• 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 orulz
$77m + $80m = $157 million for new trains in NC. Wow!

NCDOT seems to be moving slowly toward high platforms. This makes sense, because level boarding is probably the lowest hanging fruit for making the Piedmont faster. With this in mind, I think it would be a worthwhile investment to:

(1) Get coaches with retractable bridge plates
(2) Rebuild all stations to have high-level platforms.

Raleigh already has high level platforms, and Charlotte's new high level platforms are already under construction at the future Gateway Station.

These stations have been planned with bypass tracks for freight, but the retractable bridge plates would mean that high platforms could be built on the footprint of the existing platforms, without any track work, at the remaining stations.

Most platforms are basically a slab on the ground accessed by a ground-level walkway. Kannapolis, Salisbury, Durham, Burlington, and Cary are all that sort. Cary doesn't even have a canopy; raising the platform by 40" would be laughably trivial. The others do have a canopy, which would either have to be raised or rebuilt; figure $2m per station.

The only stations where this would be even remotely challenging right now are Greensboro and High Point, but the for those stations. This is pretty big project, involving revisions to vertical circulation (ramps, stairs, elevators, and, IIRC, escalators at Greensboro) in addition to the platforms and canopies themselves. This would be a *really* big project if bypass tracks were needed, but bridge plates should make that unnecessary. For Greensboro, you'd only have to do it on the H-line platform, at first at least. Figure $5-10m per station?

There are challenges, like how to handle the Carolinian. You could use one of these new trainsets for the Carolinian as well, but then you have to handle the low platforms in Eastern NC and Virginia. Trap doors do this, but is there a solution for bridge plates AND trap doors in a single door? Not sure.

All I know is, level boarding = faster trains. This seems to be on NCDOT's radar, given the high platforms in Raleigh and Charlotte, but I hope they have a plan for level boarding at their *other* stations, and I hope this new rolling stock can accommodate it.
  by njtmnrrbuff
That would be nice to have high level platforms added to the stations between Raleigh and Charlotte. What's great about many of the stations between Raleigh and Charlotte is that they are on straightaways. For example, Salisbury comes to mind. It might involve having to raise the canopy. I think that Greensboro is straight at the part of the station served by the Piedmonts and Carolinian but there may be a slight curve on the platform served by the Crescent. Hopefully at the stations where the platforms are on slight curves, building high level platforms would work.
  by MattW
My only concern with going full high level for NC is how that could interface with future regional rail. If Atlanta were to suddenly get serious about regional rail service, I see it looking like the Surfliners, Capital Corridor, and San Joaquins: high capacity BiLevel railcars (if someone can build one to spec). But, since nothing like that is remotely on the radar, I guess it isn't enough of a reason to change anything.
  by orulz
Retractable, train-mounted gap fillers help with the tangent(straight) track requirement as well.

With gap fillers, you can actually build curved high platforms with full ADA accessibility without so much as a bypass or gauntlet track. Sheer genius.

I have not yet seen a solution that allows all of the above PLUS some sort of stairway for boarding from low (0" or 8") platforms, but I suspect that it probably exists somewhere, at least as a detailed CAD design on some engineer's hard drive.
  by Bob Roberts
orulz wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 12:06 pm I have not yet seen a solution that allows all of the above PLUS some sort of stairway for boarding from low (0" or 8") platforms, but I suspect that it probably exists somewhere, at least as a detailed CAD design on some engineer's hard drive.
I am out of my depth here but would it be possible to build single level gear with vestibules at both ends, one end with a trap, the other with the gap filler? Using dedicated train sets would allow you to have one properly engineered door basically at the end of each coach. The AMT in Montreal has both high and low level doors in the same cars on their bi-level gear.

  by gokeefe

orulz wrote:$77m + $80m = $157 million for new trains in NC. Wow!
My thoughts as well. They've basically managed to get a full fleet replacement in the course of two consecutive grant cycles. Pretty impressive performance.

With regards to DMUs I think North Carolina is planning for a future where they have longer routes and need greater flexibility.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  by Bob Roberts
79 and 80 return to regular service (CLT-NYP) on Monday. (they are currently only running CLT-RGH)
  by Riverduckexpress
Jeff Smith wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 4:14 pm Wow, that was a detailed reply, thanks! Learned a lot. Thanks, Riverduck. I didn't factor in SEHSR as it really hasn't been in the news, as you note in the lack of funding. I guess the question then is the slots on the NEC and North River tunnels; my question would be would Amtrak want to risk extending Regionals, potentially introducing time delays from long(er) distance trains? Ownership of the RF&P by VA ameliorates some of that; what happens when they get into non-friendly dispatch area? How much of these extensions are dispatched by passenger operators instead of freight?
Thanks. Haven't been able to ride Amtrak much outside the Northeast, so happy to be able to contribute. The environmental reviews mention don't much about dispatching - they seem to assume the finer operational details would be worked out way down the line when these new services are closer to reality. I assume the abandoned portion of the S-Line between Petersburg and Norlina would be dispatched by Virginia/North Carolina or Amtrak while the portion CSX uses between Norlina and Raleigh would be under their dispatching? CSX apparently only runs a couple of trains a day on the S-Line from Norlina-Raleigh, as per the docs, but I believe that segment would remain under their ownership/dispatching as opposed to NCDOT/NCRR, barring another deal. With potential 110 MPH running and very low freight traffic on the remaining S-Line for now, hopefully it won't matter. I would also assume CSX would continue to dispatch everything between D.C. and Petersburg, even with the new tracks. I agree there's always a risk with sending Regionals below WAS, but Virginia seems pretty confident that the new track(s) DC2Richmond will improve reliability. Docs mention aiming for a 90% OTP, (like PRIIA) at each station between D.C. and Richmond (compared to ~66% OTP a few years back at either end of that area).

Not directly relevant to North Carolina, but on the topic of extending new Regionals below WAS, we know Virginia originally planned on sending a 3rd round trip to Norfolk this year. Their big CSX deal presentation mentioned a "mid-day" arrival and departure from Norfolk, which the Regionals that currently terminate at Richmond don't fit. That along with their service plan implies that it might be a new Regional extended below WAS? Granted, I suppose extending trips to Virginia is not quite as risky as sending them down to NC, and it might be moot anyway in the wake of COVID.
  by Alex M
From what I have read, NCDOT is making incremental progress on this line like building some overpasses and possibly other things. In addition to Amtrak, I believe there are plans for commuter service on this line. Sometimes I fear for the future of urban transit since there will be jobs that will not return and quite a few workers have been working from home, a move that employers see as saving money on office rental, as well as saving travel expenses by using Zoom confrences. As to the S line, NC will eventually acquire it as CSX has made an effort to shed trackage not needed due to rather low volume of traffic, with the stipulation that they retain freight rights.
  by njtmnrrbuff
With real estate prices continuing to climb in the Northeast, particularly around NYC and in NJ, more people continue to move to the Southeast. Many of those people who used to live in NYC as well as other cities along the NEC want to move to a region where there are the same urban and suburban amenities in the Northeast but much cheaper down south probably with better quality. Having a fast rail corridor run from NYC to Charlotte is a must. Rebuilding the S Line from Petersburg to Raleigh is a must. Taking the Carolinian by way of the route that it presently goes-RF&P, A-Line to SSM, and then turning westward toward Raleigh and Charlotte-this takes too long-about 13 hours. While the Crescent is only shorter by an hour, that is still more time than driving when traveling from NYP-Charlotte. Plus, you get dropped in Charlotte in the middle of the night. The return trip from Charlotte to NYP on the Crescent is in the middle of the night as well. At least with the Carolinian, you don't arrive or depart stations in NC in the middle of the night. The plus though about the current Carolinian is that if you live in or around Rocky Mount, Wilson, or Selma-Smithfield and need to go to Raleigh or another station between there and Charlotte, then the trip is probably a little closer to that of driving.
  by Pensyfan19
Piedmont Service Restored as of Today.

https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... nstruction
As of today, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is restoring one daily round trip of its Piedmont service between Raleigh and Charlotte. Resuming operation will be train No. 73, which leaves Raleigh at 6:30 a.m. and arrives in Charlotte at 9:40 a.m., and train No. 76, which leaves Charlotte at 3:15 p.m. and arrives in Raleigh at 6:26 p.m. The Piedmont service offered three daily roundtrips before being suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The route is also served by Amtrak’s New York-Charlotte Carolinian.
  by daybeers
Will the platforms at Charlotte Gateway Station be used before the phase two opens and the full station is built?
  by Bob Roberts
daybeers wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 4:56 am Will the platforms at Charlotte Gateway Station be used before the phase two opens and the full station is built?
There was talk of a temporary station while waiting on the developer but I believe that was taken off the table before the developer rfp process began last year. Its also been a while since I have heard any substantive updates on the Gateway project so my knowledge is stale.

I think the most likely scenario is that the Platform and Canopy (and likely the pax equipment storage facility which has been done for more than a year) will just sit unused for four more years. The city has found a developer for the Gateway district, and they are responsible for station construction as part of the larger district project. Folks I know who have seen early plans are very impressed, but I don’t believe any designs are public yet.
  by matthewsaggie
Two updates-
1) The one operating Piedmont resumed using NC owned cars last week as opposed to Amtrak equipment used since service resumed.
2) Business class car returned to the Carolinian effective today per NCDOT rail division update.
  by matthewsaggie
Another update- Effective December 14 a second round trip Piedmont will resume operating, which combined with the Carolinian will give us 3 round trips a day Charlotte to Raleigh.
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