Salem County Railroad's Facelift Expected to Boost Tourism, EconomyLast Edited:
An old railroad is about to get a new look.
On Tuesday, October 31st, the Salem County Board of Chosen Freeholders officially broke ground on a new railway project.
“The project encompasses miles of railroad," said Bob Vanderslice, Salem County freeholder director. "It’s estimated to cost about a million dollars a mile.”
However, to counter the costs, the county was able to get a grant from the State of New Jersey for $3 million.
“This will get us the railroad repaired to the point where they can travel at a standard rate of speed to make it more efficient to operate the railroad,” said Vanderslice.
The whole point is to promote economic development in Salem County — specifically in the city of Salem.
“Currently we have one client who’s probably going to take over the Heinz building," said Vanderslice.
"They are specialty concrete manufacturers and they will bring in train carloads of sand. That’s what it’s going to be used for primarily in the city of Salem.”
It’s estimated to cost about a million dollars a mile.
But, the freeholders also believe it’ll bring economic development along the railroad corridor.
“We see other opportunities because the rail will go all the way into the port," said Vanderslice. "So, it should give us connections between our port and ports in other locations in New Jersey.”
When the railroad isn’t being used for commerce, officials say they hope to see the new set of tracks used for tourism.
“Tourism would be perhaps a railroad car or two or three that would accentuate our wineries in Salem County," said Vanderslice.
"It would travel at a slow rate of speed up to Swedesboro and perhaps there’s a restaurant up there that they could stop and enjoy dinner.”
According to Vanderslice, the project has been years in the making.
“I jokingly say, we’ve been working on the railroad all the livelong day," said Vanderslice.
"I’ve been a freeholder for six years and we’ve been working on it long before I became a freeholder. It looks like we’re finally going to get this done.”
The work on the railroad is expected to be completed by the end of March 2018.
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