COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A three-year push to re-open a shuttered railroad that served Columbus County, as well as communities in South Carolina, ended Monday when the line officially changed hands.
The buyer, R.J. Corman Railroad Group, hopes to get cars moving again within six months.
"We are grateful to the many community leaders who had the vision and determination to work together, form the interstate railroad committee and make this transition possible." said R.J. Corman CEO Craig King. "It truly is an amazing accomplishment."
In the coming months, the Kentucky based company plans to invest millions of dollars repairing the rail lines that have been idle since 2011.
R.J. Corman is already working with county officials to market the area to manufacturers that need to be near a rail line.
The former Georgia Pacific plant between Whiteville and Chadbourn is one facility that is available.
"It would be great to land a company in there pretty quickly and watch them grow and create jobs for the community," said Bill Henderson, vice president of sales and marketing.
In addition to attracting companies to Columbus County, R.J. Corman wants to help rail clients already there.
Idaho Timber, which has a location in Chadbourn, is one company that saw its business drop when the railroad closed.
"By restoring rail, we feel like maybe we can again expand their markets, and then they can expand," Henderson said. "They can create new jobs. They can grow their business."