HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It has been the goal of RJ Corman all along to rebuild the Carolina Southern Railroad and get it back to peak operating status.
While the company has thrown in the money so far to do that, the federal government is now making an investment in the rail line as well.
Officials believe the $9.7 million grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation will go a long way in bringing new jobs and industry to the Grand Strand.
"It's all about creating a really strong base, a strong rail line that has the infrastructure to transport large trains, heavy trains, etc," said Bill Henderson with RJ Corman.
RJ Corman officials said they will make those upgrades by improving rail ties and the rocks that hold up the tracks.
"When big business, when they are looking to locate, they have got to have a rail line that's dependable and that can accommodate large trains. That's what this money will do," Henderson said.
The Carolina Southern Railroad had not been operational for years before RJ Corman took over, meaning there has been a lot of work to do.
"A rail line is like a house or anything else; if you don't constantly replace worn parts, then it just falls in complete disrepair," Henderson said.
RJ Corman invested a substantial amount of money upfront to get the rail line where it is today. The tracks are once again operational, with trains traveling at 10 mph. However, they want to increase that speed to 25 mph and allow for bigger trains and heavier loads.
"We felt like, all along, the big stepping stone for attracting new business would be to invest in the infrastructure so we can operate efficiently," Henderson said.