thetrick

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  1. FRA only restricts "light" passenger rail vehicles from running concurrently with freight. Amtrak runs with freight all the time. The Red Line was always designed to use heavy weight passenger vehicles (like Amtrak). The real problem is capacity and that CATS seemed to totally disregard Norfolk Southerns ownership of the tracks and what their future needs might be. Currently NS runs two trains daily up the O line it would get very expensive to build enough track to accommodate concurrent operations with out delays to the passenger service, which would obviously be unacceptable to passengers. What it's going to boil down to is that the Red Line needs to be double tracked at least up to Gerdau Ameristeel if not all the way to Hunterville, and who is going to pay for that? I am a big passenger rail supporter, and support most of CATS plans, but they screwed up the Red Line not covering all the bases and making some unfounded arrogant assumptions about what they could do with other peoples property. If the Red Line project was farther along and had strong support and a funding plan I doubt the grade crossing separation could have been killed so easily. TH
  2. thetrick

    Aquarium at Concord Mills

    Got to check out the Aquarium at a contractors preview. It was really nice, I was very impressed with the quality of the exhibits. I don't know if I would go very often at those prices, but the season pass might not be bad if you have kids. They will defiantly catch out-of-towners that are here for races and other events and are looking for something to do at any cost. TH
  3. thetrick

    Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

    Drove past the Old NS intermodal yard, looks pretty much emptied out, only a few trailers. Is the new one in operation already?
  4. thetrick

    Charlotte Center City Streetcar Network

    There is no technical reason you can't run a light rail train on a street car line. Run express light rail trains that bypass the slower street cars. Run these express trains from the outer most station skipping the inner stations. These light rail express trains could diverge back on to the blue line downtown. Or more to the point, why cant we have both a street car and light rail. TH
  5. thetrick

    Aquarium at Concord Mills

    I'm can't help but be unconcerned about the impact this aquarium might have on an larger aquarium that is not planed for, paid for or even though of in any realistic sense by anyone that can make it happen. I can take my kids to this one. TH
  6. thetrick

    Red Line Regional Rail

    In general there still is mass transit spending, but look at the size of those cities. Or more to the point their urban density. I don't see much comparable to Charlotte on there. I agree the long term plan was way too ambitious, and a cool off period might be in order. I hope the BLE will be a success and merit more light rail. But I honestly believe Charlotte's low cost of living is what dooms it as far as mass transportation. Land is cheap and developers are building all the hell all over the place. South blvd and the university area were the only two high density areas we had, Independance blvd is a patchwork. To me the Redline was a "good idea" but the numbers just don't shake out. TH
  7. thetrick

    Red Line Regional Rail

    I hate to be a stick in the mud and this is really directed at all the transit threads on this site, but mass transit mega projects are OVER. I don't know if it's a collective state of denial, or we (my self included) just enjoy dreaming about trains and transit plans. There simply is no money anymore, for anything really. BLE coming in at 1.1Billion even after it was trimmed back is not a good sign for any other route. The ARRA money for upgrades to the Piedmont for expanded service only came in a rescue package from the federal government to bail out a recession. No gateway station money, no streetcar money. Not even a consideration of running light rail down independance. I think people fail to realise what the tax cuts and overspending of the last 20 years have done to the federal budget, and the states just can't afford these sorts of projects on their own. The Redline has low ridership projections, and a very high cost per rider (I personally think the ridership would actually be better). Additionally it is apposed by the company that owns the track! And where is the outcry from the people it would serve the most? Why do local town politicians not feel pressure to get things moving? Because frankly the Redline would serve mostly white upper middle class areas that do not have a culture of using mass transit. They don't want it and they really don't want to pay for it. I am a rail advocate,a rail fan and love trains in all ways, but I have to put on my reality hat and realize what will and will not happen. TH
  8. This is better than I expected these days. I'm glad they are going to a push-pull operation, should simplify track work and operations. Frankly the grade separation had a pretty damn high cost for what it accomplished (operationally). Clearly you can operate passenger trains through the crossing (as they do now) so it's not really a show stopper for anything, just not really an optimal configuration. With expanded service and increased ridership hopefully the pressure for a real solution will come.
  9. thetrick

    Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

    You should take a trip to the University area, they have done quite a bit of work on both sides of the road north and south of Harris. Just about every tree and sign is gone. They have built a retaining wall in front of Showmars, and there is a contractor staging area at the site of the JW Clay parking garage.
  10. Kind of. The Orr Rd grade crossing will be removed. Where Grier and Orr now intersect at that funky wye there will be a normal 4 way intersection with Grier being extended over the tracks to Old Concord Rd.
  11. Finally some visible work on the ARRA improvements, or what the DOT now calls PIP (Piedmont Improvement Program). I was taking the family to get some dinner last night and noticed signs up that they are closing Caldwell Rd at the grade crossing with NS in a couple days. Did a search on NCDOT site and looks like recently the have awarded a whole bunch of contracts that are starting NOW! NCDOT Awards $24.9 Million Contract for Railbed Construction in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties NCDOT Awards $13.7 Million Contract for Grier Road over Norfolk Southern Railroad in Mecklenburg County NCDOT Awards $4.9 Million Contract for Caldwell Road Grade Separation over Norfolk Southern Railroad in Cabarrus County NCDOT Awards $3.4 Million Contract to Extend Caldwell Park Drive in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties NCDOT rail NEWS I am very happy to see this with such a long absence of news. It's going to be an interesting couple years in the university area for transportation with this the BLE and finishing 485 TH
  12. thetrick

    Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

    I'm guessing they look more at the economic tax implications of NOT fixing that bridge. I imagine that the mentioned CSA's federal tax contribution is orders of magnitude more than all of NC. But still....for just one bridge... damn.
  13. thetrick

    North Carolina Intercity Rail Transit

    Finally some visible work on the ARRA improvements, or what the DOT now calls PIP (Piedmont Improvement Program). I was taking the family to get some dinner last night and noticed signs up that they are closing Caldwell Rd at the grade crossing with NS in a couple days. Did a search on NCDOT site and looks like recently the have awarded a whole bunch of contracts that are starting NOW! NCDOT Awards $24.9 Million Contract for Railbed Construction in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties NCDOT Awards $13.7 Million Contract for Grier Road over Norfolk Southern Railroad in Mecklenburg County NCDOT Awards $4.9 Million Contract for Caldwell Road Grade Separation over Norfolk Southern Railroad in Cabarrus County NCDOT Awards $3.4 Million Contract to Extend Caldwell Park Drive in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties NCDOT rail NEWS I am very happy to see this with such a long absence of news. It's going to be an interesting couple years in the university area for transportation with this the BLE and finishing 485 TH
  14. thetrick

    University City Projects/News

    I agree. U-City will take longer than the south side to organically grow from where it is to more urban high density along the LTR. It might even take a couple cycles of build and re-build. Thats why the car lots don't bother me, they are pretty cheap (comparatively) investment and are more likely converted to denser use in the long run.
  15. Well as long as we are discussing station options, here is mine. The Green line is all Amtrak services. This station would serve the BLE Redline and Amtrak all in one station.