Judge Throws Out North Charleston’s Rail Complaint

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Apr 272012

CSX In North CharlestonAccording to an article in the Post & Courier, North Charleston has lost the first skirmish in what could be a long and grueling legal war over the state’s plans to put an intermodal rail yard on the former Charleston Naval Base.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said today he will dismiss a federal complaint the city brought against the S.C. Department of Commerce and the State Ports Authority. He said the rail yard plans remain in an early stage and the harm to the city isn’t clear — other than some potential buyers being discouraged from locating on the base.

Three Local Train Videos – CSX and Amtrak

 Freight, News  Comments Off on Three Local Train Videos – CSX and Amtrak
Apr 232012

Just a few videos taken out and about in North Charleston with my iPhone.  This first one is of a freight train coming into North Charleston on the lines that parallel River’s Avenue back behind Trident Technical College. Actually. all of these videos were take there, the only the that changes is which direction the trains are going!

This first one was taken today, Monday, April 23, 2012 at about 7:30am.  The crossing sounds you hear are from the crossing at Mabeline Road. Of particular interest is the last car in the train – a modified CSX caboose type work car.

This next one was taken from basically the same spot, but a few yards further back. At about 10am on Friday, April 20, 2012, this short Amtrak passenger train is headed north, out-of-town.

And finally, also from Friday the 20th, a northbound CSX freight recorded from the same location. Yes, I have been spending a lot of time sitting in that parking lot or along side the road. Hopefully that will change soon.

Permit Requirement Stalls Rail Line

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Mar 062012

A federal Department of Transportation grant to improve a rail line is caught between the state and the city of North Charleston as both entities promote plans for a rail yard on the former Navy base.

SC Public RailwayThe department awarded a $248,934 grant to S.C. Public Railways to relocate and realign an S-curve in North Charleston. The S-curve has contributed to several derailments, according to a Department of Transportation news release, and realigning it will improve efficiency by removing speed restrictions and improving line capacity. The rail line runs down Noisette Boulevard and curves along Turnbull Avenue, said North Charleston spokesman Ryan Johnson.

“The S-curve realignment has been needed for many years and is necessary to safely operate the rail line, meet the service requirements of (S.C. Public Railway’s) customers and support Clemson’s Wind Turbine Testing facility,” said Amy Love, spokeswoman for the state Department of Commerce, in an email. “The realignment is not related to the proposed plans for a regional dual-access intermodal container transfer facility in North Charleston.”

But, Johnson said, to use the grant and fix the rail line, S.C. Public Railways needs a Land Disturbance Permit from North Charleston.

“There are a number of folks from whom (S.C. Public Railways) would need to secure consent for the project to proceed and, to date, the city has yet to see a meeting of the minds emerge that would permit the project to move forward,” said Ray Anderson, special assistant to Mayor Keith Summey.

Anderson said the rail issue needs to be solved by “looking comprehensively at the needs and obstacles in order to find solutions that work” for the former Navy base. “Rail done right also involves the state being mindful of promises made not just to the city but also to many property owners on the base,” Anderson said.

The city and state have proposed competing rail plans for the former Navy base, and the controversy has spilled into court.

The state proposes to offer dual access to an intermodal rail yard on the former Navy base and has condemned land for the rail yard and purchased hundreds of acres out of foreclosure. The state’s plan allows Norfolk Southern to access the facility from the north, while CSX Corp. would access the facility from the south. The rail yard would serve container terminals at the S.C. State Ports Authority.

North Charleston argues that arrangement violates a 2002 memorandum of understanding between the ports authority and the city. The memorandum calls for rail access to port property only through the southern end of the container terminal.

For more on this most recent development, the ongoing dispute, and the rather nasty discourse that took place recently, please visit the originating Charleston Regional Business Journal article.

Highway 78 Overpass

 News, Structures  Comments Off on Highway 78 Overpass
Oct 262011

The South Carolina Department of Transportation is providing notification to the public of increased cost estimates for the proposed replacement of the US 78 Bridge over CSX Railroad, Norfolk Southern Railroad and Meeting street in Charleston as part of a statewide transportation improvement program.

Due to significant ground improvements that are required to meet seismic performance requirements, an additional $7.55 million will be needed for the project.

The SCDOT proposed to replace the aging structure with a new bridge, which also corrects the current substandard clearances over the railroad tracks and Meeting Street.

The bridge, constructed in 1926, is load posted with truck restrictions based on its condition and its replacement will improve safety for users and residents.

Why Did the Tank Car Cross the Road?

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Sep 062011

Well, it crossed the road because it was being pushed by a CSX switcher! This is as string of tank cars moved by a CSX switcher on the boarder area between Charleston and North Charleston. Right near Pittsburgh Avenue on Meeting Street. This is very near the beautiful and historic Magnolia Cemetery. Tuesday, September 6, 2011 right about 10am.

Sorry about the poor quality of the video. I was just driving along and decided to record it, but all I had with me was my cell phone – not my normal video camera.

Video of Amtrak Terminal Visioning Session

 History and Preservation, News  Comments Off on Video of Amtrak Terminal Visioning Session
Sep 052011

CARTA has plans to build a new Intermodal Center that will house Amtrak, Greyhound, and CARTA operations near West Montague Avenue and Dorchester Road in North Charleston. When that new station comes into place, the old Amtrak station that was built in 1956 will ceased to be used. So, the question is, what should be done with that old station? It is the property of CSX, and the adjoining tracks will continue to be used, but should the building be re-purposed as a museum? A community center? A business incubator?

Those questions and more were addressed at a recent community forum held at the old terminal itself. From a bit of history to a view of the future, you can get a glimpse of it all in the video below.

Visioning Session

Amtrak Station Visioning Session - North Charleston

Amtrak North Charleston Passenger Terminal Visioning Session from Michael Carnell on Vimeo.

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