The line operated today by the Pee Dee River Railway (PDRR) was chartered February 9, 1882 by the South Carolina Pacific Railway. When it opened later that year, the Railway was leased to the Cape Fear & Yadkin Valley Railway and subsequently acquired by the Atlantic Coast Line in 1894. The operation survived successive mergers creating Seaboard Coast Line (July 1, 1967), Seaboard System (January 1, 1983) and CSX (November 1, 1980). The line was abandoned by CSX and sold to Marlboro County, SC in 1987. On October 1 1987, Pee Dee River Railway (a subsidiary of the Aberdeen & Rockfish) began operations as the contract operator of the line between McColl, SC (interchange with CSX Transportation) and Marlboro Mills, just south of Bennettsville.
Initially, A&R GP-7 #205 operated the new line, but a rebuilt CF7 #2486 painted in a simplified version of the A&R's turquoise and orange paint scheme soon made its home in Bennettsville. Within three years, four GP-16’s were added to the roster rounding out the fleet to five locomotives, as it stands today.
A major event occurred on the PDRR in 1990 when Willamette opened a $350,000,000 paper mill on the PDRR at Marlboro Mills. The mill was acquired by Weyerhaeuser in 2002 and ownership was subsequently transferred to Domtar Paper Company on March 5, 2007.
Traffic on the PDRR includes rolls of finished paper, woodpulp, plastic pellets, particle board, MDF, fertilizer and other commodities. The line now operates seven days a week serving the Domtar paper mill and sheeter plant, two Flakeboard mills, a Mohawk Carpet mill, a Hanson Aggregates mine and a Southern States operation.
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