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Piedmont & Northern Railroad


The Piedmont & Northern Railroad (PNRW) is a short line railroad serving Gaston County between Gastonia on the west end and Mount Holly on the east end. The railroad runs generally east to west parallel to Interstate 85 for 11.6 miles. The Branch line to Belmont is 1.5 miles long. NCDOT owns the corridor and had the foresight to hold the railroad for future Economic Development opportunities. Iowa Pacific took over operation of the line on August 1, 2015 with the intent to facilitate job creation by attracting new freight customers along the line. Iowa Pacific is the world’s largest single operator of Christmas-Themed trains and is offering the popular “Train to Christmas Town” between Thanksgiving and Christmastime.


The railroad was conceived by William States Lee of Southern Power Company (now Duke Energy) and financed by James “Buck” Duke as the Piedmont Traction Company. Since the line was owned by Southern Power, it was natural that the line would be an electrified railroad. The Piedmont Traction Company carried both freight and passengers from stations in uptown Charlotte near Mint and Fourth Street  toward the textile center of Gastonia, North Carolina. Operation on the entire 26 mile line from Charlotte to Gastonia commenced on May 12, 1912. The company was renamed the Piedmont & Northern Railway on May 20, 1914. The large number of textile mill customers inspired the railroad to use the slogan “A Mill-to-the-Mile”. The P&N survived until acquisition by the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad (SCL) on July 1, 1969. Most of the trackage in Gaston County was sold by SCL to the North Carolina Department of Transportation on December 5, 1991. The last mile into Gastonia was originally sold by SCL to Norfolk Southern and on April 23, 2003 this track was acquired by NCDOT.




Reporting Marks: PNRW
Miles of Track: 13.1 miles
Cities and Towns Served: Mount Holly, Belmont (Belmont Branch),  McAdenville, Lowell, Ranlo and Gastonia.
Locomotives Operated: 2 (1 powered unit and 1 slug)
Freight Cars Operated: None
Service Frequency: 5 days per week
Car Storage Capacity – Visit Car Storage: Call our Marketing Department
Railroad Connections and Interchange Locations:

  • CSX Transportation – Mount Holly, North Carolina
  • Norfolk Southern Railway – Gastonia, North Carolina

Commodities Transported:

  • Chemicals
  • Plastics
  • Sugar


Railroad Emergency

Voice: 888-783-4316
Operating Office
Piedmont & Northern Railroad
1548 Union Road, Suite B
Gastonia, NC 28054
Bill Bartosh, General Manager
Cell: 704-578-1651

Steve Gregory, EVP – Marketing
Cell:  303-903-9495

Business Office
Piedmont & Northern Railroad
118 South Clinton St., Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60661
Voice: 312-466-0900
Fax: 312-466-9589