North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Arlington » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:10 pm

The Phasing is unclear from the project site: is :-D phase just the storage and service tracks, or does it also include the 6200 square foot building and we just don't see that building in the picture? (Or is the building phase 1B, for example?)

Phase 1A: Charlotte Locomotive & Railcar Maintenance Facility
A rendering of Phase 1A of the Charlotte locomotive and railcar maintenance facility. The design includes two layover and servicing tracks of 1,300 and 1,000 feet and a 600-foot-long service platform, a 475-foot-long track for spare equipment and a 6,200-square-foot building for maintenance personnel and Amtrak crews. Visit goo.gl/rb5910 for more information..
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:53 pm

I had forgotten about the building when I snapped the photo. There was no sign of foundation work on my visit. Given that and the stated August completion date I would guess the building is "Phase 1B." I'll do some asking around, they will need space for security and crew somewhere.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Alex M » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:19 pm

Besides the Charlotte servicing center, how is the progress on the Raleigh Union Station? How many platform and layover tracks are being built?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:08 am

Out of curiosity:

Why and how did North Carolina get started with its investments in passenger trains? I know that it started with funding the Carolinian in the 1980s. Who led the project and got it done in the first place: grassroots activists, the governor or the state legislature, or someone/something else?

My parents recently drove along I-85 through South Carolina and part of North Carolina on a weekend and were complaining about how bad the traffic was. I drive that route regularly and am just used to it. There is clearly a market for more trains between Charlotte and Greenville, and Charlotte and Atlanta, but to most people in South Carolina, taking a train is just not something that is even on their radar screen, and I would assume that a lot of the populace would have an ideological opposition to spending transportation funds on anything except airports and roads. So I'm curious as to how additional service could ever be started, and how North Carolina originally did it.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby electricron » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:21 am

Historic roots of NCRR.
http://www.ncrr.com/about-ncrr/ncrr-history/
Briefly;
To finance construction, the 1848 North Carolina Railroad bill authorized the State to purchase $2 million of NCRR stock leaving $1 million for purchase by private citizens. Construction costs exceeded expectations due to the rising cost of iron and in 1854, John Motley Morehead, first President of the North Carolina Railroad and former state governor, called upon the legislature to provide increased funding describing the railroad as a “tree of life” for North Carolina. The legislature approved the State purchase of an additional $1 million in shares, making the railroad 75% owned by the State and 25% owned by private stockholders.
In 1998 the State of North Carolina bought out the 25% of privately held shares of NCRR stock making the NCRR a privately run company, with the state of North Carolina being the sole shareholder. At the time of the state’s acquisition of NCRR in 1998, the total stock value of the NCRR was $282 million.

Over it's entirely history, NCRR has been operated under various lease agreements with various privately owned railroad companies because the state government realized it would be a lousy at running a railroad. NCRR, although majority owned by the state, has always been treated as a privately owned railroad, with it paying taxes just like every other railroad. Through the years, the NCRR generated profits and was the largest revenue source for the state. The state has always been interested in this railroad since its inception. Conditions changed in 1999 because the last long term lease agreement expired and needed renewal.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:13 pm

Sorry, wasn't clear:

In the past few decades, what drove North Carolina's commencement and expansion of funding for passenger trains on the Charlotte-Raleigh (and continuing) line, beginning in the 1980s?

South Carolina has no state-funded passenger trains whatsoever, and the I-85 route that continues south from Charlotte through Greenville and to Atlanta is definitely at capacity (if not beyond capacity). There doesn't seem to be any political will to add any trains to the route, however, even though there are multiple trains north of Charlotte.

As someone who'd like to see more trains on the Charlotte-Greenville-Atlanta route, I'm curious as to who "led the charge" in North Carolina, starting in the 1980s and then again in the 1990s, to add more trains: grassroots activists, the DOT, the state legislature, the governor or someone else? In short, if we want more trains along I-85, what can North Carolina's experiences teach us about how to get them started?

Thanks.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby gokeefe » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:00 pm

I strongly suspect the Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains has a lot of answers to your questions.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:36 pm

Thanks. I know CAPT, and some of the executive leadership well.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:20 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:In the past few decades, what drove North Carolina's commencement and expansion of funding for passenger trains on the Charlotte-Raleigh (and continuing) line, beginning in the 1980s?


My memory is fuzzy but from what I can recall the state wanted a daylight train connecting Charlotte (and the cities to Raleigh) to the corridor. The state approached Amtrak and both parties agreed it was worth a try with an operating subsidy from NCDOT. The first version of the train lasted for less than a year, ridership was good but revenue was poor because there were lots more intra-state riders than NCDOT expected.

The current iteration of the Carolinian got started about five years later (subsidized by NCDOT just as it is today). I believe part of the Carolinians return was driven by the (now obvious) realization that solid ridership required useful daytrip roundtrip service to in-state riders (thus the Piedmont), but it still took another five years (1995) before the Piedmont and Carolinian were running together. I believe (but am not certain) that the Carolinaian's resurgence was driven by NCDOT's realization that the state's growth required some alternatives to I-85 (so version 2.0 was intended to be as much an instate train as corridor service). I also think the NCRR (who has the mission of 'serving all North Carolinians") saw some political benefit to developing passenger service on its tracks so they may have done some arm twisting.

CAPT would absolutely know better, please share what you hear from them.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby electricron » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:00 am

SouthernRailway wrote:Sorry, wasn't clear:

In the past few decades, what drove North Carolina's commencement and expansion of funding for passenger trains on the Charlotte-Raleigh (and continuing) line, beginning in the 1980s?


Did you even read the link I posted, it answered all your questions thoroughly! Take the time to read NCRR history.

By the late 1980's with Norfolk Southern running the leased railroad, the rail corridor conditions had fallen east of Greensboro to Class 2. NS maintained the mainline sections between Charolette and Greensboro at Class 4, but treated the sections between Greensboro and Raleigh as a spur. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what NS was doing to the state owned property. NS was taking the profits generated within the state and spending it elsewhere. With the existing lease expiring, the state stepped in and stated changes will be happening, that profits generated by the railroad will be reinvested in the railroad within the state. The entire rail corridor in just a little over a decade is now at Class 4. It was the new passenger train operations that made that possible.

I don't think you can identify one individual or a political group of activists for this reversal, as much as everyone on the NCRR Board wishing to see the railroad function properly and grow. Just businessmen conducting business with the hope of generating future profits.
NCRR has picked up the entire tab normally picked up by state governments to qualify for federal grants for construction on the corridor and subsidize all passenger train operations.
It's running the passenger trains that have caused reconstruction of the entire railroad to Class 4 - otherwise it would still be Class 2 or Class 3 at best.

The decision to invest in the railroad with state funds was made back in the 1850s. The decision to buy out the last 25% of the private investors of the railroad in 1999 was the latest state investment into the railroad, with the state now owning 100% of the railroad shares - which eventually will play for itself as it pays dividends to the state coffers. That decision wasn't based solely upon providing passenger trains as much as keeping the railroad fully functional. And running passenger trains on the railroad was a result of that choice. Well, that's my take of the situation.....
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby gokeefe » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:40 am

I appreciate the perspective because I had never seen the Board at NCRR as a major actor. I never thought of them as being active in policy. I had always thought of the railroad as being leased out to the Class I freight operator without further question.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby SouthernRailway » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:48 am

Thanks electricron, gokeefe and Bob Roberts-- all very helpful information, which I appreciate your having shared.
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby gokeefe » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:55 am

My pleasure. Although CAPT is somewhat quiet in a sense I would not discount their ability to get things done. They remind me a lot of my own organization (TrainRiders Northeast).
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:58 pm

I can't easily tell from NCRR or NCDOT sites - do any of you know whether the state ever purchased Wilmingtonthe unused portions of the Wilmington & Weldon south of Goldsboro?
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Re: North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Carolinian Service

Postby Bob Roberts » Sun Sep 10, 2017 3:26 pm

According to the NCDOT rail map they have purchased the abandoned sections:
https://www.ncdot.gov/download/performa ... ailmap.pdf

I believe the state directed the NCRR to direct some of its dividend to rehabbing the corridor in classic NC "little bit at a time" fashion. I have heard from several sources that Raleigh to Wilmington service will come before Asheville on the NCDOT priority list. I have driven along the old W&W corridor several times recently, the project certainly is not moving quickly.
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