NICHOLASVILLE — R. J. Corman Railroad Co. has signed an agreement to buy an 80-mile short-line railroad in eastern North and South Carolina for $13.9 million.
The company plans to rehabilitate and operate the rail line, which was shut down in 2011.
R. J. Corman was selected as the owner/operator by a two-state rail committee formed to facilitate the sale of the railroad, which is needed for the region's economic development, a news release from the company stated.
The line extends from Mullins, S.C., to Whiteville, N.C., and to Conway, S.C., where it connects to a line owned by Horry County, S.C., that reaches Myrtle Beach.
"Our company has seen significant growth over the past few years, and we are very pleased to announce this significant acquisition," R. J. Corman Railroad Group president & CEO Craig King said.
R. J. Corman will invest millions of dollars in an extensive overhaul of the line. The rehab will begin in about six weeks, once the acquisition is complete, and is expected to take at least four months.
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 as many as 30 jobs once it is fully operational, the news release said.
R. J. Corman Railroad Group employs more than 1,600 people in 23 states. In addition to the 10 short-line railroads it operates, the company provides industrial switching services, emergency-response services, track material distribution, track construction, signal design and construction and railroad worker training, and it operates excursion dinner trains and builds eco-friendly locomotives.