Jump to content

North Carolina Intercity Rail Transit


Recommended Posts

As for passenger rail in South Carolina, The Piedmont could be extended to Greenville and the Carolinian to Columbia (or vice versa.)

They definitely should be. I assume that the SCDOT would have to be on board, which could be an issue, but there is enough traffic on I-85 between Greenville and Charlotte to indicate heavy demand.

Sidenote: if the current administration had given these HSR grants to Amtrak or a national HSR entity directly, there wouldn't be a problem with states refusing the HSR money.

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

How have we, the richest (and "greatest") country in the world, managed to mangle our rail infrastructure so badly? How do we call 125 mph/200 km/h  "high speed rail" with a straight face? I had to op

Posted Images

As for passenger rail in South Carolina, The Piedmont could be extended to Greenville and the Carolinian to Columbia (or vice versa.)

is there really more passengers willing to go to Greenville than to New Bern or Morehead City? I could see the military at Cherry Point as much larger opportunities.. or am i missing something?

Link to post
Share on other sites

is there really more passengers willing to go to Greenville than to New Bern or Morehead City? I could see the military at Cherry Point as much larger opportunities.. or am i missing something?

First off I'm talking about Greenville SC here, not Greenville NC, and in that case I would venture the answer is yes, and it probably wouldn't even be close. The Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson CSA has a population of well over 1.2 million people, which puts it in the same ballpark as the Triad and the Triangle (1.5 and 1.7 million respectively.) If you were to take Kinston, New Bern, Havelock, Morehead City, Beaufort, and Atlantic Beach they would probably combine for somewhere in the vicinity of 300,000 people. Big difference.

Link to post
Share on other sites

First off I'm talking about Greenville SC here, not Greenville NC, and in that case I would venture the answer is yes, and it probably wouldn't even be close. The Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson CSA has a population of well over 1.2 million people, which puts it in the same ballpark as the Triad and the Triangle (1.5 and 1.7 million respectively.) If you were to take Kinston, New Bern, Havelock, Morehead City, Beaufort, and Atlantic Beach they would probably combine for somewhere in the vicinity of 300,000 people. Big difference.

Ahhhh.. GSP.. that makes much more sense.. but wouldn't that require SC to assist in the subsidy or would NC consider covering the cost of the SC portion.. it would be an interesting scenerio, though..

How much down time does the Piedmont trains have anyway? Some more utilization of them could be possible if they extended the line.. perhaps adding a 1 stop Raleigh-Fayetteville via Sanford?

Link to post
Share on other sites

How much down time does the Piedmont trains have anyway? Some more utilization of them could be possible if they extended the line.. perhaps adding a 1 stop Raleigh-Fayetteville via Sanford?

I do appreciate your enthusiasm but its not practical to run Raleigh, Sanford, Fayetteville see http://www.bytrain.org/quicklinks/pdf/nc_railmap_10.pdf

(Raleigh, Fuquay, Fayetteville maybe.....)

Link to post
Share on other sites

To add, the Southern Railway ran multiple trains per day between Washington-Charlotte-Greenville, SC-Atlanta along the Crescent's current route. Even until the mid-1970s, the Southern Railway ran a second train along the route, curiously called the Piedmont. It was cut back to Greenville and later cut back to Charlotte before being discontinued, but if the traffic along the route got a private operator to continue 2 trains each way as far as Greenville back in the '70s, when population and I-85 traffic were far lower, there must be demand today.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do appreciate your enthusiasm but its not practical to run Raleigh, Sanford, Fayetteville see http://www.bytrain.o..._railmap_10.pdf

(Raleigh, Fuquay, Fayetteville maybe.....)

Speaking of enthusiasm.. my dream railroad would offer.. and be called 7rail.. with the 7 Lounge at Raleigh

4x Raleigh-Charlotte nonstop express via the ACWR.

3x Raleigh-Fuquay-Fayetteville nonstop express

2x Raleigh-Durham-Greensboro-HighPoint-Salisbury-Hickory-Morganton-Marion-Asheville

3x Raleigh-Goldsboro-Kinston-New Bern-Havelock-Morehead City

3x Raleigh-Zebulon-Wilson-Greenville

Link to post
Share on other sites

So the Florida state supreme court has allowed Rick Scott to officially wash his hands of the Florida HSR cash. http://www.cnn.com/2...dex.html?hpt=T2

Any updates on how the negotiations with NS and CSX are going in NC and VA? I have not heard a word about this process (which makes me even more grateful for the last update by Orluz)

EDIT: Lahood is in Charlotte today, but he has been here before talking big talk.....

Edited by kermit
Link to post
Share on other sites

From reports on Ray LaHood's visit to Charlotte today (it sounds very familiar): http://www.bizjourna...e-off-soon.html

Perdue and LaHood emphasized their hope of resolving contentious negotiations with Norfolk Southern over rail upgrades and scheduling conflicts to smooth the path for the awarding of $500 million for high-speed passenger rail. LaHood said North Carolina “will be in the high-speed rail business” and broached the possibility of the state winning a portion of the $2.4 billion appropriation rejected by Florida last month. .

The article suggested that reallocation decisions may be made next week.

Edited by kermit
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for sounding ignorant, but what is the fundamental issue between NCDOT and NS/CSX right now? Why the hold up that could cost millions? What is the overall issue causing the delay?

Everything I know about it is from the articles below. I am not aware of any published updates to this, others may be better connected.

Very interesting article in Trains which discusses the possibility of congressional recision of the already announced HSR grants to states. According to the article only $36 million of North Carolina's $545 million HSR grant is safe from congressional moodieness.

Get beyond the talking stage of construction guys, this is scary!

http://cs.trains.com...ho-may-not.aspx

Also a News and Observer article discussing this process here:

http://www.newsobser...-nc-pushes.html

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for sounding ignorant, but what is the fundamental issue between NCDOT and NS/CSX right now? Why the hold up that could cost millions? What is the overall issue causing the delay?

It's not clear that the fundamental issue is between NCDOT and NS, rather than with the FRA and the other parties. CSX isn't involved because the current money is only for the Raleigh-Charlotte portion, which is all NS (and NCRR track leased to NS). CSX would be involved in the negotiations for to acquire the S-line between Richmond and Raleigh.

NCDOT negotiated an agreement with NS, but the FRA has to ratify it and has so far refused. They've been having three-way negotiations. The sticking point is that most of the money is for capacity improvements that are supposed to reduce delays. The FRA wants NS to agree to pay certain penalties if the percentage of passenger trains that get delayed exceed various metrics; NS doesn't like the numbers that the FRA is insisting on.

The FRA doesn't want NS and other freight operators to get all the benefits of spending the money, instead of it flowing mostly to passenger trains, and wants to ensure that the passenger trains benefit to the levels promised by NCDOT to the feds. NS doesn't want to end up losing money and possibly effective freight capacity from all this work being done; if that happens, NS would be happier just vetoing the deal. NCDOT would be happy to get the federal money either way, and would still be happy if it ended up making the state's freight railroads better, so NCDOT isn't nearly as inclined to push a hard bargain with NS as the FRA is.

There's probably room for a deal to be signed (especially with the clock ticking).

The N&O article is a little misleading when it says that "The added stimulus funds sought by North Carolina would cut nearly another hour, boosting the average speed to 86 mph between Raleigh and Charlotte." Not with the current money awarded, no, but if we got the entire $6 billion wishlist then maybe. However, we won't right now, especially since the Tier II EIS isn't done. That also relies on NS giving approval to raise MAS (Maximum Authorized Speed) to 90mph; currently they're saying not over 79mph until there are *no* at-grade intersections (railroad crosses without overpasses).

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not clear that the fundamental issue is between NCDOT and NS, rather than with the FRA and the other parties. CSX isn't involved because the current money is only for the Raleigh-Charlotte portion, which is all NS (and NCRR track leased to NS). CSX would be involved in the negotiations for to acquire the S-line between Richmond and Raleigh.

actually, a considerable portion is to put the CSX below grade to get rid of the NS/CSX diamond at the ADM plant just north of uptown Charlotte. Maybe $80 million?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not expect that the NS/CSX grade separation would really be a cause of stalled negotiations. No new passenger trains will be running on CSX tracks so they are not at danger of losing capacity at all. CSX is involved in the stalled negotiations, however, insofar as some money from the stimulus was supposed to pay for new crossovers on the A-line.

Now for something completely different: here's an interesting blog post on how Japan, which has the most efficient passenger railways in the world, goes about building their lines, and it may surprise you.

(1) Very little bidirectional track

(2) Few crossovers

(3) Lots of signals all over the place

Now, Japan is a bit of a special case because the vast majority of its heavy freight, both international and domestic, is transported by sea, leaving its vast rail infrastructure mostly free for passenger trains.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not expect that the NS/CSX grade separation would really be a cause of stalled negotiations. No new passenger trains will be running on CSX tracks so they are not at danger of losing capacity at all. CSX is involved in the stalled negotiations, however, insofar as some money from the stimulus was supposed to pay for new crossovers on the A-line.

Exactly. Also, the FRA wants to put only NS, not CSX, on the hook if the projected on-time numbers for the passenger trains don't materialize as projected. The sticking point is NS vs. the FRA. NCDOT, understandably, is a lot more willing to compromise with NS than the FRA, to avoid missing out on that federal money.

They had similar delays in WA, but WSDOT, BNSF, and the FRA eventually came to an agreement.

The S-line is still key to the entire project's viability; under NCDOT's projections, completing only the Raleigh to Charlotte portions just means greater operating losses. That Tier II EIS can't come soon enough.

Link to post
Share on other sites

North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Director Pat Simmons will testify at a congressional hearing today discussing “finding ways to encourage and increase private-sector participation in passenger rail service.”

http://thehill.com/b...-privatize-rail

EDIT: There is more on this hearing, and a general outline of the issues at the Transport Politic: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2011/03/11/private-sector-participation-in-intercity-rail-service/#comments

Edited by kermit
Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of private sector involvement in passenger rail, the only thing I see done frequently in the US is having commuter railroads contract out their operations to private operators, who are paid to run the trains. Who staffs the Piedmont- NCDOT employees, Amtrak employees or something else?

If I were in charge of NC passenger trains, I'd just offer Norfolk Southern and CSX tax credits in an amount to cover capital expenses and operating losses, in amounts (at least for operating losses) less than the NCDOT would incur, and let them obtain and run their own passenger trains, but that's just my right-wing viewpoint.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of private sector involvement in passenger rail, the only thing I see done frequently in the US is having commuter railroads contract out their operations to private operators, who are paid to run the trains. Who staffs the Piedmont- NCDOT employees, Amtrak employees or something else?

If I were in charge of NC passenger trains, I'd just offer Norfolk Southern and CSX tax credits in an amount to cover capital expenses and operating losses, in amounts (at least for operating losses) less than the NCDOT would incur, and let them obtain and run their own passenger trains, but that's just my right-wing viewpoint.

When it comes to the Piedmont, Amtrak employees and Train Hosts are onboard that train. As far as privatization goes, I'd like to see the Piedmont and the Washington-Charlotte SEHSR routes to be kept under Amtrak control since the conventional wisdom is that the latter is pretty much considered to be a southern extension of the Northeast Corridor. However, I'd like to see the southern half of SEHSR to be contracted out to other operators. Under my plan, the Charlotte-Atlanta-Macon and Atlanta-Jacksonville routes would go to one company and the Raleigh-Jacksonville route contracted to a third company. All three routes would begin as Conventional routes ASAP and start the necessary upgrades to HSR status while ridership is being built up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When it comes to the Piedmont, Amtrak employees and Train Hosts are onboard that train. As far as privatization goes, I'd like to see the Piedmont and the Washington-Charlotte SEHSR routes to be kept under Amtrak control since the conventional wisdom is that the latter is pretty much considered to be a southern extension of the Northeast Corridor. However, I'd like to see the southern half of SEHSR to be contracted out to other operators. Under my plan, the Charlotte-Atlanta-Macon and Atlanta-Jacksonville routes would go to one company and the Raleigh-Jacksonville route contracted to a third company. All three routes would begin as Conventional routes ASAP and start the necessary upgrades to HSR status while ridership is being built up.

I have a slightly different wish list.. I wish the SEHSR would be Amtrak.. So NEC (Boston - Richmond) and SEC (Richmond to Atlanta/Richmond to Jacksonville) would stay Amtrak..

Then I'd love to see intra-Carolina/Virgina to be privatized.. Piedmont (and add a Piedmont Express that only stops RGH-GSO-CLT), Asheville Special (ASH-RGH), Cape Fear (WLM-RGH), Bragg Rag (FAY-Fuquay-Cary-RGH),Tidewater (GSO-RGH-Petersburg-Norfolk), and Neuse Goose (RGH-Selma-Goldsboro-Kinston-New Bern-Morehead) be run by private/public means.. perhaps have companies sponsor or have naming rights for rail stop to assist with the build and maintenance.. and have the state subsidize a total of 20%, with cities adding a subsidy of 5%, and raising the fares sligthly by the private party to truly cover the cost of the service.. just a thought..

And yes, I really believe those routes could work with a 5 car trainset.. using DMUs

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a question.. which may sound stupid but since I moved from Raleigh 6 years ago, haven't been able to see the Piedmont trainset.

What is the consist of the Piedmont? It is Engine-Coach-Coach-Coach or Engine Coach-Coach-Baggage?

My other question is, why don't they put an engine at both ends so they don't have to turn it around? They have 7 engines and with only 2 runs a day, they are only using 2.. why not just use 4 and when the third start, they could run 6 and still have a spare?

Just wondering if it would make the turn-around-time faster..

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a question.. which may sound stupid but since I moved from Raleigh 6 years ago, haven't been able to see the Piedmont trainset.

What is the consist of the Piedmont? It is Engine-Coach-Coach-Coach or Engine Coach-Coach-Baggage?

My other question is, why don't they put an engine at both ends so they don't have to turn it around? They have 7 engines and with only 2 runs a day, they are only using 2.. why not just use 4 and when the third start, they could run 6 and still have a spare?

Just wondering if it would make the turn-around-time faster..

Last time I saw the Piedmont, it was locomotive + coach/cafe + coach + coach (I think); plenty of videos of it are on Youtube.

There is a wye in Charlotte, built for the Piedmont/Carolinian. I assume that if they couldn't turn the train, they could just get a cab car and have that at the other end, which would be lighter than a locomotive.

Edited by mallguy
Link to post
Share on other sites

Last time I saw the Piedmont, it was locomotive + coach/cafe + coach + coach (I think); plenty of videos of it are on Youtube.

There is a wye in Charlotte, built for the Piedmont/Carolinian. I assume that if they couldn't turn the train, they could just get a cab car and have that at the other end, which would be lighter than a locomotive.

Okay.. then I'm confused cause they have 6 locomotives (+1 in rehab), 5 66seat coaches (+2 in rehab), 3 56seat coaches (+2 in rehab), 1 coach/baggage (+1 in rehab), and 2 lounge/baggage (+2 in rehab). So are the lounge/baggage cars the cafe cars?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just thinking about the future rail situation. When the S-line is rebuilt, I'd like to see one of the Amtrak LD train, either the Silver Meteor or the Palmetto, routed via Raleigh via Selma and the NCRR. This gives Raleigh a direct train to both Charleston and Fayetteville. Perhaps they could turn the Palmetto back into the Silver Palm, and run it via the FEC to Miami. That would result in the following routes:

Silver Meteor: Richmond-Rocky Mount-Fayetteville-Charleston-Savannah-Jacksonville-Orlando-Miami

Silver Star: Richmond-Raleigh-Columbia-Savannah-Jacksonville-Orlando-Tampa-Miami

Silver Palm: Richmond-Raleigh-Fayetteville-Charleston-Savannah-Jacksonville-Daytona Beach-Miami

With the FEC and the 110mph S line, the Silver Palm would be far and away the fastest way to get to Miami.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay.. then I'm confused cause they have 6 locomotives (+1 in rehab), 5 66seat coaches (+2 in rehab), 3 56seat coaches (+2 in rehab), 1 coach/baggage (+1 in rehab), and 2 lounge/baggage (+2 in rehab). So are the lounge/baggage cars the cafe cars?

I could be wrong- I have been onboard the Piedmont with a lounge car and recall seeing it, but my memory could be bad.

Youtube clips:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=piedmont+amtrak&aq=f

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like the NCDOT finally came to a consensus with NS. However it seems not all of the money will be allocated; only 461 Million compared to the $545 originally promised. Either way this is great news for the state and our rail service. Here's a link from the Charlotte Observer..... Rail Deal

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.