Stage set to sell or abandon Carolina Southern Railroad

File image of a train on the Carolina Southern Railroad

The Carolina Southern Railroad may be for sale.

An agreement has been reached for the owners to sell or abandon the long-dormant railroad.

Carolina Southern has been mostly idle since August 2011, because some of its bridges were identified as substandard by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Many area businesses relied on that rail line for shipping their products in and out, but Carolina Southern owner Ken Pippin said he didn't have the $2 million it would take to fix the bridges.

Last year, a two-state committee made up of officials from Horry and other counties filed a complaint with the Federal Surface Transportation Board, claiming Carolina Southern had violated its obligations as a rail carrier by shutting down.

They wanted the government to force Pippin to either fix the bridges or sell the line.

Pippin claimed he didn't do anything wrong.

Wednesday, the committee announced an agreement among all the parties, setting the stage for Pippin to either sell or abandon nearly 70 miles of railroad.

The committee's statement said negotiations are underway and a sale could be worked out no later than mid-September.

If they can't find a buyer and have to abandon the line, it could take an additional couple of months.

The agreement also calls for Pippin to resolve the issue of unpaid rent he owes to Horry County.