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Charlotte's Light Rail: Lynx Blue Line

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CATS added some photos about new light rail vehicle on their Facebook page. Only difference looks to be the seats. They said they will be in service by the end of the year

Yuck. 

But then again Fabric Seats are a recipe for disaster. I've seen at least one person relieve themselves onto a DC metro seat...

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Blue Line has used 7th St to 9th as a staging area for major Coliseum events. They put extra vehicles to handle the crush after the show/game. What will be done once there is no staging area?

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Blue Line has used 7th St to 9th as a staging area for major Coliseum events. They put extra vehicles to handle the crush after the show/game. What will be done once there is no staging area?

 

I have not seen an explicit discussion of this but my guess is that vehicles will be stored at the CATS facility in the old intermodal yard just past Parkwood. There should be plenty of room and its relatively nearby.

 

Also keep in mind that they will need to run extra vehicles in both directions -- storing the crushload vehicles at the current maintenance facility seems like a long way, but probably fine with better scheduling.

 

There might be room for a new siding where the Morehead st trolly stop is currently located, but I doubt you could fit more than one two unit train there.

Edited by kermit

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The spur by Atherton mill is still there to, but it may be a little far out for staging. By the way, are there any long term plans for this track, or will it just remain as is. I know they removed the wires from the original loading track.

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CATS added some photos about new light rail vehicle on their Facebook page. Only difference looks to be the seats. They said they will be in service by the end of the year

So is this just extra rolling stock of LRV for capacity issues for the current line because it seems a bit too early for the next set of LRVs for the BLE?

 

Nevermind, I've found the answer to my own question.

 

 

 

In January 2014, CATS announced it would buy 22 new Siemens S70 light-rail vehicles for the Blue Line Extension at a cost of $96.2 million. Four of those were scheduled to be delivered to CATS in November. This will allow CATS to have more three-car trains on the existing Blue Line.

I haven't ridden the light rail in awhile, but have they tried running three-car trains for special events yet?

Edited by Nolan

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Noticed a clearing yesterday so I stopped and got some shots. You can see construction beginning for the light rail extension.

 

Awesome photo.  16th street is closed off as you can see here.  

 

As I posted before, I honestly think the best case for Gateway station should be in the vicinity of the photo, the southeast corner of Charlotte Yard.  5 Railroad lines have the potential to converge at this point (BLE, CSX, NS/NCRR, ACWR, and AT&O/Red Line).  

 

The curve where the rails veer to the right is where the old "O" line connects to the CSX and where Crescent trains from the north can get back onto the NCRR/NS after making a detour through the Yard get to any future station.

 

As we all know the current Amshack will have no pedestrian connectivity to the BLE unless they build a walkway over the Yard which will never happen. 

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I saw a Siemens commercial on CNBC yesterday featuring Light Rail Vehicle Manufacturing in USA and has quite a few shots of our beloved S70s in Uptown.

 

Check it out HERE
 

Edited by RVA2CLT
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I saw a Siemens commercial on CNBC yesterday featuring Light Rail Vehicle Manufacturing in USA and has quite a few shots of our beloved S70s in Uptown.

 

Check it out HERE

With as many projects as Siemens has around the country and elsewhere right now, that is awesome to see so many shots of Charlotte in that commercial!
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The bridge taking the BLE over the ACWR (at Matheson) and (I hope) also over the NCRR now has steel in the ground.

Edited by kermit

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^ gezzz, really? So a chunk of the BLE budget is being spent on crossing a RR that NCDOT is planning to relocate at some point in the future, but couldn't be bothered with now?

 

Ugh!

 

(but thanks for the clarification)

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So ridership…..

 

I was curious about how things were going on the lynx given the transformative change we have seen in Southend and the resurgence of third ward as a legitimate destination for suburbanites. I pulled some data from the APTA quarterly ridership stats and this is what I found:

 

Year                       Daily Ridership

2014 (Apr)           14,277
2013 (Apr)           13,217
2012 (Apr)           13,210
2011 (Apr)           13,197
2010 (Apr)           14,030  

I arbitrarily used data from April of each year since it is the most current month for 2014 and hopefully the most reflective of the Southend boom, I converted their monthly numbers to daily by dividing by 30.

 

My shaky math shows a 1.7% increase from 2010-2014. (the city’s population increased by 8.4% from 2010-2013 according to the census)

 

So I have a couple of honest questions -- I really am trying to figure out the urban dynamics here:

  • Was the dip in 11-13 solely a result of declines in downtown employment?
  • Is the 2014 bump a result of new apartments in Southend? (anything else significant?)
  • Why has ridership lagged city growth by such a substantial margin? I though the plan was to funnel growth into the corridors – ridership data suggests that the opposite may have occurred -- WTF?

http://www.apta.com/resources/statistics/Documents/Ridership/2014-q2-ridership-APTA.pdf

Edited by kermit

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I know one of my coworkers that lives Junction said she doesn't ride the light rail because it is a long walk to the station and it is quicker to just call Uber. I'm sure she's not the only one that thinks like this.

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There are probably a bunch of reasons, but here are some of my guesses:

 

1.  Walking and Cycling - Charlotte still has a fairly poor pedestrian infrastructure, but it has gotten WAY better in the past 5 years.  Someone living in Southend can easily walk or bike into Uptown at basically the same rate as riding the train

2.  More stuff in Southend - 5 years ago Southend wasn't quite the destination it is now.  Someone living in Southend in 2010 had to go to Uptown for nightlife and dining options, they don't need to as often anymore.

3.  The economy and gas prices also play a role, as you alluded to.

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Every publication I see now refers to the UNCC station as "UNC Charlotte-Main Station". Is the JW Clay Blvd station being renamed to JW Clay Blvd/UNC Charlotte station?

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That is smart (I rarely think the initial station names are well thought out).  

 

It is clear that JWClay is just as close to parts of the campus as the one on site.  


I've had a dream about this section of the track. It's going to feel pretty awesome to be in "nature" while on the train (at least for a second). I've always been jealous of these light rail lines: http://www.citytransport.info/Lawn.htm

 

Doesn't New Orleans have some of that, too.    I always wish they would add streetcar in the traditional places and methods they had it in Charlotte, in the grassy medians of wide boulevards.   When the train isn't running by, it has the aesthetic appeal of the wide grassy median looking stately, but then also the infrastructure and utility of the train line. 

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