-Erwin Railway. But the orginial AR is the Aberdeen to Fayetteville route -- 47 miles of shortline operation. Incorporated in 1892, the road operated local passenger service as late as 1951. Today the road hauls chemicals, coal, lumber, and paper.

The A&R has always been a classic southern shortline, sporting many instersting types of motive power over the years. They were one of the first southern short roads to dieselize, choosing as their first steam replacements some EMD cab units. A GP7 would come to the line in 1951 as #205 - a notable unit in that it is one of only a few non-rebuilt Geep in shortline service still owned and operated by its purchasing railroad.

In the south central part of North Carolina, the Aberdeen & Rockfish railroad has done something remarkable for over 100 years: It's trains have been fighting an uphill battle with the undulating profiles of the Sandhills country and winning freight traffic and profitability in the process. That alone is just cause for a Centennial Celebration for a 45-mile line that started as a logging road in the late 1800s, then recast itself into a mini-bridge route carrier and today serves as the healthy parent of a second profitable shortline. But what makes the A&R even more noteworthy is the kind of endearing features which inspired legendary rail author Lucius Beebe to devote five pages to the A&R in his classic 1947 short line tribute "Mixed Train Daily".

AR company website

HawkinsRails thanks railfan friends Ben Wells and Warren Calloway for use of their AR photographs

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