Jump to content

North Carolina Intercity Rail Transit


Recommended Posts

Come on, big money! Come on, big money! Given that 13 corridors will be funded, at this point it's practically impossible that we'll get zero. But I'd still be extremely disappointed with less than $100 million. I'm really hoping for something in the neighborhood of $500 million, or more. $500 million to NC and another $500 million to VA would be a great investment in SEHSR.

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Replies 1.2k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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

As much as I want true high speed rail networks here, I do not want to achieve that goal using China's methods, most notably the ability to just take whatever land you need. We shouldn't kid ourselves

Posted Images

So is THIS what NCDOT is awaiting before they load the 2nd frequency? I know for sure it was supposed to be starting Mar 1. Is 30 days really enough time to start the service? Do I need to purchase some equipment and start the service myself?

On a related question.. could they do an express line that is a Raleigh-Durham-Greensboro-Concord-Charlotte only stop? I'm thinking 2x express, 4x local service????

Link to post
Share on other sites

$520 million will buy basically the items listed in NC's applications as "3rd Frequency Needs" and "4th Frequency Needs"

(1) The CRISP CSX/NS grade separation in Charlotte

(2) Better layover facilities in Charlotte for more / longer trains

(3) Full double track from Charlotte to Greensboro

(4) 2 new passing sidings between Raleigh and Greensboro (Clegg-Nelson and Graham to Haw River)

(5) 3 new grade separations (Morrisville Parkway, Hopson Road, and Klumac Road)

...and a number of other minor improvements.

They may also decide to spend some of money to acquire the HSR Right-of-Way from CSX, between Raleigh and Richmond.

Wonder if Virginia got any money, like for the Acca Bypass.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the breakdown, NC gets the $520 AND the $25 (Raleigh-Richmond) funds, do we not? From what I understand, NC is in charge of the SEHSR from Charlotte to South of Richmond. So we get a $545 for it..

What I am kinda disappointed in is that I don't see where a new Raleigh or Charlotte station is included. I know the Raleigh station needs to be redone very badly..

One last thing, it states it will double the round trips between CLT and RGH.. so does that just mean the 2nd Piedmont or does it mean the 2nd and 3rd Piedmont since currently there are 2 round trips (1x Carolinain, 1x Piedmont)?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at the breakdown, NC gets the $520 AND the $25 (Raleigh-Richmond) funds, do we not? From what I understand, NC is in charge of the SEHSR from Charlotte to South of Richmond. So we get a $545 for it..

What I am kinda disappointed in is that I don't see where a new Raleigh or Charlotte station is included. I know the Raleigh station needs to be redone very badly..

One last thing, it states it will double the round trips between CLT and RGH.. so does that just mean the 2nd Piedmont or does it mean the 2nd and 3rd Piedmont since currently there are 2 round trips (1x Carolinain, 1x Piedmont)?

This will mean increasing the frequency from 2 round trips (Piedmont + Carolinian) to 4 (3x Piedmont + Carolinian).

I too was disappointed to see nothing in the plans for a new station in Raleigh or Charlotte. I guess the Raleigh station, though, will have to wait until we know which route SEHSR will take through town (NS line or CSX line).

As for Gateway Station in Charlote, though, though the stimulus includes absolutely nothing for station construction, it does include the CRISP grade separation of the NS and CSX lines, which is a prerequisite for getting trains to where Gateway Station would be. In addition, NCDOT will be building a new facility, apparently west of downtown, for servicing service trains and storing them overnight. Read more about these projects and other components of CRISP in this juicy PDF.

Link to post
Share on other sites

from an operational perspective (capacity and the attitude of NS) would double tracking Charlotte-Greensboro allow for commuter service from Charlotte to Kannapolis / Salisbury? When combined with the increased Piedmont runs it would not take many additional frequencies to make viable and robust commuter service possible.

If successful this could have the fringe benefit of demonstrating feasibility for the CATS north line (or not).

I guess the downside is the absence of a Concord or Harrisburg stop on the Piedmont and Carolinian.

EDIT: I did check the VRE schedule, they have 11 frequencies per day between Union station and Fredrickburg. Equivalent service would require an additional 7 trips. I guess my question is, could these be added for just the cost of equipment, maintenance, fuel and staff?

Edited by kermit
Link to post
Share on other sites

So I noticed that other HSR lines were looking for up to 186 mph (Florida) and 110 (Midwest) while the SEHSR is only looking for up to 90. Other awards were also for new equipment and NC was just for refurb. Should we be looking at new equipment like the Talgo or Bombardier Talent? I would love to see some sleek trains pulling in and out of Raleigh..

What would it take for the entire NCRR line to get closed off and be able to go up to 120 mph? Is that the potential goal?

Link to post
Share on other sites

So I noticed that other HSR lines were looking for up to 186 mph (Florida) and 110 (Midwest) while the SEHSR is only looking for up to 90. Other awards were also for new equipment and NC was just for refurb. Should we be looking at new equipment like the Talgo or Bombardier Talent? I would love to see some sleek trains pulling in and out of Raleigh..

What would it take for the entire NCRR line to get closed off and be able to go up to 120 mph? Is that the potential goal?

I doubt it's very economical to place an order for two new trainsets. You'd probably need an order of at least 8 or 10 or so to get a more reasonable unit price. Buying conventional new bi-level coaches would probably be better because they're more common and you could tack on to some other agency's order, but refurbs cost less than half as much as even new bilevels.

Though most crossings will be closed or separated, The NCRR will probably never be fully grade-separated. Even with grade crossings, under current FRA regulations trains would still be permitted to travel 110mph. However, Norfolk Southern has a corporate policy that it will not allow passenger trains to run faster than 90mph on tracks shared with freight. This is far more restrictive than FRA regs, which allow trains to run up to 150mph on shared tracks. NS's policy is that if trains are to go faster than 90mph, it is willing to share its corridors, but dedicated passenger-only tracks must be built. AFAIK NCDOT has no plans to build a set of dedicated passenger tracks along the NCRR. The line is curvy enough that speeds above 90mph probably wouldn't speed things up much anyway.

When the "S" line is rebuilt, it will initially allow 110mph operation; with electrification and without further realignment, it would allow trains to go even faster (how much faster is not entirely clear - 125? 150? 186?)

NC also has a long-term (2050) plan for a true high speed (150+ mph) line through the countryside directly from Raleigh to Charlotte. This will be essential to enable reasonable trip times from (for example) Atlanta to Washington.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"However, Norfolk Southern has a corporate policy that it will not allow passenger trains to run faster than 90mph on tracks shared with freight."

See, the quote above (which, I do not know how to quote properly so please excuse) is bothersome to me because NS leases the NCRR lines. They do not own it. So it would be up to NC and NCRR to say how fast or slow traffic can go. I can see NS having a bigger voice on lines they own.. but the line from Morehead City to Charlotte is completely owned by NC/NCRR. If it were I, I would tell NS that if they want a slower line to aid in building a third parallel line (much like I have seen in Barcelona when I was on their Renfo line).

Anywho.. This is fantastic news overall, but if NC is refurbing locomotives/cars for each new frequency, doesn't it seem they should get better use out of them? The current Piedmont schedule still leaves a LOT of down time for the trainset.. couldn't they find a better use, like say a full roundtrip and a half per trainset? or extending the line to somewhere? I just hate a lack of lean thinking..

Link to post
Share on other sites

"However, Norfolk Southern has a corporate policy that it will not allow passenger trains to run faster than 90mph on tracks shared with freight."

See, the quote above (which, I do not know how to quote properly so please excuse) is bothersome to me because NS leases the NCRR lines. They do not own it. So it would be up to NC and NCRR to say how fast or slow traffic can go. I can see NS having a bigger voice on lines they own.. but the line from Morehead City to Charlotte is completely owned by NC/NCRR. If it were I, I would tell NS that if they want a slower line to aid in building a third parallel line (much like I have seen in Barcelona when I was on their Renfo line).

Anywho.. This is fantastic news overall, but if NC is refurbing locomotives/cars for each new frequency, doesn't it seem they should get better use out of them? The current Piedmont schedule still leaves a LOT of down time for the trainset.. couldn't they find a better use, like say a full roundtrip and a half per trainset? or extending the line to somewhere? I just hate a lack of lean thinking..

NS has a long-term lease (99 years or something) to operate freight trains over the NCRR. The lease was actually renewed recently (2004 or something). NCRR could have insisted on terms like 110mph operations during the renegotiation, but that would have also meant that NS would at least expect something in return, namely a lower price. Who knows, they might even have simply walked away! The payments from NS are used to improve the line (for example, the new highway 54 bridge in RTP was built almost entirely by NCRR) so less money from NS means less money for improvements.

Given that the NCRR is too curvy for higher speeds east of Greensboro, and to the west freight trains make up the vast majority of the traffic on the line, pushing for 110mph wouldn't have really achieved much. Maintaining 110mph tracks and signals is more expensive too. So, on the whole, they made the call that the extra 20mph top speed wasn't worth the cost in lost revenue, construction, and maintenance.

NCRR does eventually plan on a two-track passenger-only bypass on approach to Charlotte. There are plans to triple-track much of the line from Charlotte to Greensboro as well. Maybe in situations like that, the new track could be dedicated solely to passenger trains and

I think the problem with the "trip and a half" thing is that, for now, there is only room to service and overnight one train in Charlotte, and that space is occupied by the Carolinian. Something like that might be possible, however, once the layover and maintenance facility (funded by ARRA) is done.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are plans to triple-track much of the line from Charlotte to Greensboro as well.

I think the problem with the "trip and a half" thing is that, for now, there is only room to service and overnight one train in Charlotte, and that space is occupied by the Carolinian. Something like that might be possible, however, once the layover and maintenance facility (funded by ARRA) is done.

What about between Greensboro and Raleigh. Will that be triple tracked? Is that currently double tracked?

Since their will be 3 Piedmont with 3 different train sets, how could they potentially be set up? Will they all depart from Raleigh or some from Charlotte? Will any of them be used for express only (Raleigh-Durham-Greensboro-Charlotte only)? Could they go south (Columbia) or east (New Bern) ? I'm trying to get this together in my head.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What about between Greensboro and Raleigh. Will that be triple tracked? Is that currently double tracked?

Greensboro to Ralegh (known as the 'H' line for who knows what reason) is not currently double-tracked, nor will it be triple-tracked in the future. The SEHSR plans actually don't even call for full double-track. The 81-mile 'H' line will be left with two 7-mile segments of single track, through Burlington and Hillsborough. The reason for this is that there are 30 freight trains per day between Greensboro and Charlotte, and only 5 per day between Greensboro and Raleigh.

Since their will be 3 Piedmont with 3 different train sets, how could they potentially be set up? Will they all depart from Raleigh or some from Charlotte? Will any of them be used for express only (Raleigh-Durham-Greensboro-Charlotte only)? Could they go south (Columbia) or east (New Bern) ? I'm trying to get this together in my head.

The eventual 5th frequency plan actually calls for 5 round trips between Charlotte and Raleigh - four Piedmont and one Carolinian. The Carolinian takes two trainsets, with one overnighting in NYC and the other in Charlotte. This will continue.

According to the Service Development Plan schedule, it seems the Piedmonts will be operated with FOUR trainsets, three of which will overnight in Raleigh (71/74, 73/76, 75/78) and one of which will overnight in Charlotte (72/77).

None of these will be express trains. There will be no NCRR express service until high speed trains to Washington start up. The trains to/from Washington will likely all run express (to some degree) on the NCRR.

Now, talking completely based on my own observations and calculations, with the existing and planned Piedmont trainsets, the schedule would allow for enough time for 72/77 to be extended and overnighted at Greenville or Columbia, and 73/76 to be extended and overnighted at New Bern, or Rocky Mount. HOWEVER: This would require:

(1) Track and signal upgrades between Selma and New Bern, or Charlotte and Columbia, if those routes were chosen instead of the Greenville / Rocky Mount options.

(2) Establishing a crew base at the new endpoints.

(3) Hiring more train crews to run the new trains.

(4) Establishing or identifying a (secured) place to overnight the trains where they can also be cleaned, stocked, and have minor maintenance performed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't understand the overnight storage issues- Charlotte has plenty of tracks at its station, and passenger and freight trains come through during the night. Why can't a short passenger train just be parked on the tracks at the station?

The Crescent stops for about 10-15 minutes when it comes through Greenville, in the middle of the night, and Norfolk Southern has a rather large operation there, so I'd think that crew/servicing issues could be easily addressed-- I'd hope.

I-85 between Greenville and Charlotte can be pretty rough between about mile 79 in SC and about mile 20 in NC, with 2 lanes in each direction- something needs to be done to help with that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't understand the overnight storage issues- Charlotte has plenty of tracks at its station, and passenger and freight trains come through during the night. Why can't a short passenger train just be parked on the tracks at the station?

The Crescent stops for about 10-15 minutes when it comes through Greenville, in the middle of the night, and Norfolk Southern has a rather large operation there, so I'd think that crew/servicing issues could be easily addressed-- I'd hope.

I-85 between Greenville and Charlotte can be pretty rough between about mile 79 in SC and about mile 20 in NC, with 2 lanes in each direction- something needs to be done to help with that.

Charlotte Station has only one platform and only two platform tracks; these tracks are actually the NS mainline. Any train traveling through and not stopping in Charlotte (particularly high-value, high-speed intermodals) would therefore use the tracks immediately adjacent to the platform. If I'm right, then blocking the platform tracks for hours at a time would be extremely detrimental to NS's operations. Simply parking a train at the platform overnight is a non-starter.

The storage track that is currently used in Charlotte (see it here on Google Maps, with the Piedmont parked there for the afternoon) is literally just barely long enough to hold the 8-car Carolinian overnight.

All the other tracks near the platform itself are used by NS's yard operations. It may look like "Gosh, there are so many tracks there, some of them have to be available." Certainly they're usually not full, but I imagine Norfolk Southern would at the very least expect some payment (to compensate for lost yard capacity) before allowing NCDOT to store a train there. Not to mention the impact to their switching operations when NCDOT needs to pull their passenger train out every morning and park it every night. It would also probably have to be a track close to the edge of the yard, which NS might already be using for a very specific purpose. I don't know if there's precedent for Amtrak or DOT leasing some space at a host freight RR's yard to store passenger trains, but even if a place could be identified and leased, it would be inconvenient and far from the crew base (which is right next to Charlotte Station) and might potentially expose NCDOT's equipment and personnel to damage or injury in the yard. Add to that the security situation; you wouldn't want to store a passenger train just anywhere: they're expensive and would be prone to vandalism.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Charlotte Station has only one platform and only two platform tracks; these tracks are actually the NS mainline. Any train traveling through and not stopping in Charlotte (particularly high-value, high-speed intermodals) would therefore use the tracks immediately adjacent to the platform. If I'm right, then blocking the platform tracks for hours at a time would be extremely detrimental to NS's operations. Simply parking a train at the platform overnight is a non-starter.

The storage track that is currently used in Charlotte (see it here on Google Maps, with the Piedmont parked there for the afternoon) is literally just barely long enough to hold the 8-car Carolinian overnight.

All the other tracks near the platform itself are used by NS's yard operations. It may look like "Gosh, there are so many tracks there, some of them have to be available." Certainly they're usually not full, but I imagine Norfolk Southern would at the very least expect some payment (to compensate for lost yard capacity) before allowing NCDOT to store a train there. Not to mention the impact to their switching operations when NCDOT needs to pull their passenger train out every morning and park it every night. It would also probably have to be a track close to the edge of the yard, which NS might already be using for a very specific purpose. I don't know if there's precedent for Amtrak or DOT leasing some space at a host freight RR's yard to store passenger trains, but even if a place could be identified and leased, it would be inconvenient and far from the crew base (which is right next to Charlotte Station) and might potentially expose NCDOT's equipment and personnel to damage or injury in the yard. Add to that the security situation; you wouldn't want to store a passenger train just anywhere: they're expensive and would be prone to vandalism.

The HSR grant is expected to fund $23.3 milion for items 8 and and 8b onn the prioritized captal plan http://bytrain.org/f...apital_plan.pdf:

8a Charlotte maintenance facility ROW acquisition for extension of tracks and shop building to serve longer fixed consist SEHSR trainsets, and 8b Creates 700 foot two track shop for intercity equipment maintenance with two outdoor tracks

Edited by staffer
Link to post
Share on other sites

The draft EIS for Raleigh-Richmond is due to be signed by the FRA by the end of the month according to this page.

I wonder whether being signed by the FRA means it can be released for public consumption, or if they plan on trying to control the release of information to the public (I've heard May as the date that public hearings will begin.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Charlotte a big winner in high-speed train cash

"The largest benefactor is the Charlotte Gateway Station in city’s Third Ward. Stimulus will pay $128.3 million of the price tag for bringing the inner-city train depot to the Graham Street facility. Included in the $128.3 million allocation is moving CSX’s Tryon Street yard to another Uptown Charlotte location called the Pinoca Yard."

Sorry for the dumb question but...where specifically is CSX's Tryon Street yard currently? Is it right beside the Amtrak station?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.