Watauga & Yadkin River Railroad
The Blue Ridge Route

    In 1911, William J. Grandin began laying rails for what would become the Watauga & Yadkin River Railroad. The railroad began at the end of the Southern Railway line in North Wilkesboro, NC, and followed the banks of the Yadkin River. The line terminated in Caldwell County at a new village and massive timber mill that was titled after its owner. At Elkville, where Elk Creek spilled into the Yadkin River, the railroad had a junction that traveled to the heart of 60,000 acres of virgin timber. Darby was the terminus of this branch, and the intended launching point of the railroad into Boone and over the mountains into Tennessee.

The railroad went through several incarnations on paper, including the Yadkin River Railroad, as well as the Watauga Railway Company. The railroad operated two 2-8-0 Consolidations, #101 (above, below) and #102 (below right) that were used on the mainline.

The Grandin Lumber Company, a sister firm, operated this second-hand  0-4-2T Dinky #1.

The railroad owned 3 passenger cars, purchased from the Pennsylvania Railroad, and maintained their rich maroon coloring.

   Mother Nature had other ideas for the Watauga & Yadkin Railroad. When it was being built, the locals warned the civil engineers about the unpredictable Yadkin River, but their concerns went unheeded. The lead engineer even scoffed that he could control the river "with the heel of his boot" if he so desired. Unfortunately, during July, 1916, the engineer could not find his boots, and the railroad was washed away. Its sole tunnel had collapsed, and 20 trestles were destroyed.            BACK    NEXT