Palmetto Railways begins construction on $185M rail line servicing Camp Hall

Palmetto Railways has started construction on a rail line that will service the Camp Hall Commerce Park and Volvo’s plant in Berkeley County.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 4:34 PM EDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 10:16 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Palmetto Railways has started construction on a rail line that will service the Camp Hall Commerce Park and Volvo’s plant in Berkeley County.

Palmetto Railways President and CEO Patrick McCrory said the 25-mile rail line will connect to an existing CSX rail line near the Santee Cooper Cross Generating Station in Cross.

“This line is really intended to serve the U.S. domestic market, so from here to New York, New Jersey, from here to Los Angeles, across the country and all in between,” McCrory said. “That’s kind of our focus for the volumes. Capacity is – it’s a main line. It can be used for any levels of capacity.”

Camp Hall will soon be home to the largest investment in South Carolina history in Redwood Materials, who revealed a $3.5 billion campus several months ago, and is the current home of Volvo’s plant.

The project will cost $185 million to build and has been in the works since 2016. McCrory added the rail line was included in the original negotiations to bring Volvo to the Lowcountry.

“As part of their agreement, we have an investment from Volvo, an investment from CSX transportation, who is the linking main line, the state, Palmetto Railways directly, so it’s a multitude of sources, and the USDOT,” McCrory said.

Palmetto Railways has already started construction on the line, but officials said it won’t be too visible from the road. Once complete, the line will service the industries located at Camp Hall and Volvo’s plant.

“We anticipate roughly one train a day, five days a week,” McCrory said. “Those are our initial estimates. That’s what’s tracking today. The train length is anywhere from 30 cars, give or take.”

Aerial images captured trees that have been cleared as part of the line’s right of way leading into the rear of the Volvo plant.

Palmetto Railways plans to add railroad crossings at several roadways, including Volvo Car Drive, Highway 176 and Mudville Road as part of the line.

Officials believe the added infrastructure could entice more investment to Berkeley County and South Carolina.

“Roadway and rail is a utility in its form, and this is an addition to this particular site and area to adding to that package of what a customer might be looking for,” McCrory said.

McCrory said it will take them around two and a half years to finish construction on the new rail line.

Volvo Cars spokesperson Katherine Bergmann released the following statement on the railway project:

“The addition of a rail line will be a great benefit to Volvo Cars and industries in the surrounding area. This project represents a key investment in advancing industrial transportation capabilities, streamlining logistics and promoting economic growth.”