Ask Us: What’s causing noise near train tracks in Salisbury, Spencer area?

Published 12:40 am Monday, October 12, 2020

Editor’s noteAsk Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to

Multiple readers have asked about loud noises and sounds of screeching metal that can be heard late at night and early in the morning near the train tracks that divide Spencer and Salisbury on Long Street.

Conversations with Spencer officials point to the the sound being caused by coupling and decoupling train cars. And Salisbury Development Services Specialist Jessica Harper confirmed a pair of modular units were installed and hooked up to water and sewer service on the Salisbury side with the applicant name Travis Kentley.

Spencer Town Planner Joe Morris said someone reached out to the towns to inform them about the new facility as a courtesy, but Spencer and Salisbury do not regulate railroad operations.

The exact purpose of the units was not clear. The Post made multiple attempts to contact Norfolk Southern about whether the company had moved operations to Salisbury from a shuttered hump yard in Linwood. No requests were returned, with the exception of being directed a line for media inquiries.

Norfolk Southern laid off 85 employees and idled its operations at the Linwood hump yard in May, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The location used a hill and gravity to propel cars through a network of tracks and separate and connect cars.

Norfolk Southern is a major transporter of industrial products, including chemicals, agriculture, and metals and construction materials. In addition, the railroad operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a principal carrier of coal, automobiles, and automotive parts.