Union County has gone into the railroad business, if only to a very slight degree.
The county has purchased a 40-foot-long former railroad tank car and buried it across County Road 59 this past week.
Road crews had had problems with the old culvert and resulting erosion and needed a replacement.
Road Manager Scottie Wigington said they learned a company converts old tank cars into culvert equivalents, removing internal parts, cutting off the ends and welding shut any openings.
The eight-foot, eight-inch diameter tank car, which is made of steel nearly an inch thick and only cost a couple of hundred dollars more than a traditional galvanized steel culvert, is expected to last close to 100 years as opposed to the 20-year life of the steel culvert.
Since the car was too heavy to lift with available equipment, it was pushed off the transport truck and rolled into place.
Wigington said the county will consider using more of the tank cars.
road, supervisors, Union County