The Train

Train coming into Beaufort for June 8, 1907 grand celebration*
(Second block of Broad St. - Louis James Noe House 1902 - on the right)
Prior to train service to Beaufort, visitors who came by train were met at the railroad terminus in Morehead City and brought to town by boat. After the railroad bridge was built across the channel, tracks were laid down the middle of Broad Street - bringing the outside world to Beaufort. For a short period, before the Norfolk & Southern Railway wye (turnaround) was completed, the first trains had to back into Beaufort.
In those early years, as the train lumbered into town on Broad Street, passengers would have seen sundries shops – like Noe’s, Dave Williams’ Grocery, and Richard Rice’s Fabric Shop - that sold everything from penny candy to 5-cent pickles. Until the 1920s, when the first automobiles came to town, passengers were met at the Beaufort Depot, at Broad and Pollock, and transported by horse-and-buggy to inns or family cottages.

Neal Willis wrote, "The train came in about ten a.m. and turned around at the Wye, a lot behind the present fire station, and then went to Goldsboro and returned to Beaufort in the afternoon. It left around 3 p.m. for the return trip to Goldsboro.

"There was a mail car on the train in which mail clerks could sort mail while traveling between town. There was a hook that extended from the side of the car that caught the mailbag hung near the track. This allowed mail to be picked up without the train stopping.

"Salesmen would come in on the a.m. train, call on the businesses and catch the three o'clock passage out. We also had a freight train that brought in large parcels. It had coal cars that brought coal to the ice plant known as Beaufort Ice and Coal. The ice plant sold coal and would deliver it to your house in a horse drawn wagon. During the Depression we picked up coal that dropped from the coal cars.

"In potato season, I have counted as many as one hundred freight cars loaded with potatoes being shipped from Beaufort to markets all over the country.

"The Norfolk Southern also ran excursion trains in summer that brought people from Raleigh, Kinston and Goldsboro on weekend. There were several carloads.”

Eighty-six years after the first train backed into town, the train made its last official run to Beaufort in 1992. After that, an engine with one car would often make trips into town, stopping to wait for cars temporarily straddling the track. The removal of the tracks began in the first block of Broad in 1994.


Ginny Welton, longtime resident of Broad Street has written, “it was a sad day when the tracks of the railroad were taken up from Broad Street. How many generations of pennies, nails, and even quarters were flattened as the train rolled over them…as the economy of Beaufort grew? The train had brought to 211 Broad Street some of the outside world…as logs from other countries went past…from the port at Morehead City to the Atlantic Veneer Company on the east end of Beaufort.”

*Old black and white photos were scanned from Jack Dudley's book, Beaufort - An Album of Memories.