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South Carolina Short Line Begins Construction of New Route

RIDGEVILLE, S.C. — Palmetto Railways, the short line owned and operated by the state of South Carolina, has begun construction of a new rail line to serve the Camp Hall Commerce Park in Ridgeville and the adjacent Volvo auto plant.

The 22.7-mile line will cost $185 million and take about 2½ years to build, Palmetto Railways CEO Patrick McCrory told WCSC-TV. It will connect to an existing CSX Transportation main line near Cross, S.C.

McCrory said initial expectations are that the line will handle one train of approximately 30 railcars per day, five days a week. It will move up to 75% of the vehicles produced at the auto plant; currently, those vehicles are trucked more than 80 miles to a site near Columbia, S.C., to be loaded onto railcars.

The rail line was part of the original negotiations to bring the Volvo plant to South Carolina, an agreement announced in 2015.

The project had received an environmental Finding of No Significant Impact from the Federal Railroad Administration in December 2022 and received the final piece of funding from the state legislature in May. Volvo and CSX have also contributed to the construction costs.

Palmetto Railways operates about 90 miles of track across four divisions. It is part of the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Source: Trains