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Norfolk Southern balks at Charleston, S.C., rail plan

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Norfolk Southern rejects North Charleston, S.C., Mayor Keith Summey's plan to kick its trains out of key up-and-coming neighborhoods at the company's expense, and the railroad's officials say there's nothing he can do about it, The Post and Courier reports.

They say a train plan
proposal by the city, competing railroad CSX Transportation and a developer
puts the state at risk of losing significant port business — including Norfolk
Southern’s BMW traffic — by edging them out.

Norfolk Southern officials,
virtually silent as that agreement developed and then became public, shared a
plan with The Post and Courier that would continue competitive rail service in
Charleston.

Summey recently signed an
agreement with CSXT and Shipyard Creek Associates that calls for redevelopment
of CSXT’s Cooper Yard and Shipyard Creek’s Macalloy property into an intermodal
rail facility and warehousing space to serve a new port terminal under
construction at the former Charleston Naval Base. The operation would load
shipping containers onto trains two miles long for transportation to major
cities such as Atlanta, Nashville and Chicago and hinges on federal funding and
support from South Carolina’s delegation in Washington.

It also eliminates access
to the port terminal from trains traveling in from the north in and around key
revitalization efforts in the Park Circle and Noisette neighborhoods. The plan
holds to an agreement between the State Ports Authority and North Charleston
that prohibits trains from going through the northern end of the old base.

CSXT officials released a
statement saying they are "confident the plan we have developed with Mayor
Summey will make the port more competitive while enhancing the quality of life
for the citizens of North Charleston." The statement pointed out the
company’s commitment not to access the new port terminal from the north.

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