Local News

Residents Launch Grassroots Campaign Against Proposed Rail Yard

Posted July 30, 2007
Updated July 31, 2007

— Wake County residents launched a grassroots campaign against the construction of a rail yard near Clayton, but railroad company officials said the situation is just a misunderstanding.

The debate centers on 100 acres that stretch along U.S. Highway 70 from Guy Road in Wake County to the Johnston County line.

Neighbors said they worry that the North Carolina Railroad Co. will use its legal authority to take over wetlands and then build a rail yard on them.

Rail officials said their only plans in the area are to improve existing lines.

Llewellyn Beaman, a Johnston County homeowner, described the atmosphere among residents as "fear, just the fear of what is to happen here."

Some neighbors formed a group, which first met Saturday, and launched a Web site to fight the project. The group plans to put up signs and hand out flyers in coming weeks, said Beaman.

She and other neighbors don't want all the development that goes along with a rail yard, said Beaman.

"There is a lot of lights. There is noise. There is potential pollution," said Beaman.

Scott Saylor, NC Railroad president, said that his company considered moving a rail yard to the area, but did not get much interest in the project.

"We don't have any plans to take land or condemn property in eastern Wake County," said Saylor.

Beaman said the company tried to buy her 19-acre farm with an offer that included language about  condemnation. That clause asserts the railroad's authority to condmen her land, but offers to purchase it to avoid the time and money of a legal battle.

Saylor said the offer contains standard contract language. The railroad is always looking for land and thought that Beaman wanted to sell, said Saylor.

The NC Railroad Co. owns and manages more than 300 miles of rail that crosses the state from Morehead City on the coast to Charlotte. Sixty freight trains and eight passenger trains travel on its lines daily.


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  • Slip Kid Jul 31, 2007

    This story is, unfortunately, typical of WRAL It offers little details or research into getting details and appears to be alarmist. This story also brings out the, unfortunately, typical response of the boarders here, lots of opinions with no facts or knowledge to back them up.

    Otherwise, sounds like the locals are organizing for any untoward actions, but WRAL promoting this to the entire Triangle seems a bit over the top. I hope the local folks affected by any actual plans have their opinions considered.

  • parlexus Jul 31, 2007

    North Carolina Rail Road a division of DOT can use wetlands to build this rail yard folks. They have the power to transfer or trade area of wetlands from one property to another. They do not have to abide by the rules everyone else has to. They put up a cell tower and road in a spand of 2 days without the regular permitting process that would take months for most people.

  • Chester Drawers Jul 31, 2007

    Even if the railroad doesn't build a yard their there is still going to be more noise in the area in the future. They're not building that second track for no reason. They have plans to run many more trains on that line in the future.

  • svaraj38758 Jul 31, 2007

    Could be some sort of plan to expand the tracks sort of like the southern portion of Rocky Mount where there is about three parallel tracks. I guess its some sort of switching location or perhaps where they store railcars to pick up as needed. Lots of them. I really don't know. Plus, Rocky Mount isn't located at a junction, like Selma or Goldsboro. Although, from my understanding the line that used to run from Wilmington up into Virginia is no longer in use. I guess the main north-south line that basically parallels I-95 is handling the vast majority of the eastern seaboard traffic.

  • shine Jul 31, 2007

    The Railroad can do whatever they want too. Hope it doesn't happen to the folks that don't want it there...... You can't stop them - you might as well try to sue Washington DC. Its sad but true.

  • OpinionOnEverything Jul 30, 2007


    Go back to sleep folks. Even the big bad railroad can't fill in a wetland. It's aginst the law!

    But if the railroad wanted to condemn land for a railyard, it could, and it should if it's in the economic interests of the state. Besides, if you chose to live near the tracks up to a mile away, you should know there's going to be some noise.

  • smitty Jul 30, 2007

    Mass hysteria.

  • imrickjamesbitch Jul 30, 2007

    If they were to condemn the land, then how could they themselves build on it? Furthermore, there is NOTHING right there at Guy Rd that would make me think the railroad would have any kind of advantage by building a railyard there. There is no rail junctions there. The closest one is in Smithfield. Would be nice to have a station there for going into Raleigh or Smithfield.