Full steam ahead: N. Charleston pushes forward with railroad plan

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - North Charleston is on track with plans that will close and re-route rail lines.

Mayor Keith Summey said he is not waiting for the state to make a move. He also wants the city to apply for a $3 million grant that will help with the planning.

"We have to start somewhere and this is a starting point," Summey said.

The majority of the city council voted to move forward and apply for the $3 million grant so they can start planning the re-routing and closing rail lines.

For the most part people were supportive of Summey's plan.

The agreement is between the city, train company CSX and Shipyard Creeks associates.

All three have agreed to close more than three miles of existing CSX tracks, which go through several neighborhoods.

The plan would also create half a mile of new track and it would rebuild another half a mile of track

Most of the new rail will be built in the southern end of the old navy base, where the state ports authority is building a terminal, which is close to Chicora-Cherokee and Union Heights neighborhoods..

Some people in those neighborhoods are cautious about the plan because as one of the two councilmen who voted against the plan says, there is a trust problem with CSX.

"I'm just concerned about how rail traffic is going to produce on that neighborhood that we're already having problems with," said councilman Steve Aver.

Summey said this is a chance the city can't miss because CSX is coming to the table and trying to compromise, something he criticized Norfolk Southern, the other train company that has rail lines is the area, for not doing.

"We have always been open to industry, and I truly believe that commercial, industrial and residential can co-exist, but there has to be that mutual respect," Summey said.

Copyright 2010 WCSC News.