Carolina Coastal Railway

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Carolina Coastal Railway
Reporting mark CLNA
Locale North Carolina and South Carolina
Dates of operation 1989present
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 198 miles (319 kilometres)
Headquarters Wilson, North Carolina
Website Carolina Coastal Railway

Carolina Coastal Railway( reporting mark CLNA) is a shortline railroad that operates several lines in North Carolina and one line in South Carolina.

Reporting mark alphabetic code ID used on the North American railroad network

A reporting mark is an alphabetic code of one to four letters used to identify owners or lessees of rolling stock and other equipment used on certain railroad networks.

A shortline railroad is a small or mid-sized railroad company that operates over a relatively short distance relative to larger, national railroad networks. The term is used primarily in the United States and Canada. In the U.S., railroads are categorized by operating revenue, and most shortline railroads fall into the Class III or Class II categorization defined by the Surface Transportation Board. Shortlines generally exist for one of three reasons: to link two industries requiring rail freight together ; to interchange revenue traffic with other, usually larger, railroads; or to operate a tourist passenger train service. Often, short lines exist for all three of these reasons.

North Carolina State of the United States of America

North Carolina is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. North Carolina is the 28th-most extensive and the 9th-most populous of the U.S. states. The state is divided into 100 counties. The capital is Raleigh, which along with Durham and Chapel Hill is home to the largest research park in the United States. The most populous municipality is Charlotte, which is the second-largest banking center in the United States after New York City.


A four-engine consist of the Carolina Coastal Railway (CLNA) hauls 30 cars of freight across the Neuse River on the way to Raleigh, NC from Wilson, NC. Carolina Coastal Railway freight train 2014-01-28.JPG
A four-engine consist of the Carolina Coastal Railway (CLNA) hauls 30 cars of freight across the Neuse River on the way to Raleigh, NC from Wilson, NC.


CLNA was created in 1989 under the Thoroughbred Shortline Program of Norfolk Southern and was a subsidiary of Rail Link, Inc., which became a subsidiary of Genesee and Wyoming in 1995. The original line was 17 miles (27 km) from Pinetown, North Carolina to Belhaven. CLNA interchanged with NS at Pinetown. CLNA was acquired by Main Line Rail Management, Inc. in 2003.

The Thoroughbred Shortline Program was a system of shortline creation devised by Norfolk Southern in the late 1980s. It involved an alternative to the typical practice of a Class I railroad selling rail lines outright to shortlines in the post-Staggers Act era. Defining features of the program included leasing lines to shortline operators as opposed to outright sales, keeping stations available in Norfolk Southern marketing campaigns, and crediting carloads delivered to Norfolk Southern towards the lease and eventual purchase of the line. The program ran from 1988 to 1991, creating more than a dozen new shortline railroads, nearly all of which are still in operation today.

Pinetown, North Carolina Census-designated place in North Carolina, United States

Pinetown is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Beaufort County, North Carolina, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 155.

Belhaven, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Belhaven is a town in Beaufort County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 1,688 at the 2010 Census. Belhaven is located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region.

In 2006, CLNA began to serve a former NS branch between Whitney and Badin where Alcoa previously operated a large aluminum plant.

Badin, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Badin is a town located in Stanly County, North Carolina. At the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 1,974.

Alcoa producer of aluminum

Alcoa Corporation is an American industrial corporation. It is the world's eighth largest producer of aluminum, with corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Alcoa conducts operations in 10 countries. Alcoa is a major producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum, and alumina combined, through its active and growing participation in all major aspects of the industry: technology, mining, refining, smelting, fabricating, and recycling.

On March 25, 2007, CLNA entered into a lease agreement with NS for the Plymouth-Raleigh route, 147 miles of the former mainline of the original Norfolk Southern. [1]

Plymouth, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Plymouth is the largest town in Washington County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 3,878 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Washington County. Plymouth is located on the Roanoke River about seven miles (11 km) upriver from its mouth into the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina's Inner Banks region.

Raleigh, North Carolina Capital of North Carolina

Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County in the United States. Raleigh is the second-largest city in the state, after Charlotte. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. The city covers a land area of 142.8 square miles (370 km2). The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population as 479,332 as of July 1, 2018. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The city of Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who established the lost Roanoke Colony in present-day Dare County.

In 2010, CLNA began providing contract switching services in Kinston, North Carolina. Also in 2011, CLNA began serving the Port of Morehead City by taking over the Morehead and South Fork.

Kinston, North Carolina City

Kinston is a city in Lenoir County, North Carolina with a population of 21,677 as of the 2010 Census. It has been the county seat of Lenoir County since its formation in 1791. Kinston is located in the coastal plains region of Eastern North Carolina.

Morehead City, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Morehead City is a port town in Carteret County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 8,661 at the 2010 census. Morehead City celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding on May 5, 2007. It forms part of the Crystal Coast.

Morehead and South Fork Railroad

The Morehead and South Fork Railroad is a terminal switching railroad serving the port facilities of Morehead City, North Carolina and Radio Island with 9.5 miles (15.3 km) of track. Created in 2005 as a successor to Carolina Rail Services, the railroad was initially a Gulf & Ohio subsidiary before a change of contract in 2010 transferred operational responsibility to the Carolina Coastal Railway.

In 2011, CLNA purchased a line between Rocky Mount and Spring Hope previously known as the Nash County Railroad. Also in 2011, CLNA began operating a former NS branch between Blacksburg, South Carolina and Kings Creek, South Carolina; operations on this branch ceased in 2013. [2]

Rocky Mount, North Carolina City in North Carolina, United States

Rocky Mount is a city in Edgecombe and Nash counties in the Atlantic coastal plain region of the U.S. state of North Carolina. Although it was not formally incorporated until February 28, 1907, the North Carolina community that became the city of Rocky Mount dates from the beginning of the 19th century. The first post office in the area opened in 1816. The city's population was 57,685 at the 2010 census, with an estimated population of 56,325 in 2014. Rocky Mount has received the All-America City Award from the National Civic League two times, in 1969 and 1999.

Spring Hope, North Carolina Town in North Carolina, United States

Spring Hope is a town in Nash County, North Carolina, United States. It is part of the Rocky Mount, North Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,320 at the 2010 census.

The Nash County Railroad was the operator of the Rocky Mount & Western railroad, connecting with CSX Transportation at Rocky Mount and running 14.7 miles (23.7 km) to Nashville, North Carolina. This short line railroad was created in 1985 and was formerly a subsidiary of Gulf and Ohio Railways. The line is now operated by the Carolina Coastal Railway.

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  1. CLNA History, Main Line Rail Management, Inc. (retrieved 10 June, 2014)
  2. , Blacksburg Yard