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North Carolina Intercity Rail Transit


Noneck_08

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Here is a document (pdf) that shows how the Viaduct Building in the center of the Raleigh wye could be modified into a train station. Looks pretty interesting. The main entrance to the station would be from a pedestrian plaza at the end of Martin Street, where pedestrians could walk under the tracks. The vehicular entrance for buses and cars would be from a southward extension of West Street.

I went back over this, and saw the proposed H-Line platform (Piedmont, Carolinian, Silver Star [assuming the latter two continue going through Rocky Mount]) will be a high platform, which is great for faster boarding times. However, the proposed S-Line platform for SEHSR is a low platform. I wonder why? You'd think high platforms would be preferred for SEHSR.

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I went back over this, and saw the proposed H-Line platform (Piedmont, Carolinian, Silver Star [assuming the latter two continue going through Rocky Mount]) will be a high platform, which is great for faster boarding times. However, the proposed S-Line platform for SEHSR is a low platform. I wonder why? You'd think high platforms would be preferred for SEHSR.

First, with the proposed track configuration, freight trains must pass by on the platform tracks for the SEHSR (S-line) platform. The H-line platform is off the mainline. It might be possible to find a configuration that would keep freight off the platform tracks, but it would probably have some other limitation or require reconfiguring the Norfolk-Southern line to Fayetteville, which they will not entertain.

Second, there's a possibility that the SEHSR will actually use low platform rolling stock, Though I'd rather it doesn't since that precludes through-running past Washington.

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First, with the proposed track configuration, freight trains must pass by on the platform tracks for the SEHSR (S-line) platform. The H-line platform is off the mainline. It might be possible to find a configuration that would keep freight off the platform tracks, but it would probably have some other limitation or require reconfiguring the Norfolk-Southern line to Fayetteville, which they will not entertain.

Second, there's a possibility that the SEHSR will actually use low platform rolling stock, Though I'd rather it doesn't since that precludes through-running past Washington.

That's what I was thinking, issues with freight sharing the same tracks as the platform.

Edited by cowboy_wilhelm
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NJ Transit has bi-level cars that are used on both low-level and high-level platforms--they just have multiple sets of doors and only some work on each type of platform. And Amtrak's Amfleet, Viewliner and Heritage Fleet cars currently run between Charlotte and DC AND in the Northeast, with high-level platforms. The same equipment can run on both.

Edited by mallguy
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So, I was checking out the Amtrak site and saw they were looking to start thru coach service Wilson-Greenville-Kinston-New Bern- Havelock-Wilmington and Wilson-Goldsboro-Wallace-Wilmington. I say interesting, but if there is feasibility for coach service, I would think NC would say "hey, there should be feasibility for rail service". Second of all, I think I would rather see the service at Selma since it allows connection to Raleigh and Charlotte..

So, if the coaches meet in Wilson, you can get on the Silver lines and Palmetto, I believe..

If you get through Selma, you can get on the Silver lines, Palmetto, and Piedmont.. more options, right?

I'm still a fan of rail service to the beach and believe it should meet up with the Piemont and be called the Crystal Coast Service (2x daily with 3 coach and 1 vending/sundry car - Raleigh to Morehead City) and the Blackbeard Service (2x daily with 3 coaches and 1 vending/baggage - Raleigh to Little Washington).

But I digress...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anyone know what is happening at the High Point station? It looks like they are moving a retaining wall and -possibly- adding a third track.

FWIW: the mid-day northbound train was VERY crowded today. There was also a surprising amount of short-distance traffic (e.g. Clt-Kannapolis, Kannapolis-Salisbury and Greensboro-Burlington all had traffic)

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Anyone know what is happening at the High Point station? It looks like they are moving a retaining wall and -possibly- adding a third track.

FWIW: the mid-day northbound train was VERY crowded today. There was also a surprising amount of short-distance traffic (e.g. Clt-Kannapolis, Kannapolis-Salisbury and Greensboro-Burlington all had traffic)

This is an ARRA project. This will add parking spaces along the south side of the tracks between the station and Elm street. It will also result in a longer platform that would serve a third track (if it existed) but no third track will be installed, at least not as a part of this project.

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Thanks Orulz!

My return trip to Charlotte on the midday Piedmont today was also _crazy_ crowded (with three coaches plus the baggage / lounge car). It makes me wonder, does NCDOT have the ability to add / drop rolling stock in Raleigh as demand requires or are they currently stuck with fixed consists?

Crowds like today make me think that ridership is going to really explode on the route if we _ever_ get a downtown Charlotte station.

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  • 3 weeks later...

There is a nice editorial in the NandO on the potential of the new Raleigh station:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/08/1758486/moving-people-boosting-the-buzz.html

Sample quote:

A key goal would be to replace and upgrade the current, cramped Amtrak station on Cabarrus Street. That station is simply not up to snuff for handling the load from eight daily passenger trains - a load that has made Raleigh a busier stop than Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando or Miami.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/01/08/1758486/moving-people-boosting-the-buzz.html#storylink=cpy

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Does anybody know when the interchange (NS mainline and O-line bridged over CSX line in ditch) in Uptown Charlotte will be bult to eliminate the CSX-NS diamond. I know they have funding, it is a fairly large and expensive project but it is crucial to the Gateway station project and Red Line project. I can't wait until you can board a train in center city Charlotte instead of that ugly and cramped building they attempt to call a train station.

Alex

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NCDOT is currently going through the environmental analysis/preliminary design phase of the project. Based off of the requirements of the ARRA funding, the project must be completed by September 2017. It is a very complex project and NCDOT is working its way through the process.

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Quick Question.. is there any way NCRR can make the line between RGH and CLT closed so that the speed can be increased to a higher speed level? I know they are double tracking it, but is that enough considering the line has to share with freight. Should it be triple tracked with a dedicated freight line and closed so the Piedmont can potentially get up to 125mp? When I traveled the rail line in Barcelona, it was completely closed and it really MOVED! It would be nice if something like that could happen on the NCRR line... just a thought..

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Yes, it could be closed off (assuming you mean eliminating grade crossings).

Diesel locomotives, however, can go only 110 mph or so, so to get up to 125 mph, the line would have to be electrified, with catenary and new locomotives EDITED TO ADD and new passenger cars, as the ones that NC uses probably aren't certified for 125-mph travel. I don't see that happening.

Edited by mallguy
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NCDOT is already working on a plan to close many, though not all of the grade crossings on the NCRR throughout the state. Some of the double-tracking projects funded by ARRA will include closing a lot of crossings. Notably, if I recall correctly, every single grade crossing on the NCRR in Mecklenburg will be closed or separated.

Other projects, called Traffic Separation Studies (TSS), are meant to look at all the crossings in a large area and identify the best treatment at each (Closing, separation, better gates, traffic light synchronization, road changes.) There are major studies in progress right now in Durham and Wake counties and possibly elsewhere in the state. However, this will be a long term goal since the studies are funded but the improvements they recommend are not.

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Quick Question.. is there any way NCRR can make the line between RGH and CLT closed so that the speed can be increased to a higher speed level? I know they are double tracking it, but is that enough considering the line has to share with freight. Should it be triple tracked with a dedicated freight line and closed so the Piedmont can potentially get up to 125mp? When I traveled the rail line in Barcelona, it was completely closed and it really MOVED! It would be nice if something like that could happen on the NCRR line... just a thought..

Yes, it could be closed off (assuming you mean eliminating grade crossings).

Diesel locomotives, however, can go only 110 mph or so, so to get up to 125 mph, the line would have to be electrified, with catenary and new locomotives EDITED TO ADD and new passenger cars, as the ones that NC uses probably aren't certified for 125-mph travel. I don't see that happening.

Then I say we go up to 100mph with the current equipment. That should be able to shave some time of the trip and make the time better than driving.. Just a thought..

Well, the Northeast Regional rolling stock in the Carolinian consist are used on the electrified NEC up to 125 mph. Not sure about the Piedmont equipment, though. Anything faster than that would require new rolling stock.

Really, the cost/benefit ratio is best for using conventional diesel equipment and coaches at 110 mph. Most bang for your buck. Electrifying for anything less than 150 mph isn't worth it, because not enough time is saved to warrant the additional costs (or relatively low ridership along the corridor, compared to more populated regions).

Even at that, the 110 mph SEHSR corridor is estimated to average 85-87 mph after full implementation, which is faster than the 70 mph average for the 150 mph Acela Express service. Just sayin'.

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What is the eventual goal of the SEHSR between Raleigh and Charlotte? Complete grade separation and 110 mph? Or is that just planned for the Raleigh-Richmond S-Line?

To the best of my knowledge, complete separation is not in the cards for the NCRR. They may drastically reduce the number of crossings but I don't think they're really considering complete separation. Furthermore, 90mph is probably "it" for the NCRR since it's curvy and because of Norfolk Southern's demand that any passenger trains faster than 90mph be on a dedicated track.

NCDOT has on their very long-term (2050) plans a 150mph line more or less on a straight line from Raleigh to Charlotte (borrowing portions of the ACWR line) which would have to be fully grade separated. Any true high-speed electrified line from Washington through Raleigh to Charlotte and Atlanta would probably follow this route.

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  • 2 weeks later...

According to this post over at rr dot net the Carolinian and two Virginia trains (one to Lynchburg and one to Newport News) are approaching profitability according to the current Amtrak five year financial plan. http://www.railroad....art=60#p1014324 These appear to be the only trains outside the NE corridor that are close to profitability.

If this indeed turns out to be accurate then I think this makes a very strong case for SEHSR. In addition, if capacity limits have caped revenue growth on the Carolinian then perhaps a second train to DC / NY would be appropriate (equipment permitting). It looks like there are quite a few people willing to pay to connect to the NE corridor by rail.

Edited by kermit
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I have been wondering about the potential of a regional Crescent service from Atlanta to Washington. This would provide riders with a daytime train between Atlanta, Upstate South Carolina, and Charlotte, a corridor that I believe has strong ridership potential that remains mostly untapped due to the current schedule. With a successful regional service from Atlanta to Charlotte and points north, this will hopefully get Georgia and South Carolina to take future SEHSR funding seriously. However, I'm not sure if it would have a negative impact on current Crescent, Carolinian and Piedmont ridership.

A possible schedule, based off the current Crescent schedule and accommodating current service:

Southbound Crescent Regional Northbound

8 00A Washington 9 49P

9 22A Charlottesville 7 05P

1 52P Greensboro 4 10P

4 15P Charlotte 1 42P

6 31P Greenville 10 54A

9 43P Atlanta 8 00A

Sorry for the whacky formatting.

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