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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Wilmington, Brunswick, and Southern Railroad

The Wilmington, Brunswick, and Southern Railroad (WB&S), originally known Postcard of the Wilmington, Brunswick and Southern Railroad station in Southport, N.C., circa 1919. Image from the North Carolina Collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel the Town Creek Railroad and Lumber Company, was chartered in 1907 by local interests to provide freight and passenger service between a connection with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the Seaboard Air Line Railway at Navassa, west of the Cape Fear River bridge, the heart of Brunswick County, and Southport. A 30-mile line was completed in November 1911 by a rather indirect route through Town Creek and Bolivia. According to local legend, the abbreviation WB&S inspired the nickname "Willing, But Slow" when a small locomotive, despite valiant puffing, was unable to start a trainload of World War I soldiers on holiday until many of them got off and gave the train a push. Unlike other Wilmington railroads, the WB&S remained an independent operation throughout its history. Service was discontinued in 1941 and the road abandoned in 1943.


Charles Kernan, Rails to Weeds: Searching Out the Ghost Railroads around Wilmington (1988).

Additional Resources:

"Complete Road Into South Port." The Spartanburg Herald. July 23, 1911. (accessed August 2, 2012).

Nunn, Scott. "Locals share memories of rail line between Wilmington, Southport." July 24, 2012. (accessed August 2, 2012).

Coleman, Alan. Railroads of North Carolina. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing. 2008.,%20Brunswick,%20and%20Southern%20Railroad%22&f=false (accessed August 2, 2012).

Image Credits:

"Wilmington, Brunswick, & Southern Railroad--Train leaving Station, Southport, N.C." in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill.