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cowboy_wilhelm

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cowboy_wilhelm last won the day on September 11 2012

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About cowboy_wilhelm

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  1. Public meeting maps for the I-85 widening are now available. Apparently the new on-ramp from 321 that isn't finished yet is already out-dated.
  2. It's going to be a mess. The Norfolk Southern mainline crosses I-85 three times, twice within about three miles.
  3. I guess now wouldn't be a good time to mention the upcoming widening of I-85 to 321? Public meetings announced for 5/21 and 5/22, but no maps yet. Construction is still a few years off.
  4. Speaking of 485, are there any plans yet to address the one-lane funnel to 85 south on the airport side? I know the left lane drop was recently removed, and there was talk of reducing 85 SB to 3 lanes at the Sam Wilson Rd exit to make room for two lanes from 485. I figured they would happen around the same time.
  5. First, SC started raising their gas tax. Now they're talking about passenger rail? What is this madness?
  6. Based on this schedule from 1964 for the Carolina Special, it looks like Saluda was faster up the mountain than the Old Fort Loops, but a little slower down. These schedules also included a lot more stops than they would today. South North Milepost Biltmore 11:27 16:40 436 Spartanburg 13:55 14:15 503.4 2:28 2:25 67.4 East West Milepost Biltmore 11:30 15:09 436 Valdese 13:44 12:15 504 2:14 2:54 68
  7. Saluda was an exception where trains operated significantly faster going up-grade than down-grade. I think the track limit was 20 uphill, and 8 downhill was strictly for safety reasons. Those rules were also in place when the majority of the downhill trains were mile-long unit coal with 20 million pounds heading to Belmont. Southern surveyed other routes around the turn of the century after acquiring the line, but they didn't come up with anything better (at least that they were willing to spend the money on). The curves between Tryon and Melrose and at Zirconia near Lake Summit would still keep max track speed around 25 mph, maybe slightly faster for passenger rail. I can't find it at the moment, but an old Southern passenger timetable had the roughly 20-mile trip between Tryon and Hendersonville at something around an hour or more. Either Watco wasn't interested in buying or NS didn't want to sell that section when the Blue Ridge Southern RR was formed in 2014. There's only one potential customer (wood chips at Capps Brothers in Landrum) along roughly 40 miles of track, so there's no reason for anyone to buy it. It would make for a good connection and short line between Asheville and Spartanburg, but it would take millions to fill in all of the washed out sections and get the tracks and signals operational again. I'm also not sure why NS is still holding on to it 18 years later, but what else would they do with it? The Town of Tryon has tried to do landscape and interchange improvements in town, and NS has consistently said NO when they wanted to encroach on the RoW. I'm pretty sure there had been some discussion over the years about a western connection at Clinch-Cross, but nothing came to fruition. You could go Charlotte>Spartanburg (with a new wye)>Marion (with said connection)>Asheville without the cost and impact (i.e., years of study) to lay new track.
  8. That's even more unlikely. Max. speed down grade was 8 mph or you were automatically routed on the runaway track! Corporate lawyers would have a stroke if you suggested passenger rail service on a 5% grade.
  9. I know the Garden Parkway was not well received and is dead, but is there any talk of another crossing of the Catawba in southern Gaston/Mecklenburg?
  10. Sweet. Nice. Looks like their dates have been updated on the website to match the construction progress report, which is also indicating they're roughly 10% behind on progress (and 30% over budget on a $107M contract ). Hopefully we'll have a little less rain this year....
  11. What's the status of the 85 widening through Kannapolis in each direction? It's been a couple of months since I went through there and I recall there being more lanes open one direction (southbound?) than the other at the time. I know the section by China Grove is still a ways off from completion.
  12. I don't think most people realize how long it will take for a train to go up the loops. What's accomplished in five minutes on I-40 probably takes half an hour or more by train. Then again, some people may choose to take the train for that very reason i.e., tourists who don't care how fast they get there, but will enjoy the scenery along the way. The bigger issue is the owner, Norfolk Southern. They'll never be on board. They downgraded the S-Line from Asheville to Salisbury a few years ago to Class 2 status, meaning passenger trains are limited to 30 mph at that classification. This was done to reduce maintenance and increase cost savings. The costs to bring the line back of up to Class 3 status will fall on the state and/or Feds. Once the remaining coal units shutter across NC and switch to natural gas NS will probably sell the line to a short-line operator, since there will be very little revenue left on the line. Then again, they may see it as a way to get upgrades and maintenance completed using public monies, or a short-line operator could come in and do the same. Another big issue is the cost of implementing PTC along the line. Once everything is added up, you're looking at a very poor cost/benefit ratio.
  13. Linwood Yard is huge and just a few (relative) miles up the tracks. I wouldn't be surprised if the Charlotte yard was considered redundant in the current era of railroading. But I assumed Charlotte was more for running locals out to industries and spurs in the area? Maybe a bean counter determined it was more efficient to run locals all the way out of Linwood?
  14. I kind of thought it was be vice versa, now that you have to pay to park in Raleigh and there is ample free parking in Cary.
  15. There are four grade separation projects funded along the S-Line in northern Wake County, three of which start construction this year (P-5720, P-5707 and P-5715). I'm assuming NCDOT is planning ahead for the future S-Line reactivation, but who knows if or when that will ever happen. I just hope they aren't spending $67.2 million on those projects and the line never serve more than a few locals.
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