Rail line connecting NC and Myrtle Beach area to open soon

WBTW - MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) - Additional repairs have delayed the re-opening of a short line railroad that connects Horry County to Columbus County, North Carolina.

RJ Corman officials confirmed Saturday operations will not begin on the track March 1, as originally planned. Bill Henderson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, told WBTW it anticipates opening the line for service in mid-March.

Carolina Southern stopped operations on the 90-mile line nearly four years ago due to structural problems on some bridges. The company called R.J. Corman closed on a $14 million deal to purchase the line in mid-2015.

The railway stretches from Mullins to Myrtle Beach and connects to lines in North Carolina.

Officials say the company has had to invest more than a "couple million dollars" to make the repairs.

"The renewed railroad is expected to be an economic boon for the area by reducing industrial transportation costs, decreasing congestion from commercial truck traffic and creating up to 30 high-paying jobs once it is fully operational," RJ Corman officials said in the past.

The company has had to address unsafe bridges, deteriorating ties on the track and several portions of rail line that needed replaced.

The railroad was originally built in 1886 and the first train steamed into the Conway in late 1887.

When operations begin again, Henderson says trains will operate on the rails at 10 mph. He says the company will continue to reinvest in the line to increase the speed in which trains can travel.

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