The North Carolina Department of Transportation's reconstruction of its Piedmont & Northern Rail Corridor in Gaston County, N.C., will be significantly completed by February 20, 2012. This will allow operation of trains over the corridor for the first time in more than 20 years. Patriot Rail will provide freight rail service to customers over the line.
The P&N corridor, located about 20 miles west of Charlotte, N.C., extends approximately 12 miles from Mount Holly to Gastonia with a three-mile long spur line to Belmont. Reconstruction of four miles of the western end of the rail corridor was completed in early 2010. Restoration of the remainder of the corridor started back in August 2011. The work is being paid for through a partnership among federal, state and county governments.
Reconstruction work has included installation of new wood ties, installation of new wood bridge ties and other bridge repairs and new track construction and replacement of crossing surfaces. Work also entailed installation of crossing protection devices at selected locations and other crossing signage installation as safety measures.
NCDOT will use its BeRailSafe public awareness campaign to inform the public that trains are operating on the rail line and as a general rail safety initiative.
Reactivation of the rail line should also provide jobs and the opportunity to provide more efficient transportation of goods to and from the area. One customer has been secured and several others are in discussions with Patriot Rail to locate on the line.