• North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont Service

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by mtuandrew
As we all know by now, CSX and the Commonwealth of Virginia have agreed to a deal where Virginia now owns half the RF&P right-of-way, as well as the entire SAL from Collier Yard to Ridgeway, NC, and is now the landlord for the Buckingham Branch Railroad from Doswell to Orange to Clifton Forge. We’ve speculated that North Carolina is on its way to doing the same with the CSX Norlina Sub (former SAL.)

Has there been any discussion about additionally purchasing the remaining active portions of the CSX line between Goldsboro and Wilmington? The abandoned right-of-way is already managed by NCDOT.
  by Arlington
NC seems committed to buying if CSX is in a posture to sell:
It should be noted two out of service corridors have been designated for statewide
importance under the NC Transportation Network (NCTN) – the CSXT S Line
north of Norlina to the VA-NC state line due to plans to use this line for the
federally-designated Southeast Corridor and the Wallace to Castle Hayne
corridor which could be used for future passenger rail service to Wilmington
and as a second freight rail route to the State Port in Wilmington.
2015 NC State Rail plan, p 60
  by mtuandrew
I suppose CSX would try to insist on a no-competition covenant to Wilmington, and that’s probably stalling a deal. For the good of the state and the port, North Carolina would have to try to get access to another party via NCRR ownership.

(If there’s ever a last round of mergers involving CSX, Norfolk Southern would undoubtedly get trackage rights to Wilmington.)
  by orulz
Waking up this thread from its COVID-induced slumber.

NCDOT got a $25 million BUILD grant to put a passenger station in Lexington, which is roughly halfway between High Point and Salisbury.
https://www.the-dispatch.com/story/news ... 464501001/

This has been in the works for a while, and will put a station in the largest gap on the Piedmont route. Adding another station will slow trains down, but also recall that all new stations are being built with high platforms, and that can make stops a lot quicker. All-in-all this might add 3 or 4 minutes onto the schedule of the Piedmont. Probably worth it. NCDOT did a study and determined that the increase in ridership and revenue due to the new destination, would outweigh the drop in ridership due to slower travel times.

I'll be interested to see how they plan to address the high platforms / freight train conflict.

There are two other extra stations on the Piedmont corridor that are supposedly being worked on too:
  • Hillsborough
  • Harrisburg
  by Matt Johnson
Hate to see slowdowns, but I know overall the average speed has improved on the line. Any chance of ever getting 90 mph running as was mentioned in some of the early stimulus funding goals? Not that 79 to 90 is a tremendous increase, but 90 just sounds a lot cooler! :)
  by Bob Roberts
Matt Johnson wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:47 pm Hate to see slowdowns, but I know overall the average speed has improved on the line. Any chance of ever getting 90 mph running as was mentioned in some of the early stimulus funding goals? Not that 79 to 90 is a tremendous increase, but 90 just sounds a lot cooler! :)
Reading between the lines, it appears to me that NS said they were unwilling to pay to maintain Class 5 track on the NCRR, but NCDOT was welcome to pay for it. NCDOT saw the amount in question and said "Class 4 is fine, thank you." I have no actual information to support this belief.

I suspect that new stations takes us further from NCDOT working to find that maintenance money since the extra 10mph top speed is worth less with each stop added.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Adding three to four minutes to the schedule after adding a few new stops with high level platforms would be worth it. In fact, it looks like eventually, additional time will be taken off the schedule along the Piedmont route. I hope that more high level platforms could be built at the existing Piedmont stations and this would help reduce the dwell times.

That's great news to hear about the State of NC working out a deal to acquire the S-Line from Raleigh to the NC/VA State Line, I take it. With CSX not utilizing that part of the S-Line very much, it's great that the NC and VA put the right of way to good use-that is letting Amtrak provide more roundtrips from the population centers in the Northeast to the main population centers in the Tar Heal State. This will also enable Amtrak to shave a few hours off of the schedule of those four new Carolinian trains.
  by Riverduckexpress
So the endgame for the S-line is full grade separation between Petersburg and Raleigh, and we know Amtrak will have 125 MPH-capable diesels for its Southeast routes later on this decade (the ALC-42s for the Silver Star, and presumably, Amfleet I replacements good for 125 MPH in diesel territory, used for new NYC-Raleigh/Charlotte-via S-line service). North Carolina and Virginia shouldn't stop at 110 MPH - they should be aiming for 125 MPH running as soon as the line is fully upgraded. The Virginia-North Carolina High Speed Rail Compact has stated that the upgraded line would be good for 150 MPH with electrification and tilting, so it's physically possible. Seems like the only obstacle is the incremental maintenance costs of class 6 track (110 MPH) vs class 7 (125 MPH). Not that I think the S-Line will be fully renovated anytime this decade, just that most of the pieces will be in place for 125 MPH running. The idea for 110 MPH running dates back to the original Tier I environmental impact statement for the Southeast Corridor back in 2002, which suggested using standard diesel locomotives, and was based on the top speeds of the diesels around the time, the Genesis. So now that the Chargers are coming, seems like it's time to update those projections a bit. Considering the S-line is ~132 miles between Petersburg-Raleigh, that sounds like, what, maybe 15-20 min time savings at 125 vs. 110 on a non-stop trip?
  by Gilbert B Norman
While I'm pleased to learn of this development, to my knowledge there is an abandoned bridge over the Roanoke River near Norlina which is why Chessie decided she could do without the Seaboard as a through route.

That means "whopperbux" just to restore the line for any class of service. Now we're talking FRA Class 6 (110mph) to operate any passenger train that could be called "high speed".

The anti-passenger train constituency will be ready for fun.
  by njtmnrrbuff
It would be a little better to have 125 mph on the old S-Line but 110 mph is a huge start. Rather than having all of the Amtrak Carolinians and the Silver Star trains go out of their way by serving Rocky Mount, passengers will be able to benefit from a few hours of their journey being cut off the timetable. It's still going to be important to have an option serving Rocky Mount, Wilson, and Selma-Smithfield that will take people to the population centers of NC. Hopefully more travel time could also be taken off of the schedule on the A-Line which is straight for miles in many areas. As mentioned, the ALC-42s will be for the long distance trains. We don't know yet what type of power or trainset will replace the Amfleets. The same thing goes with the P42s that run on corridor trains in the Northeast as well as the Palmetto, and Carolinian. We should have an answer by the end of this year.
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