Wilmington council gets update on rail realignment plan

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Potential rail realignment (Laura Padgett)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Rail could be on the way out of Wilmington. City leaders heard an update Tuesday night about a possible rail realignment.

The topic of moving existing railroad lines across the Cape Fear River out of Wilmington goes back to 2015. Laura Padgett chairs the task force board on rail realignment.

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She informed Wilmington city leaders about the recent communications with CSX railroad and the ports of Wilmington regarding the study.

CSX issued a statement to WWAY saying, “CSX is aware of the City of Wilmington’s proposed project to build a new rail bridge over the Cape Fear River. We look forward to participating in further study and analysis to determine the project’s viability.”

A feasibility study from the task force found that the current rail lines that sit in Wilmington city limits could constrict traffic come 2040.

Potential rail impacts to traffic (Laura Padgett)


Padgett said by then CSX estimated port traffic and freight sizes could lead up to 10,000 foot long trains. She revealed the study showed these carriers could significantly impact the city if one were to stall.

Padgett updated the council with the news of the task force’s hiring of a rail realignment project manager. Padgett said the new hire will be coming from Norfolk, Virginia and said that he has a background of working with railines specifically Norfolk Southern.