SC Volvo plant’s rail plan gets its right-of-way from Santee Cooper
Palmetto Railways and state-owned electric utility Santee Cooper have finalized an agreement that will allow construction of a 22.7-mile rail line connecting the Volvo Cars campus in Ridgeville with a private carrier’s transfer station in Cross.
Santee Cooper will give an easement to state-run railroad through mostly timberland it owns along the proposed route. The easement was filed with the Berkeley County Register of Deeds on Sept. 3. The 100-foot-wide easement terminates at Santee Cooper’s Cross Generating Station, which is powered by coal brought to the site by CSX trains.
Volvo plans to send its S60 sedans to the site via the Palmetto Railways route so the Florida-based freight train operator can then haul the vehicles to inland distribution points.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently approved a $25 million grant to Palmetto Railways for construction of the rail line, which was one of the promises the S.C. Commerce Department made to Volvo in 2015 to lure the automaker to the Lowcountry. The project received the go-ahead from federal officials in 2019 and design work and rights-of-way acquisition is underway. The $140 million project will take about 20 months to build once all of the financing is secured.