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cityboi

Train station will open in DT Greensboro soon

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Thursday, September 8, 2005

Spruced-up Depot to host trains again

By Jim Schlosser

Staff Writer

GREENSBORO -- It has been a long wait between trains downtown.

Cut-and-pasted article removed as per rules. The original source is here.

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... and with my administrative duties out of the way, my response:

Greensboro's old station at Pomona Freight Yard was tiny, old, hidden, and poorly served by public transit - an overall inadequate facility. I've ridden the train through greensboro perhaps a dozen times, and every time the tiny station has been busting at the seams with people. Seriously, the waiting room hardly holds 15 or 20 people. Until now, I've never bothered to get off- why would I get off in the middle of a freight yard? But this changes things.

The new station kicks ass. I've had layovers there on Greyhound buses between Raleigh and Asheville, and it's quite the facility. It has four tracks, two platforms, and is similar in scale to the future West Trade multimodal station planned in Charlotte. If PART's regional rail system is implemented as envisioned, trains from Greensboro to Winston Salem and eventually Burlington and High Point will run to this station every 30 minutes.

In related news, some of the trains serving Greensboro on the 25th and 26th will be cancelled or replaced with bus service, so that crews can connect and test out the new track switches and signals around the station. See the press release from NCDOT here.

So, who's up for an UrbanPlanet meet in Greensboro on Saturday October 1st? The challenge to everyone is: take the train to get there, or a bus if you don't live near a train station. I've been eager for a chance to tour and photograph Elm Street, and this sounds like it!

Drop me an E-mail if you're interested.

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Greensboro has the unusual situation of a station that was far overbuilt originally for a city of 25,000 (at the time) but is more appropriately sized for the city today. It turns out somewhat fortuitous that the station was in a forgetten part of town for 30 years. Otherwise it might have been torn down (ahem) in the name of progress... like some places...

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More Greensboro Depot-related discussion.

Here's a great read about the depot's past. The depot was built in 1927. At one time, as many as 40 trains a day stopped there. When the depot closed in 1979, only one train a day (once northbound and once southbound) was stopping there. Now, three trains run through Greensboro every day: the Charlotte<->Raleigh "Piedmont", the Charlotte<->New York "Carolinian", both state-supported, plus the New Orleans <-> New York "Crescent."

A third state-supported Raleigh<->Charlotte round trip could be just around the corner, a year or so away perhaps. And, according to the article, NCDOT wants to run five daily round-trips a day in the 2010 timeframe, and eight daily by 2015. These are very realistic goals, especially if S. 1516, the Passenger Rail Investement and Improvement Act of 2005 passes - including federal matching grants for rail infrastructure projects, similar to the FTA New Starts program for transit.

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After the depot opens, the next question that begs asking is... what happens with the big parking lot on the other side of Washington Street? It's one of the largest surface lots left in downtown Greensboro, and it's in a very prominent location...

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I think that car lot will either be a mixture of retail and residential or it could be a future site for a hub hotel for the depot.

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This is great news for G-boro. The station over by UNCG is way to small. I take the train to Raleigh and Wilson alot, and that station is always packed. People usually wait outside since nobody can really fit in that waiting room. Since Lexington dosen't have an Amtrak Station I'll probley just ride over there that day. I visited the station for my first time during the MLK Paraide this year and I must say it is nice(and big).

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The station's grand opening is almost upon us!

The press release can be read here on the NCDOT Rail Division home page.

Just so you don't get lost, NCDOT has been kind enough to provide us with a map:

GROinteriorDiagram.gif

This is quite an exciting project.

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Greensboro has the unusual situation of a station that was far overbuilt originally for a city of 25,000 (at the time) but is more appropriately sized for the city today. It turns out somewhat fortuitous that the station was in a forgetten part of town for 30 years. Otherwise it might have been torn down (ahem) in the name of progress... like some places...

I'm still mad about that situation in Charlotte.

:angry:

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