Off the Tracks 

A proposed rail yard could threaten the Wolf River and Memphis' drinking water.

For years, the Wolf River Conservancy has tried to secure easements on the land surrounding the Wolf River for a future 30-mile greenway along the river's edge.

But Norfolk Southern rail company could throw a major wrench in the river's ecological health if it builds a proposed 1,000-acre transportation facility on a site in rural Fayette County, less than a mile from the Wolf River and the William B. Clark Natural Area. The facility would serve as a place for trains and big rigs to drop off and pick up cargo containers.

The site, one of several Norfolk Southern is considering, is located just east of Rossville, sandwiched between Highway 57 and the Wolf River.

"It's the area where the Memphis Sands are within a couple feet from the surface," said Wolf River Conservancy member Steve Fleegal. "It's right next to the river and the wetlands of the river."

The Memphis Sands aquifer provides the area with drinking water, often touted as some of the cleanest in the country.

"If they had a toxic chemical spill that seeped into the ground, it could contaminate the drinking water, poison the Wolf River, and have a drastic effect on the ecological system," said Jack Herb with the South Fayette Alliance, a group formed to protest Norfolk Southern's selection of this site.

Even Rossville mayor James Gaither is opposed to the rail yard's site selection, mostly due to the monumental increase in truck traffic that would be coming through his town.

"Highway 57 is a two-lane highway," Gaither said. "This is not a good thing for a residential community. I don't see how they can get away with it."

Norfolk Southern is predicting the site would draw about 2,000 trucks a day, or about 200 trucks per hour during a 10-hour day.

Norfolk Southern spokesperson Susan Terpay said the rail company is considering other locations.

"We're still evaluating sites, and we're looking at some other sites in the Rossville area," Terpay said.

Those opposed to the project have suggested a few alternate sites, among them Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park in Memphis and Chickasaw Trails Industrial Park in Fayette County.

"We're not in a position to pick a site for them," Herb said. "We're just protecting our community by encouraging them to go to an existing industrial park or a rural area with good access to four-lane highways."


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

    • Fun Money

      Locals, tourists invest in good times here.
    • Hate Speech

      Rhodes student pens ‘hate-filled’ opinion piece on alt-right site.


Intermission Impossible

Dream Home Heartache: "A Doll's House" is as Modern as it Ever Was

News Blog

Former Chef Convicted in Child Abuse Case

News Blog

Bike Share Program Seeks Director

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Namazu

From My Seat

No Fun League (2017)

Tiger Blue

Tigers 44, Southern Illinois 31

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies trade Troy Daniels to Phoenix

Music Blog

Listen Up: Louise Page


More by Bianca Phillips

Readers also liked…

© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation