The Surface Transportation Board recently approved an exemption request from Western Carolina Railway Service Corp. (WCRS) that enables the company to enter into an agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway to lease and operate 18.9 miles of track in Aiken County, S.C.
On Dec. 1, wholly owned WCRS subsidiary Aiken Railway Co. L.L.C. (AIKR) will assume operation of two NS line segments: 12.45 miles of track between Warrenville and Oakwood, S.C., and 6.45 miles of track between Aiken and Seclay, S.C.
AIKR plans to provide service fives days per week on both line segments. The short line also plans to work with the Economic Development Partnership of South Carolina and South Carolina Department of Commerce to grow existing business and develop new rail-served businesses along both routes, WCRS officials said in a prepared statement.
"AIKR [also] is eager to explore transloading and distribution opportunities for those businesses that could clearly benefit from rail access but are not located immediately proximate to the line," said AIKR President Steven Hawkins.
WCRS has a proven track record of successful business growth and infrastructure investment at its Greenville & Western Railway affiliate in Anderson County, S.C., and plans to apply those principals to the new operation in Aiken County, he said.
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