This ten-mile short line offers a rare, working glimpse at what nineteenth-century railroading was like. Enthusiastic volunteers keep it running for tourists. Wilmington and Western trains originally hauled kaolin clay, vulcanized fiber, snuff, iron, and coal along Red Clay Creek valley, serving the many mills as well as ferrying passengers to the picnic grounds at Mt. Cuba or to Brandywine Springs (MC5). The train is now boarded at Greenbank (see MC6), where the station was replaced in 1968 with a little steep-roofed one from farther up the line at Yorklyn (1873). The railroad repeatedly crosses the twisting creek, and during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, two bridges were destroyed by flooding and four others were severely damaged. Reconstruction of the lost bridges at Greenbank and Brandywine Springs involved the replacing of wooden trestles with steel, with the number of supports, or “bents,” reduced in order to improve the flow of debris in floodtime. In 2003, a worse flood (in which the creek rose five-and-one-half feet in an hour) spared the new bridges but destroyed most of the surviving old ones, a stunning setback for the railroad, which again began a process of rebuilding.
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Wilmington and Western Railroad
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