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CATS Long Term Transit Plan - Silver, Red, Airport Lines

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5 minutes ago, Seaboard Fellow said:

That’s a makeshift bumping post. Looks like all of the customers north of this location are dormant or are no longer being rail served. CATS just needs the right politicians to champion the Red Line.  That’s how most of these matters get resolved. 

But this line goes all the way to Winston, surely the rest of it isn't just sitting there growing weeds?

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10 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

But this line goes all the way to Winston, surely the rest of it isn't just sitting there growing weeds?

I just received confirmation that the line is out of service north of Cornelius. I’m not sure if it’s out of service all the way to Winston. I would imagine there are probably industries closer to Winston still being served. The line has not been abandoned. 

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Sort of is. I believe I recall reading that the bridge over the Yadkin River near Clemmons on this line is either out of commission entirely or has some pretty severe restrictions on its use. The line is in pretty sorry shape.

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I am pretty sure there are still customers served both north and south from Barber Junction but I am not exactly sure where. Technically the O-line originally went from Charlotte to Statesville, and the part from Mooresville thru Troutman on to Statesville was abandoned and reverted to the original owners decades ago. The line from Mooresville to Winston-Salem is the L-line. So if the O line is closed north of Cornelius, that means Cornelius to Mooresville.

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The information in the FRA crossing database reflects 1-2 trains per day consistently from Mooresville north as of 2017. South of Mooresville the FRA crossing database reflects 2 trains per week or zero trains as of 2017. 

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I think it is great the Silver line is planned for Belmont and like the idea that Silver and Blue eventually could be extended.  Red Line or something to Rock Hill look a long way off.  Funding is going to be hard for any of it.

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1 hour ago, orulz said:

I am pretty sure there are still customers served both north and south from Barber Junction but I am not exactly sure where. Technically the O-line originally went from Charlotte to Statesville, and the part from Mooresville thru Troutman on to Statesville was abandoned and reverted to the original owners decades ago. The line from Mooresville to Winston-Salem is the L-line. So if the O line is closed north of Cornelius, that means Cornelius to Mooresville.

It's a shame what happened between Mooresville and Statesville.  The tracks are long gone.  

Isn't NGK Ceramics the last major customer north of Cornelius?  Or do they only ship in one direction, north along the L-line to Winston?

The regional planning authority or whomever needs to move fast to protect the existing ROW from Mooresville to the planned Gateway Station in uptown!

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It's a shame what happened between Mooresville and Statesville.  The tracks are long gone.  
Isn't NGK Ceramics the last major customer north of Cornelius?  Or do they only ship in one direction, north along the L-line to Winston?
The regional planning authority or whomever needs to move fast to protect the existing ROW from Mooresville to the planned Gateway Station in uptown!
Any trains serving Mooresville would originate from Barber Junction, which is where this line meets the NS line halfway between Salisbury and Statesville.

I doubt commuter rail from Charlotte to Statesville will ever be a thing. Mooresville is about as far as will ever make sense.

Norfolk Southern likes to talk big about how strategically important this line is, as a wholly owned alternative to their lease on the NCRR, but I suspect they are just using it as a tool to negotiate a lower rate on the NCRR lease and posturing for a bigger payout when they do eventually sell off the line. At the end of the day, if this line really were so strategically important to them, then they wouldn't be letting it rot like this.
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York County won't get light rail. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't make any practical sense. While there is a substantial amount of growth down there, they don't have anywhere near the density to justify the expense of operating 7 minute headways for an additional 20 miles on the Blue Line. I don't mean that to sound like I'm talking crap - but there are a ton of greenfield sites between Carowinds and Fort Mill... and even more between Fort Mill and Rock Hill. Between greenfield sites and subdivisions, there aren't many logical places to create stops. Further, they will have to come up with some money and I'm skeptical that it would actually happen. I do, however, think they could probably find a way to fund commuter rail. I think that makes a ton of sense if a location can be found.

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While the Silver Line, Red Line, and any more BLEs are many years off, Lake Norman could see a big project much sooner in the form of BRT stations and access ramps to/from 77 express lanes.  NCDOT has already recommended funding another park-and-ride on Hambright Rd in Huntersville, taking advantage of the direct-connect ramps being built now on 77.

Edited by southslider

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11 hours ago, orulz said:

Any trains serving Mooresville would originate from Barber Junction, which is where this line meets the NS line halfway between Salisbury and Statesville.

I doubt commuter rail from Charlotte to Statesville will ever be a thing. Mooresville is about as far as will ever make sense.

Norfolk Southern likes to talk big about how strategically important this line is, as a wholly owned alternative to their lease on the NCRR, but I suspect they are just using it as a tool to negotiate a lower rate on the NCRR lease and posturing for a bigger payout when they do eventually sell off the line. At the end of the day, if this line really were so strategically important to them, then they wouldn't be letting it rot like this.

Commuter rail from Statesville will never exist because the tracks north of Mooresville were ripped out a long time ago.

Commuter rail from Salisbury or Kannapolis to uptown makes the most sense now that the NCRR is double-tracked.  The NCRR should play hardball with NS about commuter rail along this corridor in the next contract.

Edited by ChessieCat

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1 hour ago, ChessieCat said:

Commuter rail from Salisbury or Kannapolis to uptown makes the most sense now that the NCRR is double-tracked.  The NCRR should play hardball with NS about commuter rail along this corridor in the next contract.

I am not sure hardball needs to be played at all on the NCRR. I am no legal guy but my read on the lease agreement with NS is that NCDOT can run as many passenger trips as they want on the NCRR, provided that they don’t interfere with NS’s capacity NS had at the time the lease was signed. My impression is that the double tracking has created gobs of unused capacity that NCDOT (or its agents) are already entitled to use.

Having said that, its certainly possible I have misinterpreted the terms of the lease, or there are some choke points that still need to be resolved (e.g. the Charlotte yard entrance). I’ll also admit that I am puzzled that NCDOT has been so slow to increase Piedmont service — I would have thought we would have had 6 round trips a day (plus the Carolinian) once the PIP was finished (half a billion for two addition round trips a day feels awfully steep)

Regardless of my ability to read the lease, running passenger service on the NCRR should be a much easier negotiation than doing it on privately owned tracks.

RE the O line: it seems clear to me that NS does not see any future in the line. NS is keeping it entirely holding for the negotiating leverage it provides for NCRR renewal 25(?) years down the road. I wonder if some of the Charlotte commuter rail delimma could be solved by providing NS with an option to puchase 1/4 of the NCRR right of way (enough for two new tracks to be built). Its getting to the point where the construction of two new mainline tracks in existing ROW may be cheaper than reactivating the O-line for mainline service given its growing list of problems (which in addition to bridge issues and whatever is happening in Corneilus includes the tracks running through the Haines Mall parking lot in Winston). The downside of this strategy is that somebody (NCDOT)  will need to pay the maintanence costs on the passenger tracks, ticket revenue alone ain't gonna do it. 

I do agree that the embrace of ‘Precision Scheduled Railroading’ by nearly all of the Class 1s means that NS might be more likely to sell the O line now than they have ever been before (despite what they are telling CATS). Their Barber Junction stub running schennegans are going to be even more awkward if the Asheville district gets shortlined (which is rumored).

Edited by kermit
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18 hours ago, orulz said:

Sort of is. I believe I recall reading that the bridge over the Yadkin River near Clemmons on this line is either out of commission entirely or has some pretty severe restrictions on its use. The line is in pretty sorry shape.

The bridge of the Yadkin in clemmons is still being used, there is a Poindexter lumber and I think two other companies that utilize those tracks. They are serviced from the Yadkin side as the track is shut down about three miles east of the river and there is no activity on the tracks into Winston along 158. 

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13 minutes ago, Popsickle said:

 and there is no activity on the tracks into Winston along 158. 

Yup, IIRC the grade crossing signals were all bagged along 158 last summer.

Edited by kermit

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9 minutes ago, Popsickle said:

The bridge of the Yadkin in clemmons is still being used, there is a Poindexter lumber and I think two other companies that utilize those tracks. They are serviced from the Yadkin side as the track is shut down about three miles east of the river and there is no activity on the tracks into Winston along 158. 

So The O-line/L-lne is only in service between Cornelius and Clemmons and everything is fed to the NS Asheville sub at Barber Junction?

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6 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

So The O-line/L-lne is only in service between Cornelius and Clemmons and everything is fed to the NS Asheville sub at Barber Junction?

Yup, I believe that Barber Junction is the only way to serve those freight customers since the gravel pile was put down in Cornelius and the Wiston end is shut down tight.

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11 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

So The O-line/L-lne is only in service between Cornelius and Clemmons and everything is fed to the NS Asheville sub at Barber Junction?

I can't speak on the Asheville portion but I am fairly certain the only Cornelius to clemmons route is the O/L. 

 

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13 minutes ago, kermit said:

Yup, I believe that Barber Junction is the only way to serve those freight customers since the gravel pile was put down in Cornelius and the Wiston end is shut down tight.

So then Pactiv and Southwire in Huntersville ship southward into Charlotte Yard through the Atando wye and onto the NCRR?

Edited by ChessieCat

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6 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

So then Pactiv and Southwire in Huntersville ship southward into Charlotte Yard through the Atando wye and onto the NCRR?

That is the only steel on steel option at the moment.

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My understanding based on what I have read here is that customers south of Cornelius are served from Charlotte (the northernmost customer would be FXI Foam) While customers from Mooresville north are served from Barber (Customers include NGK Ceramics and Bay State Milling.) There are no customers between Cornelius and Mooresville so the tracks are being mothballed.

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^Cornelius, Davidson, Mt Mourne, and Mooresville are the most residential areas along the O-line. They will have to band together to get a return on the transit tax dollars they are sending to the County.  The Red Line is up to them.  

Who knows, maybe they can run a heritage trolley between the four towns?  Let's not forget the role that the Charlotte Trolley played in the development of the CATS Blue Line, it's not without precedent...

Edited by ChessieCat
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