R.J. Corman cuts ribbon on new rail line in Loris

R.J. Corman cuts ribbon on new rail line in Loris

LORIS, SC (WMBF) - For the first time in years, rail lines bringing supplies to local companies will head through Horry County beginning on Thursday.

That is when R.J. Corman's first official train will bring fertilizer from Florida to Nichols.

The new rail line stretches 90 miles, from Whiteville, N.Y. to Myrtle Beach, S.C. A company spokesman said seven companies are working to buy rail lines already.

On Wednesday, R.J. Corman and local politicians held a ribbon cutting in Loris to celebrate bringing back what used to be so ingrained in the area.

"This is a really big deal," said Sen. Greg Hembree as he addressed the crowd.

For many of those local politicians, the message was of the same note; this change is for economic development and, hopefully, more jobs.

"This is all about jobs. It's all about creating jobs," said Mark Lazarus, chairman of Horry County Council. "If we've got local companies today that can utilize this railroad, they can grow and expand because they can save money on transportation services. That means more jobs for their company, which means more jobs for you, for our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren to come."

With those promises came expectations from locals.

"Hopefully it's going to provide some more job opportunities for the citizens around here and help our business and industry grow," said newly elected Loris City Councilwoman Jan Vescovi.

For those like Tom Swicegood, the day meant more than just industry to the area.

"I've been looking forward to this day for a long time," he said. "I love hearing the whistles and the horns and the bells of the railroad."

Paul Sweeney saw a bigger picture here. He believed it's not just a new start, it's turning back the clock to the way things used to be done.

"We as a country are starting to realize that some of the things we've used before are really good, and we can bring them back in play," Sweeney said.

So as the billboard train heads out of town, and the real one is hours from its first trip, cities like Loris are hoping for industry and a new tomorrow along with it.

The first rail line is set to get to Nichols mid-day Thursday. After that, the company said residents will see more and more trains coming through the area.

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