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Noneck_08

Could W-S handle light-rail?

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I was in Winston the other day going up Stratford and I though came in my head about light-rail. A line extending from downtown down along the Straford Rd. corridor towards the mall, looked like it could be fesible. The tracks are already there and if a rail system by PART is put in between G-boro and W-S than they could easly connect. Im aware that there is talk of using that old NS line for future commuter use down to Mocksville and Charlotte. But could it work for light-rail? Do you think the triad could handle it?

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There's already a plan floating around out there for streetcars between downtown and Baptist Medical Center. That's half the way to the mall already ;) and streecars / light rail aren't really that different.

The commuter line would have stops at Hanes Mall, Baptist Medical Center, and Downtown as well.

But I wouldn't be so hasty to convert the freight line over to light rail. Firstly, Norfolk Southern considers this line to be very valuable (it's an alternate route between Greensboro and Charlotte that doesn't pass over ROW owned by the state of NC.) So, therefore the line is not for sale. (Well, everything's for sale, but at what price?) Secondly, if you convert a line to light rail, FRA regulations prevent commuter trains and freight trains from using the same track at the same time, so it would completely throw a wrench in the commuter rail plan. Whoops, don't want that to happen either.

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That line along Stratford is a dead Switch line of NS. To my understanding, it is the prime line for light rail use in Winson-Salem to Clemmons. Unless I've been under a rock the past few months.

George, my apologies for being a super-transit nerd, but there is no proposal currently in existence to put LIGHT RAIL anywhere in Winston-Salem, unless you count the talk of a small streetcar line between Baptist Hospital and the Piedmont Triad Research Park through downtown W-S.

The line you speak of out to Clemmons would be COMMUTER RAIL or REGIONAL RAIL. There are big differences between the types of rail service, and their per-mile construction costs.

PART is proposing a REGIONAL RAIL/COMMUTER RAIL style line from Winston to Greensboro. For information on the differences between LIGHT RAIL and COMMUTER RAIL, visit the Wikipedia:

Light Rail at Wikipedia

Commuter Rail at Wikipedia

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light rail is sort of like a trolley in that it has over head electical wires but its faster and goes longer distances. The commuter rail doesnt have those wires and are usually diesel powered. The idea of a monorail system for the Triad was floated around but obviously the cost are to great because the track would be elevated above the ground.

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That line along Stratford is a dead Switch line of NS. To my understanding, it is the prime line for light rail use in Winson-Salem to Clemmons. Unless I've been under a rock the past few months.

Just because a rail line is not used frequently does not mean the railroad wants to get rid of it - at least not for cheap. That is a common misconception. This rail line was used by the Goldsboro section of the old Carolina Special Chicago to-the- Carolinas train run by the Southern Railroad. It would probably still see some through freight traffic between W-S and Charlotte to this day if it weren't for structural problems with the trestle over Peters Creek just southwest of Clemmons.

For an analogy, think of it this way. There are a lot of privately-owned parking lots in our downtowns, but just because the owners aren't building something on these lots RIGHT NOW doesn't mean they want to get rid of them quick and for cheap. They hold onto them because the land is very valuable. In the same way, this continuous right-of-way is extremely valuable to Norfolk Southern. In recent years there has been a massive surge in railroad freight traffic so NS is being MUCH more judicious about what rail lines they abandon because it can actually be easier to restore an lightly used track than to upgrade an existing track for more capacity.

Again, I reiterate. This line is NOT up for conversion to light rail. If the city decided to go through with such a plan, they would have to pay a tremendous sum of money for the right-of-way.

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this route was up for consideration about a few years ago to start a line form Greensboro to Clemmons. Not that any trains use this rail line except 1 or 2 at night in the wee hours. Some major overhaul would have to be on this line becuase a majority of the bridges are crumbling and it looks pitiful. I live in ardmore and I would totally use this line.

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