• North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian 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 Bob Roberts
 
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 4:27 pm Wow, five hours from Wilmington, NC to the Outer Banks of NC-that's a lot. NC is certainly huge.
about half of that is on a ferry.
SouthernRailway wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:15 pm Wilmington itself is too small for its own train. But extend trains to Myrtle Beach and there could be a (price-sensitive) market for that. But the whole area is so car-oriented that either an Auto-Train or rental car offices at the train station would be needed.
The only rail route to Myrtle is very roundabout, and the old, semi-direct route from Wilmington has been partially pulled up. You are right about the auto dependence of Myrtle -- anyone there will need a car. Even if the tracks still existed, and Myrtle was walkable, there is absolutely no reason for NC to pay to run trains there, it would have a negative economic impact on the state by draining tourism dollars from NC.
Last edited by Bob Roberts on Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I probably wouldn't consider running a train from Raleigh to Myrtle Beach. North Carolina, in general, you need a car and probably Myrtle Beach is no exception. It's like in Hyannis, MA where the Cape Codder used to end, while you might be able to get by without a car if you stay in the downtown area and in the port area, you need a car in a lot of Hyannis and that goes with the rest of the Cape. When running a new train to an area where many of the areas are car dependent, we want to try to make sure that the car rental places are near the station and stay open late enough to accommodate those getting off a train late at night. That doesn't always happen. Since 2013 during the spring and summers, MBTA and Cape Cod Transit Authority partnered up with running a seasonal train from Boston utilizing MBTA equipment and it's worked out pretty well for those people traveling from Boston. It leaves Boston during the rush hour on Fridays and gets to Hyannis not super late. On Saturday mornings, it leaves Boston pretty early in the morning and gets to Hyannis mid morning when car rental places are open. Heading back to Boston, I think it leaves Friday night but it might run as a deadhead. I know on Saturday and Sundays, the Boston Bound Cape Flyer leaves Boston around dinnertime.
  by west point
 
Remember that at Raleigh although the track is not yet there that the station is set up as a wye with connections of the "S: , Selma, and Greensborough all connecting to each other. Agree about Wilmington. Didn't at one time wasn't there a line from Wilmington to Wrightsville beach that terminated just east of a draw bridge over the intercoastal waterway ? If the ROW is still there ? ? ?
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I have yet to step foot in the more modern Raleigh Station and it will probably happen sometime in the next four years. It looks like Raleigh Station is in a good spot to be accessed to the wye. By the way, I just looked at a map of the towns that the S Line passes through and it looks like a brand new platform may have to be built along the S Line and hopefully something can be worked out to build a high level platform on the curve along the S-Line at Raleigh otherwise all trains coming from the Northeast and Virginia that use the S-Line may have to make a reverse move into the Raleigh Station.
  by Bob Roberts
 
west point wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:17 pm Remember that at Raleigh although the track is not yet there that the station is set up as a wye with connections of the "S: , Selma, and Greensborough all connecting to each other. Agree about Wilmington. Didn't at one time wasn't there a line from Wilmington to Wrightsville beach that terminated just east of a draw bridge over the intercoastal waterway ? If the ROW is still there ? ? ?
The wye in Raleigh is all connected, but there is no platform (or plans for one IIRC) on the leg that connects the south-bound S-Line to the east-bound NCRR which would be the route to Wilmington. Looking at the areal their may be room to shoehorn one in, but I think it would require some heavy station remodeling for passenger access. A platform is planned for the leg connecting the NCRR (to Durham-Charlotte) to the northbound S-Line (to Petersburg) as part of the S-Line passenger rebuild.

The Wrightsville beach line started as a steam train. It was quickly converted into a trolley (aka "Beach Cars" locally) and it ran all the way onto the Island where it had 7 stops. There is nothing left of it other than some charming neighborhoods and a bike way.

For the future, there is a plan to change the freight route into the port which involves a new bridge (currently in preliminary engineering). If that happens (and it might), then the existing CSX tracks in town could easily become a decent light rail system -- extending that back to Wrightsville Beach would be an important part of this still ephemeral project which would be a huge positive for Wilmington.

https://www.sleepypup.com/blog/rebuildi ... 018/02/22/
Last edited by Bob Roberts on Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Along the leg that connects the route to Charlotte with the S-Line, is the state planning on adding a second track? If they are, it would probably make sense for there to be either a center island platform between the two tracks which would make the most sense or two side platforms. Hopefully, there will be new technology to build high level platforms on curves. If not, then maybe do low levels with slightly higher platforms, similar to what is being done at Ashland, VA Station, on the wye track connecting from the NCRR to the S-Line.
  by west point
 
Myrtle Beach is really not a destination for NC persons. It has much more attraction for Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and SC persons. That really needs to be in another thread !
  by Alex M
 
Lest we forget, Myrtle Beach and the surrounding Grand Strand area has rapidly grown over the last few years with more year round residents, mostly retirees. Should passenger rail service be reinstated to Wilmington, it might help boost ridership and revenues to start thruway bus service from Myrtle Beach.
  by Tadman
 
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:52 pm I think before NCDOT decides to let Amtrak run something to Wilmington, they should learn from other Amtrak services that didn't do too well. Lets look at the Cape Codder-many of the years that it was running, it got to Hyannis a bit late and once you get to Hyannis, it's not like the Cape ends there. It continues for miles and many people rent homes on the Outer Cape, located from Chatham all the way to the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown. It takes a while to get from many of the towns on the Outer Cape to Hyannis and vice versa. The train ride from NYP to Hyannis took longer than driving although those traffic jams on 95 made people wish that they were riding the train.
Some good common sense stuff here. I ride the train from Chicago out to beach communities on the south and east shore of Lake Michigan, as do thousands of others. It works because there are something like 4x Detroit, 1x Grand Rapids, and 20x South Shore trains in each direction. Options help! As does being reasonably drive competitive. Lots of people with downtown offices can grab a train to Michigan City or New Buffalo. Usually someone who is already there and sober is nominated to grab a larger car and do the fetch run to pick up commuters and beer. The "last miles" issue isn't nearly as critical as frequent options and timeliness. Frankly the huge delays on the Detroit route through NWI are killing the local business. A few years back, my close friend had her rehearsal dinner Friday at 7pm. The Wolverine was 90 minutes late and sitting in East Chicago (20 miles out of origination) and what was supposed to be a comfortable cushion was no longer.

There's also another piece to the equation - having a robust 79mph commuter/regional business pays for a strong infrastructure. It's tough to base a model on just summer people.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Yes, the South Shore train is great for traveling to the beach communities in NWI from Downtown Chicago. The Amtrak Michigan Service-you also have but boy those trains have serious issues with punctuality.

It sounds like Myrtle Beach has been seeing in increase in year round residents. There are many retirees who move there. I can imagine the same has been happening in and around Wilmington, NC. If the passenger rail route can be built right to Wilmington, NC, then it would do well. If the route is going to be roundabout, then time to stop the studies and look at Thruway Bus options from Raleigh. How well do those Thruway buses do with riders from Wilson to the coastal communities in NC?
  by Bob Roberts
 
Regardless of our predictions of ridership, a Raleigh to Wilmington train is at the top of NCDOT''s new routes priority list and they are allocating small amounts of funds to move the route forward. It is also politically important for NCDOT to extend the rail program into the Coastal Plain -- this train will happen.

The route will almost certainly be the NCRR to Goldsboro and then CSX (and NCDOT owned) tracks to Wilmington (there was discussion of a route via Fayetteville but that seems unlikely to me). The station will be at the northern end of downtown near the PPG building and the new convention center.

None of the rail route is congested, but nearly all of it is single track. After track refurbishment to Class 4 standards the the route will be marginally slower than driving (same as the Piedmont), but Wilmington (like Raleigh) is growing rapidly so a rail connection will be increasingly important. I would put my money on the train starting shortly after Triangle area commuter rail on the NCRR gets going -- I would guess around 2030.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
https://www.greensboro.com/news/local_n ... 03ffa.html

This article that I posted is from about a month ago and it looks like the train from Raleigh to Wilmington, NC was mentioned in the long term as well as a possible train to Asheville. If it is projected that the train will be 'margionally' slower from Raleigh to Wilmington over driving, than it is worth putting it on the table for a proposal. It would be great to have the train running to the coast of NC, not just running along the 95 corridor or in the Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte area.
  by NIMBYkiller
 
What about the likely far more attainable goal (and probably least cost per mile in terms of construction and operation) of adding a branch to Winston-Salem? Which leg of the Piedmont sees higher ridership, the portion between Greensboro and Raleigh or the portion between Greensboro and Charlotte? I know for Greensboro 4 of the top 5 destinations are east towards Raleigh (Charlotte being #1), but what about overall, where is more crowded? If it's the Greensboro-Raleigh leg, then a Winston-Salem <> Raleigh train would be a natural addition for probably 2 round trips. You could add a stop near Piedmont/Triad Airport and another at Kernersville.

Also, why is there no stop at Lexington? Seems like a large enough town to warrant a stop. I'd also suggest a stop right on NC States campus. I know it's close to the Raleigh station but the ROW literally cuts right through the heart of campus (35k students) right alongside the student union and gives train service that much more of a leg up over bus service for college kids going home on weekends and holidays. Worst case just do it as a Thu/Fri/Sun/Mon service.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
How, pray tell, does anyone plan to operate passenger trains to Myrtle Beach? Over this?

Time to get real, volks.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
On the S Line north of Raleigh, it looks like there are some sizable towns to add stops on the map. I am guessing one of them would be Wake Forest which would probably serve many of the towns north of Raleigh. I don't think we want to leave out a stop in Henderson. It might be good to look at Norlina, NC and Dinwiddle, Va for stations as well. All of the proposed Carolinian trains that would run on the S-Line north of Raleigh would make these stops mentioned. I know that there is a proposal to route the Silver Star on the whole S Line which would be a nice idea. Of course, it will probably mean one less Amtrak train serving Rocky Mount, Wilson, and Selma-Smithfield Stations. The other negative is that there would not be a time friendly Amtrak train running to and from Florida stopping at Rocky Mount, Wilson, and Selma-Smithfield. The Silver Star presently serves the stations in North Carolina in the daytime while the Silver Meteor(only option to and from Florida available if the Silver Meteor is rerouted) serves the North Carolina Stations in the middle of the night. There would have to be a Thruway Bus running from Rocky Mount, Wilson, and Selma-Smithfield to accommodate those passengers taking the Silver Star from other stations like Raleigh.
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