State University Railroad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
State University Railroad
Reporting mark SUR
Locale North Carolina
Dates of operation 1873–Present
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 10.2 miles (16.4 kilometres)

The State University Railroad is a 10.2 mile railroad spur of the North Carolina Railroad that began offering service from Glenn, North Carolina, near Hillsborough to a point west of Chapel Hill, North Carolina on January 1, 1882.[1]


The company was incorporated in February 1873 as the Chapel Hill Iron Mountain Railroad Company, but was not organized until after the name was changed to the State University Railroad in March 1879.[2] In order for the students at the University of North Carolina not be tempted from their studies, a state statute decreed that the end of the spur be located at least a mile from the school's campus.[3]

The first train, known as "The Whooper,[1]"[4] was a locomotive and two passenger cars that made the run from University Station to Chapel Hill Station twice daily. The trip from university station to Chapel Hill Station took an hour traveling southbound and 70 minutes northbound. The current town of Carrboro, then known as West End, started to grow as a result of the railroad. Elizabeth 'Libba' Cotten's famous song "Freight Train" was written when, as a young girl, she heard the train pass behind her house on Lloyd Street in Carrboro.[5]

The company still exists as a subsidiary of the Norfolk Southern Railway.[6] Passenger service ended in 1936.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cohen, Gerry (February 13, 2008). "Road to Iron Mountain: The railroad comes to Chapel Hill". Orange Politics(OP). Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ Harrison, Fairfax (1901). A History of the Legal Development of the Railroad System of Southern Railway Company. Washington D.C.: Transportation Library. p. 250. Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  3. ^ Brown, Claudia Roberts; McSwain, Burgess; Florin, John (1983). [ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 1, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help):10 Carrboro, N.C. An Architectural and Historical Inventory] Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Carrboro, N.C.: Carrboro Appearance Commission, Town of Carrboro. Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ Richart Ellington, "All Aboard the Carrsboro Whooper!", April 12, 2015,, retrieved 4/17/2005.
  5. ^ "Elizabeth Cotten's 'Freight Train' celebrated in Carrboro". Raleigh News and Observer. September 22, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Annual Report of Norfolk Southern Combined Railroad Subsidiaries to the Surface Transportation Board for the Year Ended December 31, 2007" (PDF). 2007. p. 13. 

External links[edit]