When Wilmington investors were spurned by Raleigh businesses, the Wilmington group changed the route of the approved Wilmington & Raleigh line to go to Weldon and connect with a Virginia railroad. In 1835, Raleigh railroad supporters received a charter from the General Assembly for the
Map of Railroad
History & Officers
& Gaston railroad, to make a similar connection
with the same Virginia railroad. Begun in 1836 and completed in 1840, the Raleigh &
Gaston 86-mile track was the North Carolina standard of 4 feet, 8 1/2 inches — standard with the Wilmington & Weldon and the
connecting Petersburg railroads. This measure
eventually became the American standard for all railroads, but at the time
North Carolina stood apart from the common 5 foot tracks in Virginia,
South Carolina and many other Southern railroads.
During construction, the railroad track was leased to the Petersburg Railroad, which provided rolling stock and operated the road until construction was completed. Completion of the road provided rail connection between Richmond and Raleigh (over 3 railroads).
The railroad faced financial and track difficulties. The line was sold under a foreclosure in 1845. At the sale, North Carolina Governor William A. Graham had the state buy the entire property and franchises. The railroad was then run by the state, until reorganized in 1851and 1852. The state retained majority stockownership.
The railroad's original strap-iron rails (1836 - 1840) were replaced with T-rails in 1852.
Those officers listed below indicate confirmed dates of service. Where there are gaps in the record, this may be filled in later as more research is conducted.
Officers & Board
* also held combined Secretary-Treasurer positions
Annual Report (online)