BADIN — A new railroad company is coming to Stanly County, and they are bringing hope for economic development in the Badin area.
Foxville and Northern Railroad Company, which currently operates in Columbia, S.C., is the new operator of the railroad line serving Badin from Halls Ferry. The 11-mile line has become overgrown and the primary focus of the railroad company in the short term is cleaning up and rehabilitating the tracks, according to Foxville and Northern President and General Manager John Elkin.
Elkin says the company is working with several companies who are interested in the line and the Badin Business Park. “Our focus is revitalizing the tracks,” said Elkin. “The line will hopefully make the Badin Business Park more of an asset than it currently is.”
“It’s a win-win situation,” said Badin businessowner Vanessa Mullinix. “The tracks have gotten overgrown and they are cleaning that up. That 11 miles of track is beautiful. It goes up by the lake and crosses the lake.”
Mullinix says she is hopeful that Elkin and his company can bring some additional interest to Badin. “We’ve had a lot of jobs sent away from the Badin area because of the uncertainty created over the state’s fight over the Badin Lake. This railroad development will hopefully help bring back industry to our area,” she said. “Having access to CSX and Norfolk-Southern is critical.”
Elkin has experience with both CSX and Norfolk-Southern both in his current position and his former position with Norfolk-Southern. The line out of Badin connects to the Winston Salem Southbound Railway which allows access to both of the dominant rail lines. “Both lines have been great to work with,” said Elkin.
Elkin said that he cannot discuss specific companies yet due to nondisclosure agreements. But “once we finish rehabilitating the line, we have a few companies who are interested,” he said.
Foxville and Northern has also been in contact with the town and Badin and Stanly County economic developers. “We are willing to do anything we can to help out in area,” said Elkin.
County Manager Andy Lucas sees positive options for the rail line.
“This shortline railroad has significant strategic value as it relates to freight pricing and opportunities for businesses considering the Badin Business Park,” said Lucas. “Alternatively, this rail line has the potential to become a tourist attraction for folks visiting Morrow Mountain or the Uwharrie lakes region.”