New rail spur could have huge impact on industry

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A new set railroad spur at the Decatur County Industrial Park will be utilized by a number of regional businesses and could be a major selling point for recruiting new industry to Southwest Georgia.

The rail spur will provide a secondary track for customers to load and unload rail cars without interfering with other railroad operations.

Ground will be broken this week for the construction of the spur, which will go behind the Propex plant. Rick McCaskill, executive director of the Development Authority, said he expects the spur to be up and running in 90 days.

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“It’s going to be a really valuable thing for us to have,” said McCaskill.

Taurus, a leading firearms manufacturer that announced plans to relocate its North American headquarters to Bainbridge in April, was a major factor in getting the rail spur project approved by the state and local government.

Taurus’s plant will be located at the Commodore Industrial Park and is expected to see construction start this September, with move in plans during the first quarter of 2020.

“They have continuously asked if everything is on schedule with the rail facility,” said McCaskill. “It’s really important to them. They know they have to have that.”

The project will receive $500,000 in funding from the state, which can only be used on railroad track construction. McCaskill expects the project will need another $284,000, which will come from a loan of up to $300,000. Payments for the loan will be made with the rental payments from the shortline railroad company Georgia Southwestern Railroad.

The spurs will be run by Georgia Southwestern Railroad because they service that set of tracks. McCaskill sees this spur as a unique opportunity for businesses because a CSX railroad is located to the south and a Norfolk Southern line is located to the north, both connected to the line running through the Industrial Park. Customers can choose which track to use based on bids from either company.

“I see that being a big boost to not only here, but surrounding areas,” said Decatur County Board of Commissioners Chairman Pete Stephens.

The project has been more than two years in the making, McCaskill said. He presented a resolution for approval to the Decatur County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.