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Piedmont & Northern Railroad

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^Iowa Pacific is a great company, they run many successful short lines (many with a passenger component) across the country, their Pullman rail journeys are 1st class, and they just took over Amtrak's Hoosier State.

I hope at the very least they can run a Holiday train through McAdenville along the old P&N.  That would be fun.

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On 8/11/2015 at 2:21 PM, ChessieCat said:

I hope at the very least they can run a Holiday train through McAdenville along the old P&N.  That would be fun.

Iowa Pacific did indeed run some Christmas excursions (although not to McAdenville -- P&N doesn't quite make it there) and will run a passenger excursion from North Belmont to Mt Holly, Gastonia (including a stop at Tony's) and back on January 23rd. Aint cheap, but if you are a rail nerd its a unique opportunity.

http://www.gastongazette.com/article/20160110/news/160109289/?Start=1

 

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17 hours ago, kermit said:

 

Iowa Pacific did indeed run some Christmas excursions (although not to McAdenville -- P&N doesn't quite make it there) and will run a passenger excursion from North Belmont to Mt Holly, Gastonia (including a stop at Tony's) and back on January 23rd. Aint cheap, but if you are a rail nerd its a unique opportunity.

http://www.gastongazette.com/article/20160110/news/160109289/?Start=1

 

 

Thanks for the heads up on the Jan 23 excursion. I would absolutely do that if the ticket prices were a little more reasonable. $50 is steep and $100 is absurd!

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35 minutes ago, jednc said:

 

Thanks for the heads up on the Jan 23 excursion. I would absolutely do that if the ticket prices were a little more reasonable. $50 is steep and $100 is absurd!

 

17 hours ago, kermit said:

 

Iowa Pacific did indeed run some Christmas excursions (although not to McAdenville -- P&N doesn't quite make it there) and will run a passenger excursion from North Belmont to Mt Holly, Gastonia (including a stop at Tony's) and back on January 23rd. Aint cheap, but if you are a rail nerd its a unique opportunity.

http://www.gastongazette.com/article/20160110/news/160109289/?Start=1

 

Yeah thanks for the heads up.  Hopefully they drop prices before 1/23 cause they are a bit steep.  I would pay $50 for the dome car... 

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They might have the "rare mileage" collector in mind: railfans who try to ride over as many different lines as possible, using excursion trips to cover lines that don't have regular passenger service. The P&N hasn't seen any passenger trains except for the Christmas Town trains just recently, since 1951.

However, it looks like they announced this less than three weeks in advance. That's not much lead time for people who might want to travel a long distance for this.

Anyway, I'm interested in electric railroads specifically, and there haven't been very many of those in the South except for local streetcars, light rail, and the metro-type systems in Atlanta and Miami. So I'm attracted to this from the historical angle. It's also only a couple hours' drive for me. I splurged for the dome and and am keeping my fingers crossed for the weather.

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On 1/15/2016 at 6:55 AM, jtbell said:

They might have the "rare mileage" collector in mind: railfans who try to ride over as many different lines as possible, using excursion trips to cover lines that don't have regular passenger service. The P&N hasn't seen any passenger trains except for the Christmas Town trains just recently, since 1951.

However, it looks like they announced this less than three weeks in advance. That's not much lead time for people who might want to travel a long distance for this.

Anyway, I'm interested in electric railroads specifically, and there haven't been very many of those in the South except for local streetcars, light rail, and the metro-type systems in Atlanta and Miami. So I'm attracted to this from the historical angle. It's also only a couple hours' drive for me. I splurged for the dome and and am keeping my fingers crossed for the weather.

The P&N excursion is still on for tomorrow, correct?

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8 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

The P&N excursion is still on for tomorrow, correct?

Nah, they pushed it to next Saturday (the 30th). They will run the same schedule. They called me today to give the option of rebooking or getting a refund.

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4 minutes ago, kermit said:

Nah, they pushed it to next Saturday (the 30th). They will run the same schedule. They called me today to give the option of rebooking or getting a refund.

Good to hear.  Next week works much better for me...

Edited by ChessieCat

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I re-confirmed my reservation today, for next Saturday. Weather looks OK so far, knock wood. I wasn't confident of my ability to get going early enough to arrive in time for the 9 AM trip, so I opted for the 1 PM trip. If I do manage to arrive early enough, I'll "chase" the morning trip and take some pictures of it.

I see someone linked to my web page about the P&N on page 2 of this thread a few years ago. The server died since then, and I had to relocate my web site. Now I have two P&N pages, one each for North Carolina and South Carolina.

 

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On 1/25/2016 at 6:14 PM, jtbell said:

I re-confirmed my reservation today, for next Saturday. Weather looks OK so far, knock wood. I wasn't confident of my ability to get going early enough to arrive in time for the 9 AM trip, so I opted for the 1 PM trip. If I do manage to arrive early enough, I'll "chase" the morning trip and take some pictures of it.

I see someone linked to my web page about the P&N on page 2 of this thread a few years ago. The server died since then, and I had to relocate my web site. Now I have two P&N pages, one each for North Carolina and South Carolina.

 

^Just bought domeliner tix for 1PM too.  I figure if it's going to last 4 hours, that's longer than most plane flights so might as well enjoy it rather than straining one's neck looking out the window.  Should be fun!

Anyone else going?

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^Yup, I'll be in the dome at 1pm. I have a beard that has more grey in it than I like to admit, probably in a black/white checked shirt.

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How can you buy tickets for P&N trains, and where are they advertised? I checked its site on the Iowa Pacific main site and there was a mention of the Christmas trains, but nothing more.  I'd have jumped at the chance to take one of these trains!

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It was great to see the P&N on a nice day. It looked like about 100-120 people were on the 1pm trip. Based on the remarkably smooth ride (at the 35mph top speed) the tracks were in much better shape than I had expected. Tony's ice cream by rail was pretty spectacular and it was also good to meet ChessieCat.

Their were two depressing realizations from the ride however. First, the line now has _very_ limited potential for new freight traffic without significant new construction. It did not appear that any sidings remained intact and there is very little trackside activity other than Mount Holley (and it looked like CSX has all that business). The liquids transloading facility just to the west of the South Fork, did appear to be busy and (from the looks of it) was the only paying traffic on the line. One positive was there is plenty of vacant / empty space that could accommodate new industrial users if they are willing to build a siding. As a bonus, new facilities in Lowell, East Gastonia and a small chunk of Mt Holley would potentially have access to two separate railroads -- lets relocate ADM from 4th ward here!.

The second bummer was, despite the good track conditions, the line feels much too curvy and meandering to ever be useful for commuter service -- I can't imagine that the line will ever reach a 35mph average speed given all the sharp curves. While I usually feel that rail transit is appropriate nearly everywhere, I just can't picture Charlotte to Gastonia via Mt Holley ever being fast enough to be worth the investment. The one exception might be on the Belmont spur, some improvements to grade crossings might make shuttle service to Mt Holley (which would connect to a fantasy commuter service on the NS) reasonable in the distant future.

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^Nice meeting you too Kermit (and jtbell).  Attached is a pic of the vintage locomotives they used.  The one facing the photo is a Road slug (no engine, just controls) while the other loco facing away is the mother with engine.   

I agree with everything Kermit says, the section we traveled is on the wrong side of the Catawba to be much use for commuter rail.

IMHO the only section of the P&N that would work for passenger service is the section between Hovis Rd and BofA Stadium, and only if CSX decides to one day vacate the Intermodal Terminal at Rozelle's Ferry.  That would put a whole lot of real estate into play for development that could provide enough ridership.  

P&N.jpg

Edited by ChessieCat
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On 2/1/2016 at 9:20 AM, ChessieCat said:

Nice meeting you too Kermit (and jtbell)

It was nice seeing you there, too! It was a nice coincidence that we ended up in the same booth on the domeliner.

I've finally got my pictures all fixed up:

I85Overpass.thumb.jpg.346f7a993bf5e5fc08Ozark2.thumb.jpg.51712132808ce834d339357

TonysAM2.thumb.jpg.dd6afc504ef6af2698cb4

The rest of them, and a few videos, are here.

I agree real passenger service is probably very unlikely, not so much because of the speed (maybe modern self-propelled diesel ralicars could go a bit faster), but because of (a) having to deal with CSX for the Mt. Holly - NW Charlotte section, (b) rehabilitating the out-of-service track that goes as far as Cedar St. in Charlotte, and (c) dealing with the "last mile" into uptown.

Maybe some Panthers tailgating trains, if the Lakewood Trolley people can get something going, too.

On 1/30/2016 at 6:29 PM, mallguy said:

How can you buy tickets for P&N trains, and where are they advertised?

I found out about this excursion pretty much by accident. I was Googling for "Piedmont and Northern", doing some research for my web pages, and the Premier Rails page about the excursion (with reservation info) turned up. I was surprised that it wasn't linked from anywhere on the Iowa Pacific web site, as far as I could tell. Then I found the P&N Facebook page which had a link to the Premier Rails page.

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Oh cool those locomotives are from the San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad in Colorado (another Iowa Pacific operation). I rode behind them a few year ago in Colorado.

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This crossing appears to be a private property grade which crosses Waste Management property. Their drivers must be highly aware of this crossing. It is marked with signs and there is a clear train grade crossing visible.

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I know the old rail on the other side of freedom along one of the Stewart Creek tribs is a future greenway site (along County owned and controlled land, as well as connecting to Bryant Park). 

Not sure about the other side of Freedom, but it seems duplicative to convert the old spurs there to greenway when the Stewart Creek and Wesley Heights greenways are a half mile away at most.  I'm all for more bike trails but there are more pressing needs in areas without them.

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All the old P&N tracks have been removed and they are stacked across from Lucky Dog Brewery along Thrift Rd... (see photo)

20190330_144502.jpg

Edited by ChessieCat
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