LYNX - Charlotte NC Light Rail (CATS, NS, NCRR)

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LYNX - Charlotte NC Light Rail (CATS, NS, NCRR)

Postby jtbell » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:15 pm

As many of you may know, Charlotte is building a light-rail line called "Lynx" which is supposed to start running by the end of this year. It has been plagued by cost overruns and poor management by Parsons Consulting, the prime contractor for the line. A local group circulated a petition and succeeded in getting enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot in November's election that would repeal the half-percent sales tax that funds transit improvements (including Lynx) in Charlotte.

Now some key state senators have warned that if the sales tax is repealed, Charlotte should not look to the state to bail them out. One of the local TV stations had a report on this development on Friday. I haven't seen the online video clip (it takes a looong time for me to download that sort of thing over a dialup connection), but the broadcast version which I recorded has scenes of local bigwigs being given a ride on a Lynx train.

http://www.wbtv.com/news/topstories/8252047.html
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Postby gprimr1 » Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:35 am

They should make things like this a crime. It's so sickening to see corperations swallowing up money like this.
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CATS down in NC

Postby al-in-chgo » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:10 pm

I will be visiting relatives near Charlotte, North Carolina, and am curious to know about their trolley and/or light rail.

Is the antique trolley running and if so, how long is the route?

Is any part of the LRV running as of this time and if so, about how long is it and does it connect to the trolley?

If you have any advice for transferring from the Amtrak station (a poor neighborhood, I am told) to the trolley or light-rail, I'm listening!

This will be complicated by the fact that we plan to come into Charlotte on The Piedmont and will have two children with us, 14, 11 and possibly a third, eight years old.

Grateful for any advice,
[/code]
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CATS in Charlotte

Postby polybalt » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:24 am

Depends on when you are visiting. CATS first light rail line begins revenue service at 10:00am November 24. It operates from downtown (which they call uptown) due south for about 10 miles.

The Museum operation no longer exists, replaced by the LRT line.
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Postby jtbell » Tue Nov 27, 2007 5:30 am

Here are some pictures from the opening day (this past Saturday) of the LYNX Blue Line light rail:

http://web.presby.edu/~jtbell/transit/C ... LightRail/

Thanks to the good weather and free rides, about 60,000 people turned out on Saturday, and the trains were packed all day. On Sunday, the weather wasn't as good, but about another 40,000 rode, many of them to the Carolina Panthers football game downtown.

Monday was the first day of normal operation (with fares charged). I haven't seen any ridership figures yet, but I did see a report that the early morning trains were drawing passengers going to work downtown.

On Saturday, I saw the recently-built Gomaco replica Birney cars parked outside the Rail Operations Center. I don't think there's an official date for when they'll start running again on the northern part of the line, but somewhere I've seen February mentioned as a possibility. The light-rail stations between downtown and Tremont Avenue have low-platform sections marked by a sign with a picture of a trolley, for the trolley service.

Unfortunately, the original Charlotte car #85 that ran for several years on the trolley route won't run on the light rail line. Even after extensive renovation and signal upgrades, it was deemed unsafe to run in mixed traffic with the light rail trains.
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CATS Lynx Blue Line And Photos 12 01 2007

Postby Sand Box John » Mon Dec 10, 2007 6:33 am

There has been some buzz in a few of the other forums and a lot of buzz in the Charlotte media. So I went on a road trip to Charlotte to see for myself what all the hubbub was all about.

A little introduction is in order for those not totally up to speed on CATS light rail line.

The Charlotte Area Transit System, South Corridor, Lynx South Corridor light rail line is 9.6 miles long with 14 station. It is phase I of the 2 phase Blue line. The Blue Line began operations on 11 24 2007.

The estimated capitol cost to build the line made in October of 2002 was $371,000,000.00. The final capitol cost when all was said and done was $462.700,00.00.

The line presently operates 16 cars with an option to procure 25 more car. Rolling Stock Specifications

CATS Lynx Blue Line
CATS Lynx Blue Line Light Rail Map (PDF file)
CATS Lynx Blue Line Light Rail Track Schematic
CATS 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan

Train control is manual with ATP. The ATP system is identical to that used on the Maryland MTA Baltimore Metro, Miami-Dade Transit Metrorail, LAMTA Red Line, MARTA and WMATA. Signaling at the interlockings is also similar. RYG signal head mounted on the ground are used. Side by side dwarf signals are used in the yard.

One of the things I found surprising was the fact that the longest train they can run is only 2 cars. Little provision exist at most stations to lengthen the platforms to accommodate longer trains. On Saturday 12 01 2007 ridership appeared to pretty good. It helped that Duke University played Davidson at Bobcat Arena at noon that day. The trains were standing room only arriving at the Charlotte Transit Center which is across the street from the Bobcat Arena. There was a line waiting at the fare media venders at the I-485 station. The end to end ride is roughly 35 minutes.

I took over 350 pictures in and around Charlotte. Here is a sample of the pictures I took of the Lynx Light Rail. There in order from I-485 to 10th Street.

mysite.verizon.net/cambronj/cats/index.htm
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.
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Postby ljeppson » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:28 am

Nice job!
Utah's interurban network is being rebuilt-who'd a thunked it?!

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Postby Sand Box John » Tue Dec 11, 2007 8:48 am

"ljeppson"
Nice job!


Thank You.

Updated index listing, file listing now identifies location where images were taken. With the help of Jon Bell errors in track schematic were corrected and other updates were added.

Will post a new batch pictures next weekend.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:42 pm

Thanks for posting the info and photos, nice work.

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Postby Sand Box John » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:35 am

Something I didn't mention in my original description was the horn and bells on the cars. These cars don't have air horns or medal bells on them. They are synthesized and broadcast through a loud speaker, The horn sounds like the horn on a GP-35 but at a lower volume. The bell sounds like your typical LRV bell.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:26 pm

If you'd like to author a feature article on the CATS LYNX, we'd certainly welcome it. Visit or features section for some ideas...

http://railroad.net/articles/index.php

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Postby Sand Box John » Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:51 pm

"Otto Vondrak"
If you'd like to author a feature article on the CATS LYNX, we'd certainly welcome it. Visit or features section for some ideas...


I am flattered that that you suggest that I write such an essay. I am by no means any kind of an authority on the light rail project in Charlotte North Carolina or the evolution that happened to bring us to what exists today. All I know about the CATS Lynx light rail is what I have read on web, heard on WBT AM 1110 and seen with my own eyes on my one and only visit to Charlotte.

In the mean time here is the next batch of pictures I took that weekend.

mysite.verizon.net/cambronj/cats
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Postby GEL » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:54 pm

Sand Box John wrote:Something I didn't mention in my original description was the horn and bells on the cars. These cars don't have air horns or medal bells on them. They are synthesized and broadcast through a loud speaker, The horn sounds like the horn on a GP-35 but at a lower volume. The bell sounds like your typical LRV bell.

And I bet it sounds nothing like a bell or a horn.
Show me the pics!
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Postby Sand Box John » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:33 am

"GEL"
And I bet it sounds nothing like a bell or a horn.


The bell sounds like a bell. The difference in the sound of the the horn mostly relates to the fact that there is no variation in the tone because there is no horn on the cars to pass air through.
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Postby jtbell » Mon Jan 14, 2008 12:23 am

I visited Charlotte again this past weekend and got some pictures of the light rail in normal operation. They're on the page linked in my preceding post. From what I've read, ridership is about 12,000 per day instead of the 9,000 they were expecting. I impressed by how many people were on my train heading into town about 1:00 pm on Friday. Some people were standing in the aisle.

Also on Saturday, I saw a lot of people riding. Some of them looked like families taking the kids out for a train ride on a nice day, and other people checking out the line. I'd expect that traffic to fall off after a while.

The stations that are going to be shared with the Charlotte Trolley have signs saying that trolley service will resume in "Spring 2008." I suspect it will be only on weekends, with trolley runs sandwiched between the light-rail trains which run only every 20 minutes on weekends.
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