The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has awarded approximately $7 million to 14 shortline railroads that operate in the state to perform infrastructure improvements.
The grants come from NCDOT’s Short Line Improvement Program and range between $200,000 and $1.5 million. The funds will be used to repair and harden infrastructure and include the replacement of rail and crossties, repairing bridges, performing crossing and surfacing upgrades and reestablishing service to an industrial park.
“We look forward to seeing the positive impact these grant funds have on North Carolina’s shortline 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 shortline rail infrastructure health and performance throughout the state, enabling NCDOT to partner with shortline rail companies on rail improvement projects. NCDOT explains that this partnership helps the shortlines meet customer needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner while also preparing them for growing service demands and partnerships with potential customers.
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 crossties 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 crossties 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 crossties. In addition, 15 miles of surfacing will be completed.
- Carolina Coastal Railway (Total cost: $1.3 million) – The project will replace crossties 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 crossties 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 crossties, 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: $1.3 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 crossties throughout the entire 13-mile rail line, including the Belmont Spur.
- R. J. 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.
- Yadkin Valley Railroad (Total cost: $1.5 million) – The project will replace approximately 1.8 miles of worn rail. In addition, surfacing and cross tie replacement will help harden the railroad.
NCDOT says more than $28 million in matching Short Line Improvement Program funds has been provided toward 66 rail improvement projects since 2014.