New Hope Valley Railway
The New Hope Valley Railway is a heritage railroad in Bonsal, North Carolina operated by the North Carolina Railway Museum, Inc., an all-volunteer, nonprofit, and tax exempt educational and historical organization.
The railroad operates passenger excursion trains on the first Sunday of each month from May to November and both Saturday and Sunday during the first two weekends in December. Special trains are operated for Halloween on the evening of the last Saturday in October and another special Santa Train during the Christmas season. They have many other themed train excursions throughout the year.
The New Hope Valley Railway has many different special activities that people can participate in. One of them is their Operate-a-Loco program. On select Saturdays and Sundays, anybody who wishes to (must be over age 18 and have a valid drivers license) may come and drive one of their diesel or steam locomotives. You are guided along their 4 miles of track (8 mile round trip) under the supervision of one of their trained engineers. All equipment and other items are provided by the railway.
The North Carolina Railway Museum also displays a collection of historic railroad equipment used in North Carolina at the railroad's Bonsal terminal. This is a primarily outdoor exhibit, and is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends only throughout the year.
- 5 - General Electric diesel locomotives, obtained from the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps
- 1 - Whitcomb diesel locomotive
- 1 - Baldwin-Lima-Hamilton diesel locomotive
- 1 - A 0-4-0T steam locomotive built by Vulcan Iron Works in 1941 for New York Shipbuilding of Camden, New Jersey, and is in operation on most excursion trains.
- 1 - A 2-6-2 Prairie Type Steam locomotive built by Vulcan Iron Works in 1927 for the McRae Lumber & Manufacturing Company. Sold to the Cliffside Railroad in 1933 and renumbered 110, and was the last steam locomotive to operate on the road before it dieselized in 1962. The 110 was eventually sold to the Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad, a tourist railroad that operates around the perimeter of Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The 110 operated here until 1982, when it encountered running gear issues. The railroad's owner, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, then placed it on display. The Stone Mountain Memorial Association donated the engine to the New Hope Valley Railway in Bonsal, North Carolina in 2012, and the engine was moved to the railway in early February 2013. The New Hope Valley intends to restore the engine to operating condition, which is anticipated to take five to seven years at an estimated cost of $600,000 based on an initial survey of the engine performed in 2012. A full survey of the 110 will be performed by the New Hope Valley Railway in 2013 to ascertain final restoration costs.
- Seaboard Air Line Railroad #5228: Wooden Caboose
- Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad #308: Wooden Caboose
- Norfolk Southern Railroad #335: Wooden Caboose built in 1913 for the original NS. (Last surviving Norfolk Southern wooden caboose)
- Norfolk Southern Railroad #711 Crane boom tender and camp car
- Southern Railway Combine baggage car and Railway Post Office #188
- Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Baggage Car #1665 (not currently on public display)
- US Marine Corps flatcars converted to open excursion cars for passengers (3)
- US Marine Corps flatcars (2)
- Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad cushion-underframe boxcar (not currently on public display)
- US Army Transportation Corps Tool Car #87109 (houses museum gift shop and exhibits)
- Swifts Premium Refrigerator car (Reefer)
- Southern Railway boxcars (2)
- Pullman Company passenger sleeper Calley (not currently on public display)
- Norfolk Southern Railroad #910 camp car (not currently on public display)
- Boston & Maine Railroad RDC1 self-propelled passenger car (on loan to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Tennessee)
- Boston & Maine Railroad RDC9 trailer passenger car (on lease to the Red Springs & Northern Foundation in Parkton, North Carolina) ***Note: It was last reported from RS&N contacts that this car was moved back to Bonsal on April 17th, 2014. The car was verified visually at Bonsal now.
- Various other examples of railroad and construction equipment
The railroad line operated as the New Hope Valley Railway was originally constructed as the Durham & South Carolina Railroad (D&SC) in 1905-1906 to tap the timber resources of the valley of New Hope Creek, and served the communities of Bonsal, North Carolina where it had a junction with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (now part of CSX), Beaver Creek, North Carolina, Seaforth, North Carolina, Farrington, North Carolina, Blands, North Carolina, Penny, North Carolina, and Durham, North Carolina.
The line was extended south between 1911 and 1913 from Bonsal, North Carolina to Duncan, North Carolina where it joined the Norfolk Southern Railroad. The D&SC line was leased by the Norfolk Southern Railroad in 1917 to provide the larger railroad with access to the City of Durham, North Carolina. In 1925 a spur was built at Durham, North Carolina to serve the new plant of the American Tobacco Company in that city. The line was rebuilt on a new alignment in the 1970s by the US Army Corps of Engineers when the B. Everett Jordan Dam was constructed, impounding the valley of New Hope Creek to form Jordan Lake. The line eventually became (briefly) part of the Southern Railway, and a 6-mile section was sold to the East Carolina Chapter, NRHS in 1983. This organization was subsequently renamed the North Carolina Railway Museum, Inc. early in 2008.
The northern portion of the original railroad, from the community of New Hill, North Carolina north to Durham, North Carolina has been converted into the American Tobacco Trail. To the south, the railroad is part of the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant and its surrounding land.
- New Hope Valley Railway
- Steam Locomotive 17
- National Railway Historical Society
- Association of Railway Museums
- Capehart, Al, The American Tobacco Trail, retrieved 2007-11-06