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HISTORY

The Jakeville & Keirton Railroad Company was incorporated in the
summer of 1986 when the newly merged Seaboard System & Chessie System opted to drop service on the less-than-profitable Durham spur, leaving the local cement & brick companies without a means of getting their respective products to clients down the line. Local businessmen were furious about the abrupt way the pull-out was handled and approached their local governments with the idea of forming a publicly owned shortline, the Jakeville & Keirton Railroad company. The idea was initially met with much enthusiasm, but voters balked at the idea of pouring money into an "outdated mode of transportation" and soundly defeated a referendum presented in the election of 1986. Undaunted, several local businessmen and rail fans, led by M. L. Schwartzhunder, put together enough cash through bake sales & raffles to put a down payment on the rights for the abandoned rails, and begged & borrowed enough equipment to begin twice weekly service from Carpenter, NC, to Durham, hauling bricks from Triangle Brick Co. to the warehouse of NEER CO., a construction firm, in the summer of 1987. Original equipment included, ironically,  a 44-ton switcher originally owned by the Durham & Southern, the route's ancestor and creator of the tracks it now traveled. The 44-tonner had been sold to the Atlantic & Western in Sanford, NC in 1967 and was about to be scrapped when the J&K inquired about its availability. The locomotive became the property of the J&K in return  for trackage rights & a small bit of cash, and it came home early in the spring of 1987. Repairs were made, and service began in June of that year. The trackage rights given to the ATW allowed them to carry clay loads north to Dunn, where the old D&S once had its shops, and west past Apex to Keirton via CSX, where the J&K picked them up for delivery to Triangle Brick just to the west of Jakeville. From Apex, the ATW turned south and traveled the NS route back to Sanford. Interchange with NS & CSX took place in Keirton & Jakeville, where both Class 1's had mainline traffic. Eventually, the J&K became a very important bridge route for both Big Boys.


 

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