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Historic railroad turning one-hundred years old

Posted Monday, May 22, 2006

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New Hope Valley Railway Grand Centennial Celebration

Bonsal, NC – The New Hope Valley Railway will be exactly one-hundred years old on the date of its next Public Ride Day, Sunday, 4 June 2006. The tracks now operated were originally built as the Durham & South Carolina Railroad during 1905-1906, and the very first ever revenue producing train was operated on 4 June 1906. This makes the date extremely significant in the history of the railroad and the surrounding area, including the valley of New Hope Creek (now Jordan Lake), the communities of Bonsal and New Hill, the Town of Apex, and both Wake and Chatham Counties. Appropriate celebrations and events are planned to mark the day.

Befitting the recreation of a proper First Train Celebration, visitors can expect all the festivities usually accompanying such an event from bunting and patriotic music to the dedication of a commemorative plaque to speeches by various local dignitaries. Some of those expected to be with us to speak that day include:

Great Granddaughter of W.R.Bonsal – Katherine Bonsal-Tracey
Mayor of Apex – Keith Weatherly
Sheriff of Wake County – Donnie Harrison
State Representative Paul Stam

Others are expected to confirm their attendance at the event in the near future. The 1:30PM departure from the Bonsal Depot has been designated as the “official” representative of the First Train over the line, and will carry many of our honored guests as well as the public.

The passing of this milestone in the history and heritage of the State of North Carolina is a matter of deep pride for everyone involved with the operation of the New Hope Valley Railway. It is a touchstone of the part of history we hold in our care and custody. The celebration of this date will reconfirm our commitment to that trust for all future generations.

The New Hope Valley Railway will be operating that Sunday with five trains starting at 11:00AM over four miles of track in Chatham and Wake counties. Tickets are available to the public at the ticket office in Bonsal, NC (just south of Apex, NC). Exhibits at the museum include a number of cars and locomotives, a collection of historic memorabilia, and a six-hundred foot garden size model railway.

Visitors are encouraged to visit the website ( for further information, schedules, and detailed directions to the facility. You may also call 919-362-5416 to speak with the yardmaster on duty.


The East Carolina Chapter NRHS is a non-profit [501(c)(3)] organization dedicated to the preservation of the history and heritage of North Carolina. This is accomplished through the operation of the North Carolina Railroad Museum at Bonsal, NC, an operating museum, running the New Hope Valley Railway with both diesel and steam locomotives. The organization maintains no paid staff, with all operations conducted by member volunteers, giving their time and effort in a skilled and professional manner. Please visit our website ( or call +1-919-362-5416 for further information.

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