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The Cape Fear & Northern Railroad was chartered in 1892 by Holly Springs resident Mr. George Benton Alford (note that he was given the title "Colonel" as an honorary title for his service in the Confederate army) from the State Legislature. Unfortunately due to "hard times", construction could not be completed and the charter was extended in 1893, 1895 and 1896.
Link to Cape Fear & Northern #103, a 4-4-0 steam engine in Apex, 1903 on the Durham County Library Photo Archives:

Soon after, some sort of deal was reached between Alford and businessmen of Durham. Mr. Alford was inducted as first president of the road. Then Mr. B. N. Duke was elected president and John C. Angier as General Manager. The first shovelful of dirt was thrown by Miss Mattie V. Alford in Holly Springs on July 27th, 1898 according to this text:

"On account of the hard times which followed immediately afterwards, the work of construction could not be undertaken, and the charter was extended from time to time by each succeeding Legislature, by Mr. Alford's request, until the year 1898, when Mr. B. N. Duke and other capitalists of Durham were interested, through Mr. John C. Angier, and work was begun, the first shovelful of dirt being thrown by Miss Mattie V. Alford, at Holly Springs, on the 27th day of July, 1898. Mr. G. B. Alford was induced to accept the first presidency of the road ; afterwards B. N. Duke was elected president, and J. C. Angier manager."1

Construction continued until the complete line was finished from Durham to Dunn in the summer of 1903. Along the line, the towns of Angier (1901) and Coats (1905) were incorporated at this time. In 1906, the name was changed to the Durham and Southern Railway.

From D&S 1958 Annual Report (link to cover)
"Durham and Southern Railway was organized January 13, 1904, chartered under the laws of North Carolina on March 10, 1905, and by June 3, 1906 it had been built and put into operation...The general officers were moved from Durham to Charlotte, NC, in 1931 and combined with those of the Piedmont and Northern Railroad. These offices stayed in Charlotte until they were moved to Durham in August, 1954. In November, 1952, the Nello L. Teer Company and the First Securities Corporation, both of Durham, secured controlling interest in the D&S and it was from this purchase that the above transfer was made back to Durham."

The Duke interests were looking to diversify their holdings and so on August 16, 1902, the first stake was driven into the ground to layout the site for the Erwin Cotton Mills Company. At first, the town was named Duke in honor of the Duke family of Durham, but later was changed to Erwin in honor of William A. "Bill" Erwin, the supervisor of construction operations and who became mill manager after it was opened in 1904. A new type of cloth was made in 1906 and eventually Erwin became known as "The Denim Capital of the World."

The line operated until November 1981, when it was acquired by Seaboard Coast Line, later CSX. In December 1987, CSX sold the Dunn-Erwin segment to the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad. The A&R chartered the Dunn-Erwin Railway and started service on December 17th that same year. On January 1st, 1990, it was merged into the Aberdeen & Rockfish. In 2000, the Erwin mill closed and the Dunn-Erwin line was abandoned. The old right-of-way was later turned into a rail-trail (see below).

While it operated as the Dunn-Erwin Railway, they used DER #5072, a EMD NW2 switcher. Builder No. 10373, built in June 1949 as Chesapeake & Ohio 5072, Class SE-10. Reclassified as NW-2 in 1964 and sold to Dunn-Erwin in December 1987. Was later sold as Reagent Chemical & Research Inc.

The segment between Dunn and Erwin has now been converted into a 5.3 mile rail-trail.

1. Historical Raleigh: With Sketches of Wake County and its Important Towns by Moses Amis, 1913, page 246
E-Book here:
Harnett County: A History by John Hairr, 2002
American Shortline Railway Guide by Edward A. Lewis, 1996

Excerpt from Richard Prince's book, Norfolk Southern Railroad Old Dominion Line and Connections:

Durham & Southern Ry operates 59 miles of track extending southward from Durham to Dunn, NC, where it connects with the old ACL RR. An important junction with the Seaboard is at Apex. The road was built by the B.N. Duke tobacco interests as the Cape Fear & Northern Ry that was completed in 1904 as the D&S Ry. The 100 series locomotives included 4-4-0 and also at least five Tenwheelers new from Baldwin, Nos. 200 to 202 were Baldwin 2-10-0 built in 1930 and 1932 for the road. Later N&W Ry No. 1140 4-8-0 and AT&N 403 2-10-0 were acquired without renumbering.

A brief history from the Angier Chamber of Commerce website:

"It was Jake Williams' farm that the railroad, which put Angier on the map, was built in 1899. The railroad was little more than a tramway leading from Apex, in Wake County, to the Jake Williams' farm in Harnett County. It was first known and chartered as the Cape Fear and Northern Railroad; later, about 1906, the line was extended to Durham and the name changed to the Durham and Southern.

The purpose of the railroad was to haul lumber and logs. The area around Angier had a vast sweep of fine saw timber, from short and long straw pines. The trees had been bled by the turpentine workers, leaving long stems of southern pine ready to be cut and sawed into lumber. When the turpentine business came to an end, workers and their families moved south to find un-bled timber; and a new era began. A new way of making a living and supporting a family began-saw milling. No longer was the ox cart and mule-drawn wagon efficient to move lumber and logs. Now the building of the railroad was hailed as a step forward. Farming was becoming more important; growing cotton and tobacco took the place of sawmill work as that era came to a close.

The late Col. Johnathan Cicero Angier married the niece of the late Washington Duke whose "golden leaf' had found its way north after the war. The demand for more tobacco is said to have been the impetus for Mr. Duke and his sons to establish the American Tobacco Company.

Col. Angier owned and operated a lumber plant in Cary and decided to build a railroad down along the pine ridge from Apex to Harnett County. Supposedly with the backing of the Dukes, he built a railroad to the farm of Jake Williams where a "Y" was also built for turning the engine around. In time, a station house was erected for the train crew to stay at night and daily round trips were made to Apex.

Jake and his son Benton operated a general store and a turpentine distillery. Goods were transported to and from Raleigh or Dunn by two or four-horse wagons. The coming of the railroad was a boon to farmers, merchants and lumbermen.

After much discussion and numerous suggestions, the station house was named Angier to honor Johnathan C. Angier who played a major part in bringing the railroad to the area.

In July 1899, Jake Williams secured a noted surveyor, Daniel E. Green, to map and plot the land surrounding his home and the newly erected depot. Streets were laid off and named and Angier had its beginnings. By act of the North Carolina Legislature of 1901 the town received its charter.

During the 1930's, The Angier Woman's Club undertook a project to have crepe myrtles planted on roadsides leading into town from all directions. The trees make a spectacular show during June, July and August. The town chose "The Town of the Crepe Myrtles" as its slogan. Every year a Crepe Myrtle Festival is held in September with food, crafts and entertainment for all.

The Durham and Southern railroad which had run through the center of town since 1899, had its last run from Apex to Dunn on July 5, 1979. No longer was the railroad the cheapest way to transport goods to and from the industries of Angier and was no longer realizing a profit. Mayor Jack Marley and other town officials requested that railroad officials donate to the town the depot and the one hundred foot right of way within town limits. That was done and so ended another era."


I've created a new Yahoo Group here:

Interesting posts from,1399393

I've also collected a few posts from the Southeastern Model Railroaders Forum (SMRF) mailing list and others:

Bob Graham - Nov. 24, 1999

Warren Calloway - Nov. 24, 1999

Mike Schwarze - Mar. 7, 2000

Bob Graham - Mar. 8, 2000

Russell Underwood - Mar. 8, 2000

Warren Calloway - Mar. 9, 2000

Durham & Southern Railroad and Amtrak - Dec. 2001

Durham and Southern Passenger Service?


Magazine articles that talk about the Durham & Southern:

Magazine Name Issue Year Title Subtitle
Diesel Era July/August 1990 Durham & Southern, cover, full article, p.5, Warren L. Calloway Durham and Southern RR
Lines South 4th Qtr. 1998 When Tiny D & S Hosted the Mighty Silver Star written by Arthur Waldrop and Ted Shrady
The Railroad Press Jul/Aug/Sept. 2001 Burbling Baldwins & a Bicentennial, #50 Remembering the D&S -- Big-time railroading on a small scale. DWD
Railfan & Railroad Apr-95 1995 Remembering the Durham & Southern Memories of the 59-mile short line from Durham to Dunn, N.C. before its merger into Seaboard Coast Line... features maps, rosters, and plenty of color and B&W photos of EMD and Baldwin diesels  (John F. Sullivan)
Railfan & Railroad May-95 1995 The Railroads of Durham. Tony Reevy  
Rail Classics ? ? The Durham & Southern: It may be a shortline but it's first class all the way. Ernest H. Robl
Railroad Modeler October 1974 p. 46-56, many photos, Ernest H. Robl
Railroad Modeler September 1975 Know your diesel: The EMD GP38, p.28
Mainline Modeler October 1990 Durham & Southern Painting Guide - the GP38-2, p.30
THE SHORT LINE Nov/Dec. Vol.6, #6 1978 The "Bull Durham" Road by GM McDonald -2 pages
THE SHORT LINE Nov/Dec. Vol.6, #6 1978 Durham & Southern Locomotives by Mac Connery- 3 1/2 pages
THE SHORT LINE Nov/Dec. Vol.6, #6 1978 Four Days of D&S Steam by William F. Gale - 2 1/2 pages
Trackside Vol. 1, #4 1990 Wiley M. Bryan photo on page 32.
Trackside Vol. 2, #1 1990 Wiley M. Bryan photo on page 13.


Please note that there is a book is currently being written about the Durham & Southern by Cary Poole.

Softcover, 127 pages, Arcadia Publishing, by Sherry Monahan
Baldwin Diesels, Vol. 2
Former Railfan & RR Magazine editor Jim Boyd continues his thorough examination of railroads A to G and the Baldwins they owned. Many rare photos and much new information. Page 104 & 105 on the D&S
Cabins, Crummies & Hacks Vol: 2 The South
Softcover, 82 pages. H&M Productions, page 69, D&S Cabooses
Classic Diesels of the South - A Railfan's Odyessy
Hardcover, 118 pages, TLC Publishing, by J. Parker Lamb
Fuquay-Varina, A History Of
Softcover, 258 pages, Apex Printing Company, by Shirley Hayes & Shirley Simmons
Holly Springs
Softcover, 127 pages, Arcadia Publishing, by Barbara Koblich
Locomotives of the Seaboard System Railroad of the South
D. Carleton Railbooks, Pages 118 - 119, by Paul Carleton
Norfolk Southern
Old Dominion Line and Connections by Richard E. Prince, D&S Steam engines
The Original Norfolk Southern Railway 1883-1974
By Robert C. Reisweber and Dalton P. "Billy" McDonald, Garrigues House Publishers
Pluck, Perseverance, and Paint - Apex, North Carolina: Beginnings to 1941
Hardcover, 340 pages, Halcyon Press Ltd., by Warren L. Holleman and C.P. "Toby" Holleman, Jr. Blueprint of Apex Depot on page 167.
Railroads of North Carolina
Arcadia Publishing, by Alan Coleman
Realistic Model Railroad Building Blocks
An introduction to Layout Design Elements by Tony Koester. Page 81, bridge in Apex. Published by Kalmbach Books.
Realistic Model Railroad Design
Your step-by-step guide to creating a unique operating layout by Tony Koester. Page 37, Baldwin engines in Durham?. Published by Kalmbach Books
Realistic Model Railroad Operation
How to run your trains like the real thing by Tony Koester. Page 48, crew unloads lumber from boxcar at D&S Varina depot. Published by Kalmbach Books
Vintage Diesel Locomotives
MBI Publishing, by Mike Schafer


Run trackside with the Durham & Southern as they follow a freight from Apex, NC to Fuquay-Varina.
Railfanning in the 70's
This contains the Doc Blackburn 16 mm movies of D&S
steam (in color). Scenes include pacing 2-10-0s along NC 55 between Apex and Holly Springs and switching in Fuquay-Varina. The D&S portion is short, but the entire video is excellant. Highly recommended.
006 Reflections of American Railroading


Durham & Southern
Collection of Durham & Southern Rwy photo by Warren Calloway



Updated: October 7, 2014