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Charlotte Gateway Station and Railroad Improvements


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Poop pics, but maybe someone can see what's going better than I.

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Absolutely beautiful!  Who knew the folks at Little had it in them?  Now--JUST BUILD THE DAMN THING!

Oh, you should see the things they're working on now. Their portfolio in China is incredible and their domestic stuff is starting to catch up. They are the architect on the Crescent project too, btw. 

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Oh, you should see the things they're working on now. Their portfolio in China is incredible and their domestic stuff is starting to catch up. They are the architect on the Crescent project too, btw. 

That makes sense. It looks like it could easily fit in a huge Chinese city.  I guess I'm just jaded from the "red brick at any cost" mentality of Charlotte and the firms that have designed local structures.  I'm honestly impressed with this.  Fantastic!

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I think there is a chance that the winning bidder can step up their design.   The bid selection was for a master developer and I think they used possible design and not necessarily a final design affordable in the budget, etc.   Obviously the design was captivating, and that is why Little is using it now for publicity (like they did for Trump Tower).  But hey, we aren't even sure if they can get enough trains to the station, and certainly don't have the budget for it yet.

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Finally some visible work on the ARRA improvements, or what the DOT now calls PIP (Piedmont Improvement Program). I was taking the family to get some dinner last night and noticed signs up that they are closing Caldwell Rd at the grade crossing with NS in a couple days.

 

Did a search on NCDOT site and looks like recently the have awarded a whole bunch of contracts that are starting NOW!

 

NCDOT Awards $24.9 Million Contract for Railbed Construction in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties

 

NCDOT Awards $13.7 Million Contract for Grier Road over Norfolk Southern Railroad in Mecklenburg County

 

NCDOT Awards $4.9 Million Contract for Caldwell Road Grade Separation over Norfolk Southern Railroad in Cabarrus County

 

NCDOT Awards $3.4 Million Contract to Extend Caldwell Park Drive in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties

 

NCDOT rail NEWS

 

I am very happy to see this with such a long absence of news. It's going to be an interesting couple years in the university area for transportation with this the BLE and finishing 485

 

TH

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As I recall, all agreements required to spend ARRA money must be in place by September 30th, so by the end of the month we should hear for sure whether the grade separation is a Go or a No Go, and if it's a No Go, what will happen with the money that was pledged to the project.

 

On another note, Page 8 of this fascinating PDF about the history and future of rail in downtown Raleigh, contains the first official mention I've seen anywhere of a passenger station planned between Charlotte and Kannapolis. The map isn't detailed enough to tell whether it's in University City, Harrisburg, or Concord. It also shows new stations in Lexington and Hillsborough, which are old news, and a station in Weldon, which is news to me.

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I think that They did a ridership study and determined that new stations in Hillsborough and Lexington (and evidently somewhere between Charlotte and Kannapolis) will result in increased ridership, so evidently the convenience of a new station outweighs the time lost by stopping the train more often. That to me says it's a good thing.

 

With Hillsborough and Lexington, there will be at least one station in every county along the line. I guess this isn't necessarily a win for the effectiveness of the train but it does earn broader political support.

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Ugh, I see on the map attached to the Raleigh report that multiple new stations are proposed on the Charlotte-Raleigh route.  That shouldn't happen; more stations = slower speeds, and multiple starts and stops just make the trip seem even longer.

Perhaps they can do as some places in Europe: offer both an express train as well as local for the same tracks.

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The Northeastern US has plenty of express and local Amtrak and commuter trains.  They run very frequently: Amtrak will have an Acela Express, a Regional (frequent-stop) and sometimes another train every hour.  I see that Charlotte-Raleigh will have at most 8 trains in each direction per day. Maybe only one or two of them will stop at the new stations, hopefully.

Edited by mallguy
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I think it's important to serve the smaller communities too, even if it's with less frequent service.

 

 

I'm by no means an expert, nor do I have any engineering background, but hypothetically, how practical would it be to burrow under ADM and leave the portion of the track they rely on intact? I realize this would be very expensive, but would it be more expensive than what they're already demanding from the state? It would kind of be like the Big Dig project in Boston, where they didn't want to shut down all of I-93 for years while they built a new highway, so they left it open while tunneling underneath it.

 

The challenge with burying the thing is more from an engineering standpoint. Railroads require very low slopes on their tracks, so as you look to lower one area, you end up chasing the grades back for rather long distances (as opposed to roads which can be steeper). You have to think about the tracks like a web of rubber bands, so if you lower one point a lot of other points have to be lowered as well so that they all connect. I don't know what the dept would need to be to make it work, so I'm making some assumptions here:  While the plus side is that you'd probably end up burying all of the tracks through uptown, it may not be possible to meet the grade requirements while maintaining the bridge over I-77 and Irwin Creek to the west, and possibly Little Sugar Creek to the east, assuming it's possible to still tie into the Tryon Yard.

 

I'm not saying it's not possible, just that it's probably more expensive than the ADM buyout option. That said, if we can resurrect Ted Kennedy and get him to funnel money into this project like he did for the big dig then anything is possible.

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From today's Third Ward Community Newsletter:

 

Darlene Heater, VP of Sustainability and Community Development, Charlotte Center City Partners, presented information about several projects of interest to Third Ward residents:

 

1. Gateway Intermodal Station.  The project is on hold until the state gets the authority to enter into an agreement with a new developer.  Hines, the developer originally selected, has lost interest after learning that the amount of developable land has decreased due to track realignment requirements from NCDOT.  At this point, the state, city, and/or CATS will likely have to make funds available in order to move the project forward.  How that will be done is not defined at present.  Darlene encouraged Third Ward residents to make their voices heard.

 

2. Railroad Grade Separation.  This project would involve separating the existing at-grade crossing of the CSX rail line and Norfolk Southern (NS) mainline where they cross in Charlotte’s Fourth Ward neighborhood (adjacent to the ADM facility).  Due to problems in negotiations with ADM and with timing challenges associated with the available funding, the project may not occur.  There is hope that the funds will stay in the Charlotte area and possibly be diverted to the Gateway Station project.

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