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Charlotte Gateway Station and Railroad Improvements

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Just noticed that the railroad goes through long term parking area of CLT airport.
It could be exactly half way for the people mover between termials and Silver line station.
Definitely. I believe this very thing is included in the "CLT Gateway" plan. A station at CLT is definitely a part of the Atlanta-Charlotte high speed rail plan as well. I also think I read on here in some thread that at some point, the Red Line commuter rail plan would have actually run trains all the way to CLT rather than terminating at Gateway although I can find little mention of it recently so it seems that idea never got much traction in the first place.

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For the potential Salisbury to Asheville train. Will it reach gateway station?


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29 minutes ago, XRZ.ME said:

For the potential Salisbury to Asheville train. Will it reach gateway station?

Very, very, very, very unlikely.

When Southern RR ran the Asheville special it terminated in Salisbury (as far as my memory of riding it as a 6 year old works)

If NCDOT ever operates Asheville service they might continue to Greensboro or Raleigh but looping back to Charlotte would add far too many pointless miles to the rail trip and render the train to comically long travel times.  There probably would be solid timed-transfer to a Charlotte bound train. 

Honestly a better rail route to Asheville is via Spartanburg and up (the currently closed) Saluda grade. I think the trip would be MUCH (like 45 minutes) faster than winding up the Old Fort Loops on the Salisbury line. Unfortunately the politics of the route mean that it would never get public money. But, on the off chance that Brightline / Virgin Rail US actually makes money the route might fit their tourist-oriented business model as a spur off ATL-CLT.

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22 minutes ago, kermit said:

Honestly a better rail route to Asheville is via Spartanburg and up (the currently closed) Saluda grade. I think the trip would be MUCH (like 45 minutes) faster than winding up the Old Fort Loops on the Salisbury line. Unfortunately the politics of the route mean that it would never get public money. But, on the off chance that Brightline / Virgin Rail US actually makes money the route might fit their tourist-oriented business model as a spur off ATL-CLT.

That's even more unlikely.  Max. speed down grade was 8 mph or you were automatically routed on the runaway track! Corporate lawyers would have a stroke if you suggested passenger rail service on a 5% grade.

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On 4/26/2019 at 3:21 PM, cowboy_wilhelm said:

That's even more unlikely.  Max. speed down grade was 8 mph or you were automatically routed on the runaway track! Corporate lawyers would have a stroke if you suggested passenger rail service on a 5% grade.

Meh. Passengers certainly ride on much steeper grades elsewhere in the world (including 11% in West Virginia on a tourist line, 9% on Pittsburgh LRT and 7% on Sacramento LRT). Just get some Swiss or Austrian engineers (not the train driver kind) to design some new track -- it would be a run of the mill operation for SBB.

The death of coal ensures that NS is never going to reopen the line for freight, I bet they would sell it cheap.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_steepest_gradients_on_adhesion_railways

Edited by kermit
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By my understanding it is the sharp curve at the bottom of the grade that is the problem, less so than the grade itself.

That said, modern passenger trains probably could operate at Saluda significantly faster than 8mph. Maybe 25? Faster if electrified?

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I love this site, I’ve often thought about the best routing from Charlotte to Asheville. I would be curious to see what the challenges are with following the NS line past Gastonia then  following roughly 10 miles of new track on new location from just west of Bessemer City to the CSX line near Waco.  From there this proposed route would follow the CSX line to Marion via Bostic Jct.  There would be a connector track in the Marion area to the East-West NS line. From there this proposed passenger service would follow the NS line into Asheville.  

Edited by Seaboard Fellow
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Based on this schedule from 1964 for the Carolina Special, it looks like Saluda was faster up the mountain than the Old Fort Loops, but a little slower down. These schedules also included a lot more stops than they would today.
 

  South North Milepost
Biltmore 11:27 16:40 436
Spartanburg 13:55 14:15 503.4
  2:28 2:25 67.4

 

  East West Milepost
Biltmore 11:30 15:09 436
Valdese 13:44 12:15 504
  2:14 2:54 68

 

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On 4/27/2019 at 3:27 PM, cowboy_wilhelm said:

Saluda was an exception where trains operated significantly faster going up-grade than down-grade. I think the track limit was 20 uphill, and 8 downhill was strictly for safety reasons. Those rules were also in place when the majority of the downhill trains were mile-long unit coal with 20 million pounds heading to Belmont. Southern surveyed other routes around the turn of the century after acquiring the line, but they didn't come up with anything better (at least that they were willing to spend the money on). The curves between Tryon and Melrose and at Zirconia near Lake Summit would still keep max track speed around 25 mph, maybe slightly faster for passenger rail. I can't find it at the moment, but an old Southern passenger timetable had the roughly 20-mile trip between Tryon and Hendersonville at something around an hour or more. 

Either Watco wasn't interested in buying or NS didn't want to sell that section when the Blue Ridge Southern RR was formed in 2014. There's only one potential customer (wood chips at Capps Brothers in Landrum) along roughly 40 miles of track, so there's no reason for anyone to buy it. It would make for a good connection and short line between Asheville and Spartanburg, but it would take millions to fill in all of the washed out sections and get the tracks and signals operational again. I'm also not sure why NS is still holding on to it 18 years later, but what else would they do with it? The Town of Tryon has tried to do landscape and interchange improvements in town, and NS has consistently said NO when they wanted to encroach on the RoW.

I'm pretty sure there had been some discussion over the years about a western connection at Clinch-Cross, but nothing came to fruition. You could go Charlotte>Spartanburg (with a new wye)>Marion (with said connection)>Asheville without the cost and impact (i.e., years of study) to lay new track.

What an awesome rails-to -trails this would be.

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If an upgrade of any route into Asheville is ever called for, it should be the approach from the east. This connects Asheville with the rest of the state and from there to population centers of the Northeastern US. With a 2% grade you could do this with a tunnel about four and a half miles long; steeper grades would allow the tunnel to be shorter. 4.5 miles is long, but in the annals of railroad construction, especially internationally, tunnels this long are a dime a dozen.

Compared to the challenge of addressing the elevation change,  whether accessing Asheville from Salisbury or Spartanburg, anything else is small potatoes, and a route from Charlotte like the one suggested by @Seaboard Fellow would make sense.

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Sorry for the double post, but this was big news.

  Vi Lyles said she heard this at the South Charlotte transportation summit (this was in the April MTC meeting minutes (page 21-22): https://charlottenc.gov/cats/about/boards/MTC Agenda Package/MTC-Agenda-Package-190424.pdf

Quote

it was pretty tough to have the South Carolina governor come out and say I want to have rail from Rock Hill to Columbia, and we've been talking about rail to Matthews for years. And you know, the way he sounded -- now, I have to admit, they're all of one mind down there, they're all Republicans, and they all came together and they said we're going to have this facility, we're going to build it, we are going to figure out how to connect with going down to Columbia. And I think we can do that; it just takes more of us to do it together.

This is the first I have heard of this but, should it happen it would almost certainly cement 1) Charlotte to Columbia intercity service and 2) CLT-Rock Hill commuter service. Between this and his talk about LRT to the prospective Panther's facility I am getting the sense that McMaster is a train guy.

I don't see much reason why a deal could be reached to extend some Piedmont trains to Columbia (although that would limit airport service). Five or six Columbia-Charlotte trains per day would be pretty spectacular. 

EDIT: The more I think about this quote the more I think Lyles mis-spoke. I think she was referring to McMaster saying he wanted LRT from Charlotte (not Columbia) to Rock Hill 

Edited by kermit
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10 hours ago, kermit said:

Sorry for the double post, but this was big news.

  Vi Lyles said she heard this at the South Charlotte transportation summit (this was in the April MTC meeting minutes (page 21-22): https://charlottenc.gov/cats/about/boards/MTC Agenda Package/MTC-Agenda-Package-190424.pdf

This is the first I have heard of this but, should it happen it would almost certainly cement 1) Charlotte to Columbia intercity service and 2) Rock Hill commuter service. Between this and his talk about LRT to the prospective Panther's facility I am getting the sense that McMaster is a train guy.

I don't see much reason why a deal could be reached to extend some Piedmont trains to Columbia (although that would limit airport service). Five or six Columbia-Charlotte trains per day would be pretty spectacular. 

That would be a boon to Rock Hill & Fort Mill, certainly. Presumably this would be the line that goes down through Chester? (in orange. i77 is the thin pink line)

image.png.83c332c3f041500e526c1ef66bf0e495.png

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10 hours ago, kermit said:

Sorry for the double post, but this was big news.

  Vi Lyles said she heard this at the South Charlotte transportation summit (this was in the April MTC meeting minutes (page 21-22): https://charlottenc.gov/cats/about/boards/MTC Agenda Package/MTC-Agenda-Package-190424.pdf

This is the first I have heard of this but, should it happen it would almost certainly cement 1) Charlotte to Columbia intercity service and 2) Rock Hill commuter service. Between this and his talk about LRT to the prospective Panther's facility I am getting the sense that McMaster is a train guy.

I don't see much reason why a deal could be reached to extend some Piedmont trains to Columbia (although that would limit airport service). Five or six Columbia-Charlotte trains per day would be pretty spectacular. 

I don’t get it. Aren’t we all Democrats up here in the same way they’re all Democrats down there ?

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23 hours ago, orulz said:

If an upgrade of any route into Asheville is ever called for, it should be the approach from the east. This connects Asheville with the rest of the state and from there to population centers of the Northeastern US. With a 2% grade you could do this with a tunnel about four and a half miles long; steeper grades would allow the tunnel to be shorter. 4.5 miles is long, but in the annals of railroad construction, especially internationally, tunnels this long are a dime a dozen.

Compared to the challenge of addressing the elevation change,  whether accessing Asheville from Salisbury or Spartanburg, anything else is small potatoes, and a route from Charlotte like the one suggested by @Seaboard Fellow would make sense.

I disagree - I think the Saluda line has more potential, even if that potential is unlikely to be realized in the short- or even medium-term. On the Charlotte end, a route from Charlotte to Asheville via Spartanburg would benefit from any improvements to the Charlotte-Atlanta route (which should really be 300+ km/h HSR, but we'll see). If you could get to Spartanburg in 45 minutes (~70 miles in 45 minutes is 93 mph average, doable even without true HSR) and then from Spartanburg to Asheville in 2:00, you'd have a trip that was decently competitive with driving. This service would be timed to transfer cross-platform at Charlotte with Piedmont trains.

On the Asheville end, the line from Hendersonville to Asheville has a decent alignment that could be upgraded for higher speeds, and could serve as a spine for regional rail in that area (River District-Biltmore-AVL Airport-Hendersonville). The Saluda segment will always be slow without massive investment, but any upgrades at either end would make Charlotte-Asheville more competitive while benefitting more than just this one route.

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jthomas in the house.

If you have a better j thomas story than this we must meet and hear it. 

(Jay Thomas was a popular DJ radio host here in the 1970s and this story is from that time.)

 

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What's the designed daily train frequency for Gateway Station.

 

Can I dream for train departure every hour during day time?

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