North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby tvcigar » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:54 am

Sitting on train 80 today heading HPT-BAL. Large contingent of people disembarked at the special NC State Fair stop (at least 100) which is wonderful to see, but is destroying our time keeping. Lost at least a half hour at the fairgrounds, as we are now crawling through the NC State campus toward the Raleigh station.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby gokeefe » Thu Oct 20, 2016 9:58 am

What is the platform length at the fairgrounds?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby tvcigar » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:57 am

There really isn't a platform. There is a tent with chairs set up next to Hillsbourough Street across the street from the fairgrounds. Looks like everyone stepped off with the yellow stair and assistance into a roped off area.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby scratchy » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:04 pm

Would a permanent platform make sense for this once a year whistle stop?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby tvcigar » Thu Oct 20, 2016 2:07 pm

I would say no. Everyone seemed very happy to be off to the fair.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:10 pm

scratchy wrote:Would a permanent platform make sense for this once a year whistle stop?


Wake County will vote on a transit tax this election. If it passes there will be commuter rail on this route so a platform at the fairgrounds -might- be justifiable as part of the project. It could potentially be sold as a park and ride, despite it being a poor location for that.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby gokeefe » Thu Oct 20, 2016 4:37 pm

It should be built on its own merits. A wood platform and ramp would probably be appropriate.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby David Benton » Thu Oct 20, 2016 7:34 pm

I wonder if it would be worth Amtrak having a portable platform, built on a semitruck trailer, for events such as this. Would also be handy during emergencies/ platform repairs elsewhere.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby Sisko24 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:14 pm

tvcigar wrote:I would say no. Everyone seemed very happy to be off to the fair.


As I remember, there is a similar setup for the New York State Fair in Syracuse. No, platform, no tent but most Empire Service trains do stop to receive and discharge. Because of the short timeframe of the fair and where it is located, there isn't the need for it in the western reaches of The Salt City. But Raleigh/Research Triangle sounds as if they could support regular service all year round.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:40 pm

This is a temporary stop,a small patch of level ground and a fine gravel top layer would do.
IF ADA access is required a "off road" forklift with a work platform with railngs on the forks could work.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby gokeefe » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:56 am

David Benton wrote:I wonder if it would be worth Amtrak having a portable platform, built on a semitruck trailer, for events such as this. Would also be handy during emergencies/ platform repairs elsewhere.


Maine Eastern used this type of platform at multiple stations over the years on the Rockland Branch between Brunswick and Rockland. No need for a semi-truck trailer. The platform could be towed using a pickup truck (ball hitch).
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby AgentSkelly » Sat Oct 22, 2016 1:24 pm

David Benton wrote:I wonder if it would be worth Amtrak having a portable platform, built on a semitruck trailer, for events such as this. Would also be handy during emergencies/ platform repairs elsewhere.


When I was once looking into renting one of those portable modular offices from GE Modular spaces (now ModSpace I think) they had actually a "temporary commuter rail station" building with a short platform and ramps.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:26 am

Two recent events to report on Charlotte to Raleigh service:

1) Demolition permits have been issued and fencing has gone up at the future Charlotte passenger equipment service yard site (on the NS main just west of downtown at Summit ave). When complete this will allow for Piedmont sets (and a longer Carolinian consist) to be stored overnight in Charlotte. This was the last of the ARRA funded rail projects to get started in NC. I have not heard about any extension on the ARRA funds but I assume NCDOT managed to get one given the timing. (I am not in town to verify this, I got my info from a trusted poster at urbanplanet.org)

2) Wake county (Raleigh and Cary) passed its transit sales tax referendum. Wake mostly plans to spend the cash on better bus service (unlike neighboring Durham and Orange counties), but the buses will connect to proposed commuter rail along the existing NCRR corridor. I have not yet seen any specifics on the rail plans but it will certainly include, much higher frequency service between downtown Raleigh and Durham, new stations east of Raleigh (and a few to the west, mostly in Research Triangle Park, and perhaps one at the fair grounds) and (I assume) some significant expansion of double track between Raleigh and Durham.

Commuter rail is an exciting prospect for the area and it nicely dovetails with rapid employment and residential growth in the relevant downtowns, horrendous congestion between the two cities and the completion of Raleigh Union Station next year. In addition the larger Piedmont corridor could eventually serve four flourishing metro areas, three of which could have decent public transit connections from their downtown stations. That said, the question of federal funding is now quite murky and the state has shown itself to be an enemy of rail since the legislature flipped to the GOP back in 20012 so I am not optimistic that this project will get the necessary state and federal commitments to get off the ground.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby SouthernRailway » Thu Nov 24, 2016 5:34 pm

Unless I'm missing something, isn't the current Piedmont, with 3 or 4 cars plus 2 locomotives, an excessively expensive way to run a train? The train is overpowered with 1 locomotive, and having an additional locomotive on the rear of the train is more weight to haul around.

Wouldn't it be better to have 2 DMU sets of 2 cars each?

That way the train would not be overpowered, and the train frequency could double, which should increase ridership.

Result: more ticket revenues and lower expenses.

What am I missing?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

Postby Ryand-Smith » Thu Nov 24, 2016 6:37 pm

The issue is until literally 2 years ago there were no FRA compliant DMUs, and Amtrak does not own that track, 99% it is Norfolk Southern, which means that you have to get a time or grade separation waiver. The other issue is that you would have to run 2 sets of the Nippon Sharo DMU unless you get them to make an ABCBA custom setup instead of the AbA setup.
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