Local railroad receives funding for improvements

Staff Report

RALEIGH — Fourteen short line railroads will soon be making improvements to their infrastructure thanks to about $7 million in matching grant funds being awarded as part of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Short Line Improvement Program.

“We look forward to seeing the positive impact these grant funds have on North Carolina’s short line rail infrastructure, which plays a key role in our economy,” said Julie White, NCDOT deputy secretary for Multimodal Transportation. “These improvements not only spur economic development, but also enhance the safety and reliability of rail operations across the state.”

The Short Line Improvement Program supports short line rail infrastructure health and performance throughout the state, enabling NCDOT to partner with short line rail companies on rail improvement projects. This partnership helps the short lines meet customer needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner while also preparing them for growing service demands and partnerships with potential customers.

Funds provided to the Yadkin Valley Railroad in the amount of $1.5 million will replace about 1.8 miles of worn rail. In addition, surfacing and cross tie replacement will help harden the railroad.

Other projects awarded funding are as follows:

• Aberdeen Carolina & Western (Total Cost: $$1.3 million) – The project will replace two miles of worn rail, replace 5,000 cross ties in curves over five miles and replace a number of switches/switch ties to harden the railroad.

• Alexander Railroad Company (Total Cost: $700,000) – The project will replace cross ties on approximately four miles of rail line and resurface approximately five miles of main track in Alexander and Iredell counties.

• Atlantic & Western Railway (Total Cost: $1 million) – The project will replace 6,850 track feet of rail and improve the Weller Street Crossing.

• Blue Ridge Southern Railroad (Total Cost: $1.5 million) – The project will provide structural repairs and upgrades to 15 bridges and will provide surfacing and tie replacement to harden the railroad.

• Chesapeake & Albemarle Railroad (Total Cost: $750,000) – The project will upgrade two bridges and replace 5,000 cross ties. In addition, 15 miles of surfacing will be completed.

• Carolina Coastal Railway (Total Cost: $1.3 million) – The project will replace cross ties and improve subgrade conditions, hardening the railroad in Beaufort and Wilson counties.

• Caldwell County Railroad (Total Cost: $200,000) – The project will install a new turnout, replace cross ties and switch ties.

• Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (Total Cost: $1.4 million) – The project will replace 1.5 miles of worn rail, replace 5,000 cross ties, modernize a bridge and return one mile of inactive track to service.

• Laurinburg & Southern (Total Cost: $900,000) – The project will upgrade crossing surfaces at 12 locations and, in areas where hazardous material will be switched, upgrade 6,710 track feet and nine switches.

• North Carolina & Virginia Railroad (Total Cost: $11.3 million) – The project will replace two miles of worn rail near the North Carolina/Virginia state line.

• Progressive Rail (Total Cost: $600,000) – The project will replace cross ties throughout the entire 13-mile rail line, including the Belmont Spur.

• RJ Corman Railroad (Total Cost: $600,000) – The project will reestablish rail service to an industrial park near Whiteville.

• Wilmington Terminal Railroad (Total Cost: $400,000) – The project will upgrade the Myers Street crossing by replacing the turnout into Colonial and the turnout at North Gate.

Since 2014, more than $28 million in matching Short Line Improvement Program funds have been provided toward 66 rail improvement projects.

Staff Report