CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Work begins on a major initiative to help create jobs and move goods and services into the Grand Strand.
Monday, state and local leaders from North and South Carolina are exploring options to get the Carolina Southern Railroad back on track. The railroad track has been shutdown for more than a year.
Even though it will take millions of dollars, Horry County officials say it's time to get the trains working again. The only problem is finding the money to fund the initiative.
Jason Pippin with Carolina Southern Railroad is keeping his fingers crossed, hoping to get the chance to use the railroad again for business. But it will take a number of people to get it going, including representatives from the Carolinas and local leaders from Horry, Marion and Columbus Counties.
"There's a lot of smart people combined in those three counties and we're very optimistic that they recognize the importance of the railroad in their communities," states Pippin.
Pippin also points out the railroad's economic impact with results from a recent study that state there's about 800 jobs linked to the railroad, and about 4,000 jobs that are indirectly impacted.
Tom Horne, a longtime resident of Horry County, remembers the days of when trains were passing through.
"There were a lot of companies that used it in the past, and I think they could use it again. It will be well worth it," predicts Horne.
Last summer the railroad was shut down when the county could not afford to pay for the estimated millions of dollars needed in maintenance and upgrades.
"The railroad has been around for almost 150 years, and hopefully it will be around 150 years from now. We are really the temporary custodians of this important piece of infrastructure," justifies Horne.
The meeting to discuss funding for the railroad and options of putting it back into operation will be held at the Loris Public Safety Building at 3 p.m.