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      Horry County wants railroad back on track

      Horry County is trying to get its rail service back on track , but the future remains uncertain, especially now that Horry County could take legal action against its only current service, the Carolina Southern Railroad.

      "How long do we sit there and wait to be paid when we haven't been paid? So, we're basically evicting him, and it ' s over," said Horry County Councilman Gary Loftus.

      When a Wednesday 5pm deadline passed, Horry County cut ties with Carolina Southern Railroad after it's failure to pay $150,000 worth of lease payments.

      Now, the county has to decide whether to take the company to court.

      "We have to calculate whether it's worth going to court to try and get , and whether the effort is worth the reward," Loftus said.

      However, Loftus said, what is worth the effort, is how to get more than 90 miles of railroad tracks usable again. That means bridges will need to be fixed under new federal regulations.

      Since the Carolina Southern track hasn't been operating for nearly two years , it has affected the way manufacturers have to do business in the area.

      "It's costing them significantly more dollars to have to bring in raw materials over the road instead of by rail," said Brad Lofton, director of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp oration .

      And according to Lofton, the effects don't stop there.

      "It's also having an impact on our road infrastructure , and when you can bring in raw materials over the railroad, that takes trucks off the road. I t increases the life of our existing highways," Lofton said.

      Horry County hopes to resolve the problem by the end of this year. In the meantime, Horry County Council has been working with other groups in North and South Carolina to get the railroad back on track.

      Finding a resolution is also what Carolina Southern Railroad wants to do.

      A statement issued to WPDE NewsChannel 15 by Brittain Law Firm, P.A., on behalf of Carolina Southern Railroad , read, "Carolina Southern hopes to meet its obligations to the County as part of a larger resolution of all issues concerning the operation of the railroad in the last few difficult years and moving forward."