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EXCLUSIVE: End of the line for Huntsville railroad?

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A Huntsville-Madison County Railroad train at the line's offices along Woodson Street near downtown. W.T. Martin/HNW

A Huntsville-based shortline railroad is facing the end of its existence if legislation currently pending in the house of representatives in Montgomery passes.

HB-139, proposed by Rep. Mike Ball (R-AL 10th Dist), calls for the dissolving of the Huntsville-Madison County Railroad Authority and the dividing of its assets between the City of Huntsville and Madison County.

The Authority operates the Huntsville-Madison County Railroad, a line which runs nearly 14 miles from Woodson Street near downtown to Hobbs Island Road in Madison County.

The publicly-owned line earns most of its current revenue from car storage on its south end near Green Cove Road and from the transload facility at the Woodson Street offices.

A reporter's recent visit to the Green Cove tracks found dozens of cars in storage, each thought to be generating rental revenue for the line.

Cars sit stored on HMCR tracks visible from South Memorial Parkway. W.T. Martin/HNW

The HMCR was created in 1984 from trackage owned by the old Seaboard System Railroad.

HNW is attempting to determine what is behind the effort to close the railroad.

Calls to Rep. Ball's office in Montgomery and Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle's office have not been returned. An employee of the HMCR said General Manager Karen Monroe would not be available for comment until Thursday at the earliest.

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