|Siding has not been used in more than a decade|
Photo by Morris Stephenson:
The old Norfolk Southern railroad tracks on the north end of Angle Bridge will be removed in the next couple of weeks and the road repaved as part of a larger North Main Street road project.
Friday, August 8, 2014
By MORRIS STEPHENSON - Special to the News-Post
After 75 years of crossing the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks at the north end of Angle Bridge in Rocky Mount, motorists will soon have "smooth sailing" across the bumps.
The railroad tracks will be removed as part of a repaving project for North Main Street scheduled to begin next week, according to Rocky Mount Town Manager James Ervin.
"The siding (track) hasn't been used for more than a decade, and the railroad has said we can remove them," Ervin said. "We're going to repave that section of road once we get the tracks cut out."
"People have been complaining for years about the rough railroad crossing, and now that problem is finally going to be solved," said Jon Snead, newly elected councilman.
Cecil Mason, director of the town's public works department, is working on the engineering aspect of the project to make sure the water drains properly, Ervin said.
A larger paving project is set to begin next week on North Main Street from Benjamin Franklin Middle School to Ferguson Land and Lumber.
The railroad tracks once served the ROW (Royal Oak) Window Company, Franklin Grocery and Grain, and Ideal Lumber Company, according to Cecil Hodges, the owner of Ideal Building Supply. "I think the tracks have been there since before I was born," he said.
Hodges remembers when train cars loaded with logs were unloaded at Tom Greer's veneer plant.
"They were making pallets for the Navy in World War II," he said.
His father, Cecil Hodges Sr., worked for Tom Greer for a number of years. Then the senior Hodges and Harry Law purchased the business in 1948 and changed the name to Ideal Lumber Company.
In 1976, Hodges and Andrew Boone purchased the company and changed the name to Ideal Building Supply, which still depended on the tracks for loads of lumber.
But when North Main Street was widened to four lanes, Hodges moved his business to a new location, across from the town's new emergency services building.
"Removing that section of track will tremendously improve the North Main Street entrance into town," said Matt Hankins, assistant town manager.