I have an inside perspective on restoring the 27 mile stretch of track between Castle Hayne and Wallace,N.C. As a CSX engineer that works along the W&W subdivision that runs from Wallace to Contentnea,this is a positive economic proposal for our region. The growth along this segment of track has been significant over the years and has been a tremendous revenue generator for CSX, with about 25 % of all CSX grain revenue coming from this subdivision.It is a huge money maker for many CSX employees working out of the Davis Yard Terminal in Wilmington.People not in tune with railroad activities do not recognize the economic benefit of restoring this track.There are 6 major feed mills and a soybean mill that during peak times run 90 car trains throughout the week.The feed mills are Prestage Farms and Carrolls Farms and Calypso Farms along the Turkey Branch, which is a segment of track that runs from Warsaw to Clinton,Murphy Farms and a soybean operation at Wallace,Nash Johnson at Rose Hill and Case Farms at Mount Olive.These farms breathe economic life into Duplin and Sampson County with their presence in this region. It is how these folks survive in these rural communities.Presently, trucks are running wheat from the State Port on a daily basis, from ship overseas, due to one of the worst corn crops in years. The corn in the Midwest was devastated this year due to drought and flooding.By restoring this line, the state,CSX and Norfolk Southern could run freight and passengers along this rail corridor.In addition to running feed , military freight and mixed freight could be redirected as well, instead of running the Wilmington Subdivision. There is no money in passenger rail, therefore this is a long shot and a novelty that would wane with time. Rail freight could sustain itself economically and would promote growth along this corridor.It would benefit many entities.
As far a restoring the infrastructure, CSX is more than capable of laying rail in a more expeditious timeline than 10 to 15 years.With the state involved with their burdensome regulations ( i.e environmental impact study ),it may never get off the ground if they do indeed find something like a woodpecker occupying this right of way.A public /private venture that would be attractive to CSX would make this proposal come to fruition.CSX would have to see an economic benefit in supplying their skilled workforce during this restoration.
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