Carolina Coastal Railway Opens Greenville Transload Project
By Abbie Bennett
The Daily Reflector
August 19, 2014 - A golden spike was hammered, and a train broke through a banner stretched across the tracks on Monday, all to celebrate the Carolina Coastal Railway Greenville Transload Project.
North Carolina Department of Transportation officials were on hand at Landfill Road off Allen Road to drive the final symbolic spike into the Greenville Transload project. The project provides a new siding track adjacent to the rail line that will allow local companies to receive and unload their products via the Carolina Coastal Railway Co.
The site will provide loading and unloading capacity for Tennessee Valley Resources, which manufactures and sells agricultural limestone used by farmers to neutralize soil acidity.
“This site is very important to us,” Jake Moser, president of Tennessee Valley Resources, said. “It’s centrally located in our market. We can service about a 60- to 70-mile radius from out of here.”
Doug Golden, president of Carolina Coastal Railway, said the project is expected to handle at least 600 rail cars at the site.
“It generates revenue for us. It generates jobs for us,” Golden said. “Hopefully it generates revenue for the county.”
Pitt County Manager Scott Elliott said the site will create a place to load and unload for those not directly located on or near the railroad.
“In Pitt County we continue to seek out public and private partnerships that will positively impact our local economy and promote local economic development,” Elliott said. “This project demonstrates those public-private partnerships that can and do work.”
The site will create a central place for farmers to receive products, save the state highways from wear due to reduced truck traffic and create new county revenue, Elliott said.
The project was funded with about $100,000 from the NCDOT Freight Rail and Rail Crossing Safety Improvement Fund, according to NCDOT documents.
“It is exactly what we hope to be a part of as the Department of Transportation,” NCDOT Chief Deputy Secretary Nick Tennyson said. “We understand that we need to make sure we have a strong agricultural economy if we’re going to have a strong state. We understand that the basis is making sure that the farmers are succeeding.”
Tennyson said NCDOT is learning more and more the value of rail.
“This is the kind of investment that we need to make sure that we’re making and the kind of business that needs to thrive,” Tennyson said. “A railroad that serves a local area is a critical part of success. ... Coastal Carolina Railways is the ‘little engine that could.’”
Rail has been critical to economic development for at least a century and a half, Tennyson said, and is going to be more critical in the future.
“We cannot provide enough surface transportation without taking advantage of rail to move large quantities of freight, heavy loads and try to do as much as we can to spare the highway investment,” he said.
Contact Abbie Bennett at email@example.com or 252-329-9579. Follow her on Twitter @AbbieRBennett.