By REGINA BUTLER
Progress Staff Writer
The train whistles have fallen silent in Pontotoc.
The wailing sound of a lonesome train whistle has been hushed, the rumbling sound of a midnight train has been stopped, and an era of train traffic has gone forever.
Pontotoc’s only train track has been abandoned and removed.
The 42-mile segment of railroad has officially been abandoned by Mississippi Tennessee Railroad LLC.
“Hust Brothers out of California t are getting the track rails, all steel portion of the rail and cross ties that they are interested in purchasing,” said Randy Cundiff, vice president of Ironhorse Resources, Inc. out of O’Fallon, Illinois.
“However, we set aside four or five miles just south of New Albany for the Wellspring project in case they need that for the megasite.
“We have retained that part of the corridor just north of Ecru be stopping a mile north of Ecru.”
The reason for abandoning the 42 mile segment of rail line that runs between New Albany in Union County to Houston in Chickasaw county is economics.
“Car volume on this segment has radically declined from 3,000+ loads a year to the current estimated loads of about 500 for the current year,” said Cundiff.
A mother’s memories
But for one lady, the removal of the train tracks seems more personal.
Aneita Carnes Waldrop, who lives on Montgomery Street, has heard the train rumble through the hollow beside her home for 46 years.
“It was hard for me to realize there wouldn’t be a track through here any more. It was sad when they started taking it up. I guess progress has to go on.”
Aneita said her grandchildren have spent a lot of time walking those tracks with their step-grandfather.
She never minded living beside the tracks and hearing the clicketty-clack of the steel wheels popping the rails and the blaring horn sound in the night. It was a routine part of her day.
“The train never bothered me, it was company, I guess. I watched it a lot, it was fun.”
Not only have her grandchildren enjoyed the tracks, but Aneta’s children have grown up with them.
“It is like a piece of their childhood is leaving.”
Aneita said she hopes the land the tracks were on won’t be left to grow up and be unsightly.
“I’m hoping something can be done with it to benefit the community.”