Caldwell County Railroad
|Headquarters||Morganton, North Carolina|
|Dates of operation||1994–Present|
|Predecessor||Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, Carolina & North-Western Railway|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Previous gauge||, originally 3 ft (914 mm)|
|Length||17 miles (27 kilometers)|
The Caldwell County Railroad (reporting mark CWCY) is a Class III shortline railroad operating over 17 miles (27 kilometers) between Hickory and Lenoir, North Carolina. The CWCY is operated by Southeast Shortlines, Inc., which also operates the Thermal Belt Railway.
The Caldwell County Railroad was formed in 1994 when Norfolk Southern sold the 22-mile (35 km) line from Hickory to Lenoir to the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission (CCEDC). The CCEDC subsequently leased the line to the Caldwell County Railroad Company, a subsidiary of Southeast Shortlines Inc.
The line was originally constructed as 3 ft (914 mm) gauge in 1874, under the charter of the Chester & Lenoir. The line was part of the subsequent reorganization into the Carolina & North-Western Railway in 1897, which was absorbed into the Southern Railway around 1940. As part of the Thoroughbred Shortline Program, the line was spun off to the Carolina and Northwestern Railroad, which operated the line from 1990 to 1994.
The railroad serves 5 customers, handling approximately 425 carloads (38,000 short tons or 34,500 metric tons or 33,900 long tons) per year. Commodities carried by the railroad are plastics and building materials. The CWCY interchanges with Norfolk Southern at Hickory.
- Wrinn, Jim (June 1991). "Warming Up To The Thermal Belt". Railfan & Railroad: 64–67.
- Caldwell County Railroad, Railway Association of North Carolina (retrieved 16 June 2014)
- Hilton, George Woodman (1990). American Narrow Gauge Railroads. p. 512.
- South Carolina Railroads/ Carolina & Northwestern Railway, Carolana.com (retrieved 16 June 2014)
- Lewis, Edward (1996). American Shortline Railway Guide. p. 55.
- Surface Transportation Board Decision Document, Surface Transportation Board (retrieved June 16, 2014)
- Railroads Scanner Frequencies, RadioReference.com (retrieved 18 June 2014)
- ULS License, Industrial/Business Pool, Conventional License - WPGG862 - CALDWELL COUNTY RAILROAD COMPANY, Federal Communications Commission (retrieved 12 August 2014)
- Caldwell County Railroad, The Diesel Shop (retrieved 18 June 2014)