Covering all the tracks: the Assembly Street Railroad Project

Train tracks | Photo via @tara._.morgan

Trains. Am I right? 

These locomotives are great when it comes to moving products + people around but can be pretty inconvenient when you’re running late to something and get stopped at one of the many tracks downtown. There is hope beyond the caboose. Plans are in the works that might help alleviate this train versus traffic tribulation.

The SC Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration + the Federal Railroad Administration have been working together to create solutions to the problematic train situation.

Patiently, waiting on a train | Gif via GIPHY

In 2009, a feasibility study was completed for the Assembly Street Railroad Separation Project.  From this study, nine possible alternatives were identified as Preliminary Alternatives for rail separation, consolidation + improvements along the Norfolk Southern and CSX rail lines in and around downtown Columbia. 

🚂 Alternative 1.5

Alternative 1.5 involves consolidating Norfolk Southern (NS) tracks into the CSX corridor through Capital City Mill District. The western NS SC Line would be abandoned between Rosewood Drive + the NS R-Line. This alternative also includes road bridges over railways.

🚂 Alternative 1.6

Alternative 1.6 involves consolidating NS tracks into the CSX corridor through the Capital City Mill District. The western NS SC-Line would be abandoned between Rosewood Drive and the NS R-Line. Slightly different from 1.5, this would include rail bridges over the roadway.

🚂 Alternative 3

Alternative 3 involves consolidating a portion of the CSX AKA-Line into the western NS SC-Line. The CSX line through the Capital City Mill District would be abandoned between the NS R-Line and Assembly Street. This includes proposed rail bridges over the roadway.

🚂 Alternative 320 

Alternative 320 involves consolidating the CSX AKA-Line into the western NS SC-Line. The CSX AKA-Line through the Capital City Mill District would be abandoned to Andrews Yard. Similar to Alternative 3, this includes proposed rail bridges over roadway.  

🚂 Alternative 4 

Alternative 4 involves changes to the existing roadway along Assembly Street but not to the existing rail. This Alternative includes road bridges over the existing lines, including western NS SC-Line + the CSX AKA-Line.

🚂 Alternative 6

Alternative 6 involves consolidating the western and eastern NS SC-Lines into the CSX AKA-Line through the Capital City Mill District. The NS SC-Lines would be abandoned between Rosewood Drive and NS R-Line. Alternative 6 proposes rail bridges over Whaley and Assembly Streets + an Assembly Street road bridge over the NS R-Line.

🚂 Alternative 6.5

Alternative 6.5 involves consolidating the western and eastern NS SC-Lines into the CSX AKA-Line through the Capital City Mill District. The NS SC-Lines would be abandoned between Rosewood Drive and the NS R-Line. This option proposes road bridges over rail. 

There is also the possibility of a Huger Street connector, which could be a stand alone alternative or in conjunction with one of the other alternatives mentioned above. Or, there is a potential no-build option being considered as well. 

The team is currently reassessing the alternatives and identifying additional feasible alternatives to move forward with environmental documentation and preliminary design.

The area affected includes approx. 1.2 square miles and covers everything from Blossom Street to the northwest and Norfolk Southern’s R-Line to Pickens Street. Then Norfolk Southern’s SC-Line southeast of Rosewood Drive to J.B. Owen’s Airport to the south to Catawba Circle + Heyward Street by Dreyfuss Road + Assembly Street to the west. If you need a visual, the map below can help give you a better idea. 

Map via Assembly Street Railroad Separation Project 

The team is now asking the public for its opinion on the Assembly Street Railroad Separation Project. Public comments will be accepted from now until Nov. 11. Those who are interested in sending in comments can review the nine proposed plans and weigh-in on each one here

You can also email comments here or send in written comments to the following address. 

Assembly Street Railroad Separation Project

P.O.  Box 191 

Columbia, SC 29202-0191. 

Follow the progress of the SCDOT Assembly Street Railroad Separation Project project on Facebook.