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W-S Still Looking to Revive Union Station

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Following the lead of first High Point and now Greensboro, Winston-salem is looking to restore its former bus/rail hub in East Winston to a full-service transit hub (maybe multi-modal). This will be interesting to follow since there are so many obstacles in this station's. way.

1. W-S is not on Amtrak's main line.

2. The owner of Davis Garage (currently in the building) does not want to sell the property

3. WSSU is looking hard at this building for classroom space.

http://journalnow.com/servlet/Satellite?pa...s=1037645509099

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I'm looking for a history lesson. I don't know if anyone on this forum will know this (and I apologize for always asking questions) but what is the history behind determining the passenger rail line through NC back in the day. Why is it that Winston-Salem wasn't included in the first place? For a time pre WWII, when they were probably planning the rail line, it was the largest city in the state. Similarly, why didn't they bring I-85 30 miles further west before turning south to Charlotte instead of going to High Point, a city which has always been about 1/3 the size of W-S. It seems that since RJ Reynolds remained the largest company and employer in the state well into the mid 80s and with the headquarters of Hanes, Wachovia, Piedmont Airlines, etc. until the 80s the city would have had enough clout to be included in the transportation planning in the state. Charlotte and Mecklenburg County complain about their lack of political clout/influence in Raleigh, but it would seem that Winston-Salem and Forsyth County have a strong case in that regard too. It's not as if Charlotte and Winston-Salem haven't done enough to fill the state's coffers over the last century, yet they seem to always lag behind in transportation dollars and improvements. Case in point, the beltway for Winston-Salem has been debated in Raleigh since the 1960s, yet Fayetteville, a city that wasn't even included on the original list is going to get a beltway before Winston-Salem. It could be argued that the population of Winston-Salem and the tax revenue generated in W-S is homegrown, whereas Fayetteville's base is Fort Bragg. Perhaps the federal government should pay the full bill for the expense of a Ft Bragg beltway and allow the state to divert the Fayetteville funds to transportation improvements for

Winston-Salem and Charlotte.

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It looks like state planners wanted I-85 to go to Greensboro and then follow the old Highway 29 route between Greensboro and Charlotte. I do see your point though. Why didnt they run I-85 to Winston-Salem then I-85 could have follow Highway 52 south. But I guess the same could be said for the Triangle. Why does I-85 bypass Raleigh all together? It only touches Durham and Chapel Hill. Then again it could be that I-85 followed old U.S. highway routes. Unfortunately when it comes to transportation dollars, Winston-Salem always gets the shaft. THe Priority seems to be in this Order, Raleigh first then Charlotte, then Greensboro and last Winston-Salem. As for Winston-Salem's beltway. law suits held up progress and if it had not been for the law suits we could be seeing ongoing construction today. I do praise Winston-Salem for limiting sprawl development around the highways. If you drive on I-40 or Hwy 52 through Winston-Salem, you'll notice that you dont see too much development at all until you get to downtown. Much of what you see are trees with exception to areas on I-40 and business 40 where Hanes Mall and Baptist Hospital are. The lack of alot of sprawl development means that downtown doesnt have to compete with the suburbs and it makes it alot easier for more downtown development. This should be the main focus in any city, not sprawl development.

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It looks like state planners wanted I-85 to go to Greensboro and then follow the old Highway 29 route between Greensboro and Charlotte. I do see your point though. Why didnt they run I-85 to Winston-Salem then I-85 could have follow Highway 52 south. But I guess the same could be said for the Triangle. Why does I-85 bypass Raleigh all together? It only touches Durham and Chapel Hill. Then again it could be that I-85 followed old U.S. highway routes. Unfortunately when it comes to transportation dollars, Winston-Salem always gets the shaft. THe Priority seems to be in this Order, Raleigh first then Charlotte, then Greensboro and last Winston-Salem. As for Winston-Salem's beltway. law suits held up progress and if it had not been for the law suits we could be seeing ongoing construction today. I do praise Winston-Salem for limiting sprawl development around the highways. If you drive on I-40 or Hwy 52 through Winston-Salem, you'll notice that you dont see too much development at all until you get to downtown. Much of what you see are trees with exception to areas on I-40 and business 40 where Hanes Mall and Baptist Hospital are. The lack of alot of sprawl development means that downtown doesnt have to compete with the suburbs and it makes it alot easier for more downtown development. This should be the main focus in any city, not sprawl development.

I completely agree that the focus of a city should be on its urban core rather than sprawl. It would be great if the city leaders of Winston-Salem would realize that one of W-S's strengths is that it is more urban/less suburban sprawl than most of its counterparts and focus all of it's development inward instead of allowing Hanes Mall Blvd, Stratford Rd and Jonestown Rd to continue to expand further out. Hopefully, the redevelopment of the Nissen Bldg and the West End Village and Gateway developments will work to convince more W-S residents to the virtues of urban living and will create a large enough market in the downtown area to support some commercial establishments like grocery stores, the new restaurants downtown, bars, clubs, etc.

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The article is interesting and I hope the old station can be acquired, restored, and returned to its original intended purpose plus more. Some of the reader responses on that page piss me off, but you'll always see hard core opposition to infrastructure improvements from a few boneheads. Wow, I haven't used that word since I was a kid in the 80s. Hahaha

The station can potentially serve buses, PART commuter rail, eventual WNC rail, possible SE high speed rail, and could also act as an endpoint for Winston's proposed street car line. Historical photos reveal a beautiful building that is located in a convenient spot for serving all of those purposes on existing rails.

Perhaps if the city began to acquire and plan the restoration of the station with the intention of using it as a passenger rail station (among other things) for the proposed WNC service, it would encourage the state to divert more attention to that project. I believe the studies performed by NCDOT and PART extended the proposed Asheville-Salisbury line up through Lexington and into Winston-Salem using a small part of the NCRR as well as the WSSB lines.

It would also undoubtedly drop the price of the PART rail system a little bit and would make Winston-Salem a more attractive candidate for SEHSR service (instead of High Point).

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I'm looking for a history lesson. I don't know if anyone on this forum will know this (and I apologize for always asking questions) but what is the history behind determining the passenger rail line through NC back in the day. Why is it that Winston-Salem wasn't included in the first place?

The North Carolina Railroad, the mainline from Goldsboro to Charlotte (and the first railroad to the interior of the state) was completed in 1856. The route is unchanged since then, with the exception of a few realignments and straightenings between Greensboro and Charlotte. This is the route taken by the Carolinian, Piedmont, and NC portion of the Crescent.

As for why it doesn't run through Winston Salem: supposedly the town of Salem was approached by the North Carolina Railroad when the route was being decided, and turned them down. I have no references to back this up, and it's just something I heard from somebody, but according to that person this is one of the main reasons that the town of Salem never fully entered the industrial age, and eventually sort of failed and merged into Winston-Salem.

This would mean that W-S is still paying for a 160 year old mistake made by the town of Salem.

I could be completely wrong about this, too.

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The North Carolina Railroad, the mainline from Goldsboro to Charlotte (and the first railroad to the interior of the state) was completed in 1856. The route is unchanged since then, with the exception of a few realignments and straightenings between Greensboro and Charlotte. This is the route taken by the Carolinian, Piedmont, and NC portion of the Crescent.

As for why it doesn't run through Winston Salem: supposedly the town of Salem was approached by the North Carolina Railroad when the route was being decided, and turned them down. I have no references to back this up, and it's just something I heard from somebody, but according to that person this is one of the main reasons that the town of Salem never fully entered the industrial age, and eventually sort of failed and merged into Winston-Salem.

This would mean that W-S is still paying for a 160 year old mistake made by the town of Salem.

I could be completely wrong about this, too.

Your explanation sounds reasonable. Salem was always insular. The residents were not interested in taking sides in the Revolution and, I believe they were equally reluctant to side w/ the confederates in the Civil War. And, the city of Winston was chartered to be Forsyth County's county seat after Salem turned down the state.

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I think I've heard the same explanation that orulz shared--it was a decision by the once separate town of Salem. If they had accepted the railroad, chances are Winston-Salem and perhaps the Triad as a whole would be a different place today.

At least NCDOT and PART have some ideas on the table to restore passenger rail service to Winston-Salem. When it comes to intercity travel, and you're sick of being in a car, nothing beats a train.

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While the connection to GSO is important, W-S rail advocates should also be considering the other direction-west and south.

The cheapest incremental step to W-S passenger service is upgrading the Winston-Salem SouthBound (WSSB) Railway.

http://www.partnc.org/images/Intercity_Rail_Draft_Rpt.PDF

In the above PDF, check out p.34 and the possible routing to Charlotte. Mapquest times the Winston to Charlotte trip at 1:23 by car. That of course is impossible during rush hour. The study clocks the rail at 1:40 with stops in Lexington and Salisbury.

For $30-40 million, it is possible that there could be two daily trips from Winston to Charlotte. A second possibility, also envisioned in this report, is that the Asheville-Salisbury service could be extended up to W-S. Since the Asheville service also entails $130 million more in Western NC NS line improvements, I'd place priority on connecting W-S to Charlotte by train. Most of the trip would be made on the NCRR mainline, which is fast approaching 80 mph speed limits for most of the way. The WSSB line could probably be brought up to 60 mph limits in places as well.

According to this link:

http://www.bytrain.org/istation/charlottemm/cmmtimeline.html

the Charlotte Multimodal station is to be under construction by 2007-2008. Maybe W-S should make it a goal to start intercity passenger service to Charlotte by then.

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