rallyrabbit wrote: ↑Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:40 am
The old High Point, Asheboro, Randallman and Southern spur (NS M Line) used to start at Hoskins and run all the way to HP Yard going through HP Yard. The old platform on the south side of this track was removed to install the parking lot next to the station.
So, High Point has room for a siding, yes. But to use that siding as a passenger platform would mean the existing tracks would need to be reconfigured removing the existing station platform in the middle of the mainline tracks and then shifting the siding over to install a platform on the south side. Or shift the two mainlines tracks around and use the passenger siding on the north side only.
I think the moral of the story is that the trench is big enough for 3 tracks, it would cause a lot of reconfiguration to use it in that way.
Picture of older photo where track was still sort of there
Thanks for the picture.
In the event of converting High Point for high platforms, I don't think that the third track would have a platform added - it would likely be used as a bypass only. For today's traffic levels, it would just be freight trains bypassing the high platform, since all Amtrak trains stop there. At some point in the future it's conceivable that some express passenger trains might bypass High Point, and at that point, those trains might use the bypass tracks instead of the platform tracks, but it certainly wouldn't be necessary.
My main question is whether NS would be satisfied enough with a *single* bypass track (for a total of three tracks in the trench), or whether they would demand a second bypass track on the other side of the platform (for a total of four tracks in the trench.)
The four bridges in the immediate vicinity of the station (Elm, the station's foot bridge, Main, and Wrenn) all seem like there is enough space under them to add a fourth track on the north side (opposite the train station; on the side of the tracks where the bus depot is.) It would probably require pushing the retaining wall back about 20 feet, but the bridge abutments are already in the proper location. The next two bridges east of there (Hamilton and Centennial) are clearly only wide enough for three tracks, but that's far enough away from the station to give enough space for a turnout to the fourth (second bypass) track. Cheap, easy? Not really, but not crazy difficult either. A bigger project than the $1.8 million ARRA parking/retaining wall project on the station side of the tracks, to be sure, but not *that* much bigger. So, $5, maybe $10 million at most, to widen the trench. Track work and raising the platform itself would obviously be components of the project as well. Phasing would be extremely complicated if trains were to continue stopping at High Point, but by extending the bus that currently runs between Winston-Salem and High Point, to Greensboro as well, might allow the station to be closed for the duration of the project, which would simplify things tremendously.
Therefore: I bet a complete project for a high platform and double bypass tracks could weigh in at under $50 million. Cheap? Again, no. But in the annals of transportation projects, kind of a "meh", and probably worth it for the time and reliability savings that would result from going to all high platforms in NC.
With the recent completion of I-85 in Cabarrus County, and with the possible exception of I-85 and I-40 between the split in Hillsborough to where the roads widen up in Durham, would like to see NCDOT draw a line in the sand on new highway lanes in the I-40/I-85 corridor from Charlotte to Raleigh, and to focus on rail improvements as the way to effectively move more people within the state.
Bearing in mind that:
-Freight traffic is farily heavy from Charlotte to Greensboro
-There are well-known plans for higher frequency and higher speed intercity service
-Local/commuter service would also be a home run, given the nearly contiguous string of growing cities, suburbs, and towns
I would conclude that, in the long run, a fully three/four track NCRR would make sense. With a full contingent of local service, I could see four tracks making sense all the way From Charlotte to Lexington, where the WSSB branches off. Three tracks would be needed from Lexington to Greensboro due to freight traffic, and two tracks (with occasional segments of 3rd track) from Greensboro to Raleigh.
Make it so.