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passenger rail from spartanburg to asheville

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That is an interesting idea. I wonder how that would work. I am exious to hear more details about it. The success would depend on it being fast it can get to Asheville. If people can still drive there faster it may not be as successful. I do like that Spartanburg is working with its neighboring cities for a project as unique as this. I can say that I would probably take the train up there for a day.

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I was wondering how long it would take someone to propose this idea seriously. The rail line between Asheville and Spartanburg has been used only for local freight traffic since 2002 or 2003. This section of railroad is home to the revered Saluda Grade, the steepest mainline railroad grade in the US, at well over 5% depending on who you ask. The reason this line was taken out of service is the sheer difficulty and expense of moving freight trains over this grade - up OR down. Historically, this line saw quite a few trains each day and a mix of traffic. The last scheduled passenger train to move over Saluda was the Charleston section of the Carolina Special, and to the best of my knowledge no reductions in infrastructure have been made since then. As a result, there is oodles of capacity to fit both freight and excursion trains - as long as someone pays for it.

Norfolk Southern still owns the tracks and has no intention of abandoning or scrapping the line. I've heard rumors that NS may actually restart freight movements over the grade fairly soon. The trains that used to run over Saluda were diverted to the Asheville-Salisbury main, but following the national trend of increased freight traffic, traffic on the Salisbury line has increased and it is now near capacity. Any further increase in traffic would mean more capacity, and the easiest way to add capacity would be to reopen Saluda.

I'm not sure how happy Norfolk Southern would be to have excursion trains running next to their freight trains. Certainly if someone offered them enough money, something could be arranged.

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If the line can be extended to Greenville...and possibly end in Anderson, that would be cool.

However, I question the viablity of a train line from Spartanburg to Asheville. Is there demand? Frankly, I don't see it. Unless this could be turned into some kind of tourist-dinner thing.

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If the line can be extended to Greenville...and possibly end in Anderson, that would be cool.

However, I question the viablity of a train line from Spartanburg to Asheville. Is there demand? Frankly, I don't see it. Unless this could be turned into some kind of tourist-dinner thing.

This line would probably work well for a dinner train or something. It would be a nice ride. I think that plans for any future government-sponsored trains in the Upstate are probably more advanced for the I-85 corridor, but an entrepreneur could certainly do an I-26 corridor tourist train.

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id ride it. theres been times i wanted to go to asheville altho i would really rather take a train. problem is, what are going to do once u get there? how are you goin to get around? i know the bus system in spartanburg is a joke, does asheville even have one? if it drops off near downtown and its easy enough to get to the biltmore estate that would be easy enough. like i said id ride it, but if its more than the cost of gas there and back then i wouldnt see much point there either.

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Yeah, they will have to make it economical. I know that I would enjoy taking the train to Asheville and walking around up there for a day.

Spartanburg could extend its trolley service to the train station to circulate visitors. The problem right now is that there is not that much for a visitor to do downtown for an entire day. I have no doubt that in 5-10 years that will be different.

For the time being it would mostly be for people in the Upstate to access Asheville. Or maybe conventioners could use it to go to Asheville for an afternoon or evening.

Asheville does have a bus system. I suspect that this train could make a stop at Biltmore Square along the way to Asheville since the line goes right through it. They would have to have a shuttle to get you to the house though. That would be one hell of a walk.

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Just another update on this topic. The group formed to study this idea had their first meeting yesterday. They are going to begin their feasability study soon. After watching Channel 7 last night and reading some of the comments in that atrticle, it seems that most people are in favor of this idea.

Article

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