Noneck_08

North Carolina Intercity Rail Transit

1041 posts in this topic

You might want to try asking that on some of the Yahoo groups NC-related railroad groups. There's a bunch of collectors of that kind of stuff over there.

Off the top of my head, I would have expected that any railroad in existence at that time would have had regular passenger service. Of course there was the main lines -- Southern, ACL, and SAL -- that had many trains North and South every day (e.g. the Orange Blossom Special). However, all the other railroads would have had regular daily or several/day passenger trains right up into the 1950s for the most part.

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http://www.bytrain.org/track/pdfs/statuschart.pdf

There are quite a few projects that will wrap up this year on the main tracks between Raleigh and Charlotte. Those projects will further decrease the time it takes to ride the train between the two cities. $40.5m in track improvements is quite an investment.

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http://www.bytrain.org/track/pdfs/statuschart.pdf

There are quite a few projects that will wrap up this year on the main tracks between Raleigh and Charlotte. Those projects will further decrease the time it takes to ride the train between the two cities. $40.5m in track improvements is quite an investment.

The running time of the corridor is currently about 3:05.

With the completion of the Kannapolis turnouts and the superelevation and curve adjustments, there will probably be 4 minutes cut out of the schedule in Fall 2006.

The second phase of the signals project between Cary and Raleigh will probably pull out another minute in Spring 2007. At that point, we're at 3:00 even.

Looking at the track improvements page, I count enough unfinished projects (mostly sidings) to pull off another 3 minutes savings to get us down to 2:57.

After that, I think we need another website update to see what happens next!

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what if North Carolina implented an authority similar to New Jersey Transit? Could inter-city rail become frequent enough to be used as a commuter train between Charlotte-Greensboro and Winston-Salem to Raleigh or Winston Salem to Charlotte... the trains would have added local stops for local service that would be bypassed by express trains to larger stops. The trains wouldn't have to always go the full length of the line such as trains from Charlotte to Salisbury or Winston-Salem to Greensboro or Burlington. Any thoughts on this?

Edited by Creasy336

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An NJT-like authority would be really nice for NC, but somehow I think that's a decade or two off. The state runs two trains now; an all-day, multi-destination and multi-origin schedule would take time, money, and lots of infrastructure investment to pull off.

transitman, I'm inclined to think that the biggest benefit of the new sidings / double track will be improved reliability, rather than just better trip times. Is this correct?

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An NJT-like authority would be really nice for NC, but somehow I think that's a decade or two off. The state runs two trains now; an all-day, multi-destination and multi-origin schedule would take time, money, and lots of infrastructure investment to pull off.

transitman, I'm inclined to think that the biggest benefit of the new sidings / double track will be improved reliability, rather than just better trip times. Is this correct?

orulz, I think you are correct. Doube-tracing primarily aids reliability and provides redundancy. Where adding sidings also straightens out curves or shortens their radii, that also helps travel time a bit. Look at bytrain.org's track improvement page and look up the Haw River siding project. (between GSO and RGH)

This is a good example of how a project with a primary benefit of reliability also cuts travel times ever so slightly by reducing curves.

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Does anyone believe there is a chance that single track over the haw river thats been there forever will be replaced at some point.

Edited by Creasy336

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The Haw River bridge is pretty long and high (my guess, 40 or 50 feet?) so it would cost a pretty penny to replace. Not to mention that double tracking it would mean both widening the fills on the approach and constructing new abutments as well. As far as I know, the bridge is still structurally sound, and has no slow orders over it. And, to top it off, the bridge is in a fairly straight section of track, so not much speed would be gained from a realignment.

For these reasons, I expect this bridge to stay single tracked, long after most of the rest of the NCRR has been doubled. At least for the time being, NCDOT/NCRR will probably make improvements in higher priority areas where they can get more bang for their buck.

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The Haw River bridge is pretty long and high (my guess, 40 or 50 feet?) so it would cost a pretty penny to replace. Not to mention that double tracking it would mean both widening the fills on the approach and constructing new abutments as well. As far as I know, the bridge is still structurally sound, and has no slow orders over it. And, to top it off, the bridge is in a fairly straight section of track, so not much speed would be gained from a realignment.

For these reasons, I expect this bridge to stay single tracked, long after most of the rest of the NCRR has been doubled. At least for the time being, NCDOT/NCRR will probably make improvements in higher priority areas where they can get more bang for their buck.

It does have its histoy :shades:1960 train wreck but i agree with you. NCDOT will use that bridge for as long as it permits.

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FYI- new track charts are now up on the NCDOT webpage. They show the future Charlotte multimodal station and which improvements are likely to speed up the trains in fall 2006. (Red items titled spring 2006)

NCDOT Track Improvements

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That would be cool to see a NJ Transit like system running in the state. Ive been thinking lately to cut down on the driving and take the bus to school because im probably 6-8 blocks away from the bus line.

Until rural politics dies down, we're going to continue to see highway construction allover the state.

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The Southeast High Speed Rail project has updated their website. Previous studies focused on Charlotte to Petersburg; the scope has been revised to Charlotte to Richmond. This isn't directly related to North Carolina, but the project includes NC, and this will add a significant amount of time (1 extra year?) to the project's schedule. But that doesn't matter; this won't get off the ground at all until Bush is out of office.

Here is a map of the alternatives between Richmond and Petersburg. I like Alternative 2 since it goes through downtown Petersburg (which could use a boost...)

petersburgalts.jpg

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On an unrelated note to SEHSR, the Carolina Association for Passenger Trains newsletter this month states that NCDOT is looking at bringing a third train to NC (pending funding approval by the General Assembly) that could start operation as soon as Spring 2007.

The train would add a new roundtrip capability for midday.

One train would leave Raleigh at noon and get to Charlotte at 3:05 pm. The other would leave Charlotte at 12:30 PM and get to Raleigh at 3:30 PM.

So then you'd have:

Raleigh to Charlotte:

7:05 AM (Piedmont)

12:00 PM (New Train)

4:41 PM (Carolinian)

Charlotte to Raleigh

7:45 AM (Carolinian)

12:30 PM (New Train)

5:30 PM (Piedmont)

The best model for this corridor out there is probably the Downeaster between Maine and Boston. They have 4 daily roundtrips and are working on a fifth. However, there is very little freight on that line between Maine and Massachusetts.

It couldn't hurt to write your state legislators and tell them to get on board with funding this third train next year.

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Do the stars indicate these are major stops (like NY's Penn Station) meaning you have to switch trains?

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I belive that the stars represent state / national capitals on the map.

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^ :rofl:

In 5th grade, i was a state/capital scholar and did not even pick that up! I know Washington is a major stop.

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What could make NC Intercity Rail more effective in NC? What would increse ridership? Whats would make the ride more enjoyable?...I think 4 Round Trip Trains between Raleigh and Charlotte would be very effective especially if all the stations had ticket machines and didn't require reservations prior to boarding the train. I would also like to see an exclusive Raleigh to Winston Salem Train along with an exclusive Greensboro to Charlotte train. The shorter routes would have more intermediate stops. Just a couple of ideas...

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The redeelopment of the train stations will certainly help. The current Charlotte station is in a terrible part of town, and I know that until recently, so was the one in Greensboro.

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The redeelopment of the train stations will certainly help. The current Charlotte station is in a terrible part of town, and I know that until recently, so was the one in Greensboro.

Yeah the Greensboro station basically was in bad shape it was located in the middle of a railyard with a small inadequate station. Currently the new station in downtown Greensboro is the best in the state and definitely the best i've seen between Washington and Atlanta. Charlotte's Station will increase ridership. People will look forward to being able to take the train to uptown Charlotte with all of the attractions and immenities. Currently the station on N. Tryon isn't the best place to get off especially without having someone to pick you up or your own transportation. People who ride the train will have better perceptions of Charlotte once Gateway station is completed, I know Greensboro's image has improved.

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What could make NC Intercity Rail more effective in NC? What would increse ridership? Whats would make the ride more enjoyable?...I think 4 Round Trip Trains between Raleigh and Charlotte would be very effective especially if all the stations had ticket machines and didn't require reservations prior to boarding the train. I would also like to see an exclusive Raleigh to Winston Salem Train along with an exclusive Greensboro to Charlotte train. The shorter routes would have more intermediate stops. Just a couple of ideas...

The 4 roundtrips would be great. I'd also love a Winston train to the Triangle.

I think the NCRR is bumping up against serious capacity limits right now, though. From what I understand, if we get the next midday run approved for the Piedmont trainset, we'll be at the limit of what Norfolk Southern wants running on the H-line (Raleigh to Greensboro) until the tracks are expanded in a more significant fashion.

That would give us the following trains:

Carolinian North

Carolinian South

Piedmont North

Piedmont South

Silver Star North

Silver Star South

Proposed Midday Piedmont North

Proposde Midday Piedmont South

Getting a Winston-Raleigh train would require some serious improvements between Greensboro and W-S.

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What could make NC Intercity Rail more effective in NC? What would increse ridership? Whats would make the ride more enjoyable?...

Oh, as for ride quality, continuously welded rail would make a big difference. I took a ride on an all-CWR railroad last week in Europe. Soooooo smooth.

Frequency and reliability remain the keys to improving NC rail service. A HUGE boost would be completing the Raleigh to Petersburg section of the SEHSR corridor. That would make rail travel to the Northeast reliable and predictable, instead of a Russian roulette nightmare with the timetable under CSX.

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Oh, as for ride quality, continuously welded rail would make a big difference. I took a ride on an all-CWR railroad last week in Europe. Soooooo smooth.

With the upgrade of the CSX track in Raleigh, The NCRR actually is now fully CWR. Well, the track segments are on the order of a quarter-mile long (or more) which essentially qualifies as continuous. There is a bit of wobble introduced because freight trains in the US are so heavy that they put the track slightly out of alignment every time they come through, but that's not the real reason trains in NC ride so poorly compared to trains in Europe.

The reason the ride isn't as smooth here is simply that our equipment is old. Ever been in a European city where modern LRVs and old-fashioned streetcars troll the same tracks? The suspension on the LRVs is so much newer and more advanced that the difference in ride is like night and day. You would notice the same thing if the old 1950s-1960s Piedmont cars, and the 1970s-era Amfleets on the Carolinian, were running in tandem with modern European-spec vehicles from Alstom, Talgo, or Bombardier.

Adequate and gradual spirals on every curve go a long way, too, and that's something you're not likely to find on the ol' NCRR.

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Yeah a Winston-Salem to Raleigh train would be nice. I believe a shuttle train between Greensboro and Winston-Salem connecting to existing trains would be nice in the short term. They could add an airport stop and Kernersville (Dell) stop along the way. I also believe it could serve almost as a dual purpose train until commuter rail gets off the ground.

Edited by Creasy336

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New equipment is sorely needed; the Piedmont cars are old and dumpy. There is a fossil-fuel version of the Acela Express that has been built; why not buy one of those, or another new train, which would be MUCH more comfortable than the current cars?

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Agreed - although the Piedmont cars are in reasonable condition considering when they were built (in some cases over 50 years ago) they are definitely old.

It would be nice if NCDOT would spring for some nice Talgo trainsets for the corridor service (matching engines would be nice...) and then use the current, old, refurbished equipment for the Asheville and Wilmington routes (if / when those ever happen...)

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