North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby deathtopumpkins » Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:12 am

Roanoke Rapids is a decent-sized town, and as someone else mentioned it's right at the intersection of I-95 and US 158, meaning you'll likely get people driving in from surrounding towns (e.g. Emporia, Murfreesboro, Ahoskie, Warrenton, Norlina, maybe even Henderson).
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:30 am

deathtopumpkins wrote:Roanoke Rapids is a decent-sized town, and as someone else mentioned it's right at the intersection of I-95 and US 158, meaning you'll likely get people driving in from surrounding towns (e.g. Emporia, Murfreesboro, Ahoskie, Warrenton, Norlina, maybe even Henderson).


The Rocky Mount comparison is instructive and I'll admit to having some kneejerk pessimisim about that part of the state (I have a bunch of family in Wilson). So a Weldon station might not be as awful as I fear. However, the whole area is loosing population so its certainly not going to get any busier. Also the S-line reconstruction will add a station in Henderson, which will soak up most of the potential riders from the west. If you go east of Murfeesboro you start to see people gravitating towards Norfolk. I just don't see much benefit in return for the extra 5 minutes added to the timetable.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Arlington » Fri Jun 09, 2017 4:17 pm

Roanoke Rapids is already in the "Halifax County" total of 52k, but there is another 20k in Northampton County (immediately east on US 158) that if you fold it in, Weldon's catchment, rises to a population of 70k, about 1/2 Rocky Mount's size and we might call it 35 boardings/day.
Bob Roberts wrote:However, the whole [Weldon] area is loosing population so its certainly not going to get any busier.
I'd wonder if there'd be more retiring Northeast Corridor folks who'd consider retiring to small-town life along US 158 if they knew they had 4 trains a day to DC/PA/NJ/NY?
Bob Roberts wrote:Also the S-line reconstruction will add a station in Henderson, which will soak up most of the potential riders from the west. If you go east of Murfeesboro you start to see people gravitating towards Norfolk. I just don't see much benefit in return for the extra 5 minutes added to the timetable.

Both good points. So I restrained myself from adding Murfeesboro's Hertford County's 24k pop when revised the Weldon catchment are to Halifax+Northampton.

But versus Norfolk's current single early departure and late return, Weldon would have 4/day right out of the gate (2 Silvers, a Palmetto, & Carolinian), and likely never quite lose them all (even after the S-Line opens). That is good service for Weldon to tap and I'm assuming road congestion will always be better than Norfolk's terrible traffic, and schedule will be superior for a long while too.
Clearly, though, if/when the S-Line gets built at 110mph dedicated passenger service, Henderson is the long-term winner.
Last edited by Arlington on Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby east point » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:43 pm

Suspect NC DOT will not consider Weldon until Carolinian can be lengthened. That of course depends on The storage area getting complete in CLT to allow storage of longer trains. Then of course that old bug a boo getting more cars for the train. To complicate the equation Amtrak may require another loco. Link to Amtrak's loco requirements.

https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/132/985/Am ... -Guide.pdf
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Sat Jun 10, 2017 3:20 am

east point wrote:Suspect NC DOT will not consider Weldon until Carolinian can be lengthened. That of course depends on The storage area getting complete in CLT to allow storage of longer trains. Then of course that old bug a boo getting more cars for the train. To complicate the equation Amtrak may require another loco. Link to Amtrak's loco requirements.

https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/132/985/Am ... -Guide.pdf


NCDOT says phase one of the Charlotte layover facility will be complete in August. I believe phase one includes sufficient storage for adding one coach to the Carolinian. IIRC phase two is the maintenance shed.

https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/charlotteRailMaint/
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Return to Reading Company Olney Sta » Sat Jun 10, 2017 8:08 am

I had heard the new acquisitions were intended to be parts cars for the existing fleet -- no rebuilds are planned). They plan to store the cars on Carolina Southern tracks near Zebulon I believe.

Unfortunately I can't remember where I had heard that so take it fwiw.


Possibly from Trains magazine

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2017/06/05-circus-train-cars-on-their-way-to-a-new-beginning
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby MattW » Sat Jun 10, 2017 9:14 pm

I thought the Class 1s had nixed this because of fouling the diamond or something for too long. Am I way off?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Arlington » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:00 pm

^ Which "this" ? Circus cars? Nixed where? Weldon? By which Class I ? CSX? NS?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby MattW » Sun Jun 11, 2017 4:26 pm

The Charlotte layover facility and station, and yes, both Class 1s in the area.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:04 am

MattW wrote:I thought the Class 1s had nixed this because of fouling the diamond or something for too long. Am I way off?


The Charlotte layover facility was not written off, but attitudes towards the diamond have evolved in somewhat mysterious ways. You are correct that the original plan called for a grade separation of the diamond crossing of CSX and NS at the edge of downtown Charlotte, but that specific element of NC's ARRA projects did not get started, partially due to problems with an adjacent landowner. The funds were reallocated to rail projects elsewhere in NC (including the new Raleigh station IIRC). The result is that Charlotte rail traffic is still choked by the level crossing which separates 1) the passenger equipment layover and maintance facility, 2) Charlotte Gateway station (hopefully open before 2024) from 1) the current Charlotte station (one of the worst stations in the Southeast) and 2) the busiest passeger rail route out of Charlotte (to Greensboro, Raleigh and points North).

All this new passenger equipment crossing the diamond had everybody in a lather back in 2009 just gets a big shrug now. I suspect one of the reasons no one seems to care anymore is that CSX downgraded the Charlotte subdivision to secondary status (so CSX plans to run fewer trains more slowly).

As for the layover facility, construction is underway. Grading looks to be complete and ballast is beginning to appear on site so the August open date stated by NCDOT is possible. Unfortunately I don't have any info about the agreement between NCDOT and NS to access the new facility -- the 1.5 (ish) miles between the end of the state-owned NCRR (a bit South of the current Charlotte station) and the layover facility are on NS trackage. This will be the only portion of the Piedmont route to use NS tracks. NS has been somewhat intransigent with NCDOT (IMO) about trackage rights in the Charlotte area, I believe they are using access to their network as a lever for negotiating a new lease on the NCRR tracks which they use as a main between Greensboro and Charlotte. Given NS's posture, I strongly suspect that Gateway station track work will include a new track on NS property for passenger equipment between the end of the NCRR and the storage facility (Gateway station lies in the middle of this section).
Last edited by Bob Roberts on Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby MattW » Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:26 pm

I appreciate the detailed write-up Bob. I'm glad to see things moving forward!
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:16 am

An additional Piedmont frequency (the 3rd Piedmont round trip -- 4 total Charlotte to Raleigh round trips counting the Carolinian) has been funded in the just enacted NC budget. A relaible poster on another board suggests a June 2018 service start date with timetable info available around late October.

Yields from the ARRA project are finally starting to be realized. There should be at least one more Piedmont frequency beyond this (a 4th, unknown start date). Combined with the new Raleigh station (sometime 2018), a new Charlotte station (track work is underway but open date is still unknown), a new Charlotte service yard (phase one as early as next month) and timekeeping improvements (thanks to double-track) we should see substantial ridership gains over the next few years.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby electricron » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:25 am

Bob Roberts wrote:Unfortunately I don't have any info about the agreement between NCDOT and NS to access the new facility -- the 1.5 (ish) miles between the end of the state-owned NCRR (a bit South of the current Charlotte station) and the layover facility are on NS trackage. This will be the only portion of the Piedmont route to use NS tracks. NS has been somewhat intransigent with NCDOT (IMO) about trackage rights in the Charlotte area, I believe they are using access to their network as a lever for negotiating a new lease on the NCRR tracks which they use as a main between Greensboro and Charlotte. Given NS's posture, I strongly suspect that Gateway station track work will include a new track on NS property for passenger equipment between the end of the NCRR and the storage facility (Gateway station lies in the middle of this section).

I'm not surprised NS and NCDOT are both using trackage rights and track ownership as leverage in any negotiations. But I believe NCDOT has the upper hand, or sitting in the cat's bird seat. NS needs NCDOT track access for its main line, NCDOT could just simply move its layover yard somewhere else. It could select an alternate less convenent site.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:50 am

here is the current state of the Charlotte locomotive and passenger rail car maintenance facility. Taken from Summit avenue (stub end of yard). The site will have one of the best views in Charlotte. The NCDOT project page says it will be complete in August? (Ballast has been delivered to the site (out of frame to the right)).

https://www.ncdot.gov/projects/charlotteRailMaint/
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storage yard.jpg
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby gokeefe » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:18 pm

Bob Roberts wrote:Combined with the new Raleigh station (sometime 2018), a new Charlotte station (track work is underway but open date is still unknown), a new Charlotte service yard (phase one as early as next month) and timekeeping improvements (thanks to double-track) we should see substantial ridership gains over the next few years.


I think the growth is going to be far beyond most expectations ... Raleigh in particular looks promising ...
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