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Charlotte Gateway Station and Railroad Improvements

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4 hours ago, Third Strike said:

https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article230947248.html

Looks like the NCDOT is interested in buying the S-Line, that runs between Raleigh to the Virginia state-line. The main purpose is to help develop a commuter line from Raleigh to Wake Forest, and also new Amtrak lines, possibly including High Speed Rail, which would also run through Charlotte and the Gateway Station. 

I think the other takeaway is that the NCDOT is interested in buying under-utilized railways. Maybe the O-Line to Mooresville and the CSX line to Monroe could also benefit from the state buying it. 

That N+O article puzzled me. The state has been talking about buying the S Line for more than a decade, the current efforts are nothing new.

What is new is the explicit interest in commuter rail (the S-Line has really only been discussed as intercity) and the state coming to terms with the need to promote freight use on the line (probably only in the middle of the night). The state has been buying up abandoned rail lines for about 20 years.

The state only buys lines that RR's put up for sale. Neither the O-Line or the CSX Charlotte sub falls into that category yet, and (IMO) its unlikely the situation will change in the short term.

Edited by kermit

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O-Line will never be sold as long as the NCRR is state owned. It is a political bargaining chip. 

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32 minutes ago, ajfunder said:

O-Line will never be sold as long as the NCRR is state owned. It is a political bargaining chip. 

What a terrible chip. The value of NCRR is wildly out of proportion with the o-line

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20 minutes ago, tozmervo said:

What a terrible chip. The value of NCRR is wildly out of proportion with the o-line

It is an alternate to the NCRR which NS fully owns. The NCRR is state owned and leased to NS which uses it as their mainline. It is a contingency plan if anything ever goes south with the the state and also allows NS more power in negotiations.

 

NS is the reason the NCRR is maintained to class IV and potentially class V FRA track. The state would have to start a whole maintenance division as well as find funding if NS were to walk away. The O-Line is what allows NS the ability to walk away if things ever went really sour. Hence why they are so stingy with it even though they barely use it.

 

As the state continues to add more passenger trains on the NCRR as well as commuter rail in certain sections, I don't blame NS for playing hard ball although it is really frustrating as a huge proponent for passenger rail.

Edited by ajfunder
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Noticed they cleared this lot by Graham Interlocking. Is something going here or is it just the railroad clearing vegetation for whatever reason.

 

 

20190603_203755.jpg

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9 hours ago, ajfunder said:

Noticed they cleared this lot by Graham Interlocking. Is something going here or is it just the railroad clearing vegetation for whatever reason.

 

 

20190603_203755.jpg

It appears to be private property but maybe there is a lease for staging for the project?   

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7 hours ago, XRZ.ME said:

What does this mean?

Northbound trains will both pick up and drop off passengers between WAS and NYP (the 80  is normally discharge only on the corridor due to its timing being unreliable). Amtrak is running a test in order if the change should be made permanent, if so it might add a few bucks to Amtrak’s bottom line, create a handful of additional ‘gezzz Amtrak sucks’ people in the corridor (due to extra delays and riding in a dirty train), and add couple minutes to total trip time between DC and NYP.  

TLDR; this does not impact us at all.

Edited by kermit

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I would take the train to NYC all the time if it was competitive on price. Sadly it's as much or more compared to just flying. While also taking 12-14 hours.

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On 6/20/2019 at 9:51 AM, drumsy said:

The second platform at Salisbury (which the tunnel will enable) will bring us closer to a commuter rail-ready NCRR corridor (although the article does not mention that)

Edited by kermit
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12 passenger train in 2023
14 in 2025
expected time of the fourth and fifth round trip of Piedmont

Is it waiting gateway station to be ready?


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^ The 4th Piedmont frequency was originally planned to begin next year.

I don’t  think the rail division has ever delivered new frequencies on time...

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On 6/20/2019 at 3:49 PM, kermit said:

^ The 4th Piedmont frequency was originally planned to begin next year.

I don’t  think the rail division has ever delivered new frequencies on time...

Is it lack of rolling stock. lack of staff, lack of motivation, inability to work with the freight railways or just the usual American exceptionalism? 

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2 hours ago, davidclt said:

Is it lack of rolling stock. lack of staff, lack of motivation, inability to work with the freight railways or just the usual American exceptionalism? 

Its certainly not rolling stock — NCDOT maintains plenty of equipment for higher frequency Piedmont Service (roughly 16 coaches, 8 power units and no shortage of other stuff (cab control units, baggage / lounge) last I checked).

The excuses usually gravitate back to “not wanting to tick off NS.” Its kinda nutty because: a) NCDOT / Federal Govt just spent half a billion to double  capacity on the CLT-Gboro tracks that NS uses as a main and b) NS’ lease agreement explicitly allows NCDOT to operate as many passenger trains as they want (with the caveat that they don’t interfere with NS operations). If you go back and look at part a (above) you will see that NS cant really be justifiably ticked, particularly since (I believe)  NS has less traffic on the NCRR now than they did a decade ago. The shift to PSR should also make freight dispatching more predictable. PSR is clearly having an impact on freight operations,  the Charlotte classification yard (adjacent the current station) is significantly emptier than it was pre-PSR.

Gateway station (and the passenger bypass track) will improve the NS situation since it will eliminate any freight interference within the city (something that the Piedmont Improvement Project did not address). The current station requires blocking one track on the main while trains sit at the platform.

Edited by kermit
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I think capacity on the H-Line between Greensboro and Raleigh is still an issue affecting frequency. Much of that segment is still single-track, and several sidings had to be constructed before the additional frequency could be added. Even with the return of double-track on the main line, you have freight trains running at different speeds and without a schedule. Even with two tracks, it's like a two-lane road. If you get behind a slow truck or you don't have any turn lanes, it's still not a very efficient drive compared to a freeway. I'd rather have fewer frequencies that are reliable than more frequencies that are often delayed.

Regarding NS and "precision scheduled railroading," they are about to implement some operational changes. An excerpt from an online article by Trains magazine:

 

Quote

"When you really cut through it all, the essence of TOP21 is run longer, heavier trains — and fewer of them," [CEO Jim ] Squires says. "So we will see train starts come down and train lengths and weights increase. And that has lots of beneficial effects on costs, including fewer crew starts, improved fuel efficiency, and lower equipment rents, for example."

Next year, after NS has experience running the new plan, the railroad will turn its focus to rationalizing yards that may no longer be needed. Clean-sheeting and TOP21 de-emphasize the use of major terminals in favor of pre-blocking at customer locations and local service yards. The new operating plan relies more on trains block-swapping en route to minimize intermediate switching, which can reduce transit time and improve service reliability.

I'm not sure how this will impact Charlotte and Linwood, since Charlotte is a local yard, but has seen less traffic recently. I'm not sure about Pomona and Raleigh. They're going to focus on intermodal next year, so who knows what changes are coming.

Edited by cowboy_wilhelm

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Boy, did they get the Mint St. frontage of Legacy Union wrong!  :blink:

Prob drawn when there was going to be a significant shopping and entertainment feature.


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D-LgeuaWwAAzrH4.thumb.jpg.d5cdcf7b19a5c3ae410ec69ce81e436b.jpg

Silver line alightment.

Maybe this is the reason why CATS strongly perfer this option. Because these blocks are already owned by city/state?

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