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Rural businesses may be key to short line survival

10:56 AM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The survival of short line railroads in the state may depend on small manufacturers and Tennessee farmers, who still use the older tracks and trains to move products in and out of rural areas.

Often less than a hundred miles, short line railroads are typically locally owned and operated and trains are smaller and move slower than on larger railroads.

Ed Harlan, of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, told WPLN-FM these lines are critical to people in smaller rural counties and he's been out meeting with farmers to drum up new customers for the short lines.

Matt Prince, manager of Tennessee Southern Railroad, which runs through Pulaski, Columbia and North Alabama, said it's been a struggle to keep the short lines open.

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