Orangeburg Mayor Pro Tem Bernard Haire wants to know how a planned inland port will affect train traffic through the city of Orangeburg, but Norfolk Southern Railroad says it doesn’t know yet.
“Many of us have heard and I have been informed that with the new inland port in Greer, the city of Orangeburg will be receiving additional train traffic,” Haire said. “In the past we have had some discussion with regard to the speed of the train coming through Orangeburg.
“I’m still concerned about the speed. I want to ask the administrator to get some information on whether or not these trains are going to be longer.”
The South Carolina State Ports Authority plans to develop the inland port with Norfolk Southern. The project is designed to improve container movement between the Port of Charleston, the Upstate and neighboring states.
Haire raised the issue during last week’s regular Orangeburg City Council meeting. City Administrator John Yow said he would try to get back to council on the matter.
“We want a resolution on the train speed and what their plans are to have limited effect on the community,” Yow said. “We will see if they will meet with us on that as well.”
Haire has taken Norfolk Southern to task on various issues in the past, including the speed of trains traveling through Orangeburg. He has complained trains sometimes block city street crossings for more than five minutes, contrary to city code.
“I don’t feel our city needs to be put upon as it relates having the danger of spillage because of the speed of the trains coming through,” Haire said.
Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman said it’s still too early in the process to determine how much additional train traffic the new inland port will generate.
“Federal law, which governs train speeds under interstate commerce, pre-empts local ordinances so as to preserve the fluidity of the nation’s railroad networks,” Chapman said in an email.
Contact the writer: psarata@times anddemocrat.com or 803-533-5540.