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North Carolina Intercity Rail Transit


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National Train Day is this Saturday and Amtrak will have open house sessions to increase awareness at their stations in Charlotte, Kannapolis, Salisbury, Raleigh, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Selma, Wilson, Rocky Mount and Fayetteville.

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Amtrak ridership numbers for fiscal year 2019 are out.  The Carolinian is down 4.7% to 244,779.  The Piedmont is up 28.1% at 214,218.  The Piedmont saw the second highest growth on all of Amtrak's rou

Current routing in red, the new VA rail purchase in green. I'm not sure how to find ownership of the "Norlina Subdivision" line running from Norlina to Raleigh, but boy that's an exciting possibility

From the July NCDOT rail report: https://connect.ncdot.gov/resources/Rail-Division-Resources/Documents/2019.07_Monthly Rail Report.pdf Things are going well, The Carolinian has basically been at

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The 21st Century Transportation Committee has started producing reports for the General Assembly:

21st Century Transportation Committee

One of their suggestions/proposals is to add a third daily trip between Raleigh and Charlotte. In addition they mention a demonstration project by the North Carolina Railroad in Eastern North Carolina. Expansion to other cities is briefly mentioned, but nothing specifically (Asheville or Wilmington).

Maybe we'll see some traction during the short session on some of these issues.

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^ Unfortunately, we won't. The commission only made recommendations on funding toll roads and perhaps providing a source of funds for a transportation bond... all this from ending the $172M annual highway fund transfer to the general fund. The General Assembly leadership has already said they are not going to raise taxes this year, so toall road gap funding is it for 2008. The major strategic planning and funding will be left to the next governor and legislators in 2009.

You likely won't hear the "T" word (transit, trains) mentioned in the Gubenatorial race this summer/fall, but pay close attention to their rhetoric, and read between the lines. We have lots of transportation needs in this state, and it's time to have a strategic vision of how to execute a well conceived, smart, plan that includes non-highway expansion, such as adding a mid-day train to/from Charlotte and Raleigh, and contemplates plans for funding the SEHSR project (CLT to DC), and adding passenger rail service to Asheville and Wilmington. $4+ gas should be a strong motivating factor for the state to have a plan of action, but I think it's going to take strong federal support to make it happen.

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^^^

Would be nice to see a commuter rail system put together that would link Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington, Greensboro and Asheville. This could potentially promote more tourism by NC residents just within the state. People wanting to get away to the mountains would be able to get there easily; parents/schools wanting to take the kids to see the capital would be just a train ride away; Carolina Panthers fans from across the state not wanting to fight the traffic around the arena would have a great alternative; people wanting to get some sun on the coast could get there for easy weekend getaway for cheap. I see no reason why it would not be a good project.

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^^^

Would be nice to see a commuter rail system put together that would link Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington, Greensboro and Asheville. This could potentially promote more tourism by NC residents just within the state. People wanting to get away to the mountains would be able to get there easily; parents/schools wanting to take the kids to see the capital would be just a train ride away; Carolina Panthers fans from across the state not wanting to fight the traffic around the arena would have a great alternative; people wanting to get some sun on the coast could get there for easy weekend getaway for cheap. I see no reason why it would not be a good project.

Your idea is a terrific one, and I would love to see this happen. I'd particularly like to see trains to Asheville and the beach. To clarify, I think what you're talking about is really an intercity rail network, not a commuter one. Commuter rail generally covers distances in the 20-40 mile range, with a few trips each morning and afternoon to major job centers. (Think downtown Raleigh, downtown Charlotte) Occasionally, in places like Chicago and NYC, some of the commuter lines go out 60-80 miles. Intercity rail links cities further apart for mostly non-daily trips (business travel, tourism, special events, holidays)

Only when trains reach very, very high speeds with high frequency do you get lots of people commuting by train over the distances you are talking about for work. (100+ miles) This happens on the TGV with commuters to Paris, but also within the Northeast corridor. Some of the Delaware congressional reps commute via the Acela to Washington rather than take up residence in the district because they can cover the 110 miles in an hour and 20 minutes, versus a 2:10 drive each way.

NCDOT Rail has some plans that reflect some of what you're talking about; unfortunately, there's no funding for most of the ideas yet beyond the Raleigh-Charlotte corridor. Check it out here.

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Personally I as posted earlier in his thread I would love to see NCRR evolve into a NJ Transit type entity with regional trains centered around Raleigh and Chalotte with connections and transfers possible in the Triad area. Amtrak could serve as an express route between the states larger cities.

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Personally I as posted earlier in his thread I would love to see NCRR evolve into a NJ Transit type entity with regional trains centered around Raleigh and Chalotte with connections and transfers possible in the Triad area. Amtrak could serve as an express route between the states larger cities.

Speaking of NJ Transit, the main line it uses and shares with Amtrak is being re-tied, thus delaying all rail traffic in the Northeast corridor in Jersey. Acelas are running 8 minues behind posted schedules. The ties were expected to last 50 years before replacement, but failed to do so. Work will continue at least into June.

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  • 2 weeks later...

^^^

I hope that with rapidly rising gas prices that this bill will get through. Congress is under intense pressure to do something to help and this is a good step towards doing that. I would imagine that killing this bill once more would only lower approval ratings even more.

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One of their suggestions/proposals is to add a third daily trip between Raleigh and Charlotte.

And that is reportedly now going to happen with a third train at mid-day between both cities. Rideship is up on the current trains by almost 26% on the Piedmont and 18% on the Carolinian. It will take 6 - 12 months for the service to be operational as rolling cars and locomotives must be refurbished and readied for use.

Winston-Salem Journal Article about Third Daily train between Charlotte and Raleigh

*sorry, didn't realize rooster8 was basically posting the same thing at the same time I was! lol*

Edited by suburban george3
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Great news! I'm sure the added convenience and flexibility for North Carolina train riders will boost ridership alot higher than it already it is. Now if Raleigh and Charlotte can get their signature stations built North Carolina will really have its act together.

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Terrific news. Here's the NCDOT Press Release.

It is likely the new Piedmont schedules will look like this:

Train 73(CURRENT):

RGH 7:00 AM

GRO 8:30 AM

CLT 10:09 AM

...which turns into...

Train 76(NEW):

CLT 12:30 PM

GRO 2:05 PM

RGH 3:40 PM

-AND-

Train 75(NEW):

RGH 12:00 PM

GRO 1:30 PM

CLT 3:09 PM

...which turns into...

Train 74(CURRENT):

CLT 5:30 PM

GRO 7:05 PM

RGH 8:40 PM

Implementation seems to be 6 months to a year away.

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Great news on the third frequency. Now how about a fourth, fifth, sixth frequency? Guess we'll need more double track and more equipment for that. Full double track from Greensboro to Charlotte is already planned by 2013. More double track between Greensboro and Raleigh is under study by NCRR as well (the study should be done in August.)

A better location for the terminal in Charlotte is sorely needed, too. All the other stations on the line are in pretty reasonable locations.

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Great news on the third frequency. Now how about a fourth, fifth, sixth frequency? Guess we'll need more double track and more equipment for that. Full double track from Greensboro to Charlotte is already planned by 2013. More double track between Greensboro and Raleigh is under study by NCRR as well (the study should be done in August.)

A better location for the terminal in Charlotte is sorely needed, too. All the other stations on the line are in pretty reasonable locations.

A new terminal will be built downtown with the new transit station that will incorporate Amtrak and Greyhound among other modes of transit. Don't recall the timetable however.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Could a train that is routed Raleigh-Selma-Goldsboro-Kinston-New Bern-Morehead City work? I'm sure people want to get to the central Eastern Carolina coast also?

Recently, if I remember correctly, there was an event where they had a train that ran New Bern-Morehead City and the request for rides on that single service was beyond belief..

Anyone think it could work? Perhaps start with a single daily trip and see how it pans out?

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Possibly, but for the foreseeable future this is where the planned rail is supposed to go in NC. The state had a much more ambitious plan to have much of this operating by now, but about 4-5 years ago the future sections were put on hold. Recently there was some work to begin studying implementation of the eastern section.

futureservmap.gif

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^ Basically there have been feasibility studies performed that examined the concepts and costs of extenting passenger rail to Asheville and to Wilmington, and both are doable, but unfortunately the studies were completed at a time where NCDOT was beginning to experience rapid construction cost escalation (you can probably double the estimated costs in those studies) and as far as I understand, those projects are considered somewhat long term plans. The state is mostly focused on high speed rail between Charlotte and DC (via Richmond) and incrementally upgrading the NCRR corridor between Charlotte, Greenboro and Raleigh.

Personally, focusing of limited resources is probably the best way to go as CLT to RGH is an existing service, the strongest market, and a quickly growing market as shown by the addition of a third daily train. If SEHSR can get off the ground and new centers are built in Charlotte and Raleigh as planned, I predict it will be wildy successful, and will provide ammunition to the legislature (who controls the purse strings) to add more service to the west and east. Put resources into building your best project as a demonstration of what's possible, execute it well, and let it's success drive the political will for expansion... kind of like what Lynx has done for how rapid transit is now being viewed in Charlotte, and in other urban areas in NC.

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^ Basically there have been feasibility studies performed that examined the concepts and costs of extenting passenger rail to Asheville and to Wilmington, and both are doable, but unfortunately the studies were completed at a time where NCDOT was beginning to experience rapid construction cost escalation (you can probably double the estimated costs in those studies) and as far as I understand, those projects are considered somewhat long term plans. The state is mostly focused on high speed rail between Charlotte and DC (via Richmond) and incrementally upgrading the NCRR corridor between Charlotte, Greenboro and Raleigh.

Personally, focusing of limited resources is probably the best way to go as CLT to RGH is an existing service, the strongest market, and a quickly growing market as shown by the addition of a third daily train. If SEHSR can get off the ground and new centers are built in Charlotte and Raleigh as planned, I predict it will be wildy successful, and will provide ammunition to the legislature (who controls the purse strings) to add more service to the west and east. Put resources into building your best project as a demonstration of what's possible, execute it well, and let it's success drive the political will for expansion... kind of like what Lynx has done for how rapid transit is now being viewed in Charlotte, and in other urban areas in NC.

I'm in full agreement with ChiefJoJo here. NCDOT has done a good job of making the Piedmont a quality service with generally good reliability within the state. Continued track improvements to the NCRR which are slowly but surely being completed will only enhance the Piedmont in the future. This makes the midday trains possible and likely to be successful.

The Carolinian is not a failure but is a crapshoot in terms of travel time because of CSX. The antidote to the CSX problems is one of two things:

1. Make minor improvements sponsored by the states and maybe now the Feds (HR 6003 passed last week) to make the A-line up through Rocky Mount, etc. more reliable. This could at least make the Carolinian predictable. In short, the state pays to make CSX's line more usable. Not my preferred approach.

2. Build the first modern-engineered semi-high-speed-rail line in the USA from Raleigh to Richmond, with the opportunity that the French TGV has- eliminating a lot of curves through mostly rural land. While the line would accommodate diesel trains at 110 mph, there will be surely stretches that will accommodate 125-150 mph if electrification could ever be achieved in some distant future. Even at 110 mph max speed, this line would have an average speed similar to the Acela Express because of the reduced curves. A line like this with stops in CLT, GRO, DNC, RGH would be transformative in travel from Charlotte to the northeast, and would generate a broad acceptance of rail that would accelerate the push for extensions to Asheville, Wilmington, etc.

But we've got to build the best, most-likely-to-succeed stuff first.

Edited by transitman
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I doubt the state would bypass Hickory, but I was surprised to learn that the city sold the historic depot recently. I'm not sure if it retains pass for passenger waiting areas, ticketing, etc. Seems they made a decision that was polar opposite from most towns on the line (renovate and retain for future service). Someone with more knowledge may want to chime in.

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I doubt the state would bypass Hickory, but I was surprised to learn that the city sold the historic depot recently. I'm not sure if it retains pass for passenger waiting areas, ticketing, etc. Seems they made a decision that was polar opposite from most towns on the line (renovate and retain for future service). Someone with more knowledge may want to chime in.

Wasn't aware the city of Hickory still held rights to the depot. It had housed a restaurant that has been closed for a couple of years. Also, the line that runs thru Hickory is very active with Frieght and local Switching traffic. My office is 2 blocks from there and when I'm at the office I can hear trains up to 8-10 times a day...

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This re-routing north of Richmond, should it occur, would speed up service between the capital cities. The Buckingham line (leased from CSX and formerly Chessie's mainline) is twisty, but it would avoid the bottleneck of Acca Yard and reduced speeds thru the heart of Ashland.

http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/news.apx.-co...04-21-0181.html

Some of you may think of this as an out-of-stater's infringement on your thread, but what happens north of Richmond affects rail traffic between Carolina and DC. So, for what it's worth, here's the latest:

http://www.inrich.com/cva/ric/news/sunday....06-22-0144.html

Edited by burt
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