Some interesting news in the Carolina's Association of Passenger Trains (CAPT) December newsletter:
he 4th additional Piedmont frequency between Charlotte and Raleigh is still planned for Spring of 2023. Operational and scheduling issues are now being addressed by Amtrak and the Rail Division of NC DOT.
This tidbit (without additional context) was the most shocking although it is certainly nothing more than loose talk:
Rail Division Director Jason Orthner says North Carolina is receptive to cooperative efforts with the South Carolina Department of Transportation on furthering the rail passenger experience in the Carolinas. Charlotte to Columbia service ideas have been shared recently between the Transportation Secretaries of both states. Both states also have interest in more frequent and higher speed service between Charlotte and Atlanta.
and on Charlotte Gateway station:
Work on the Gateway station building is expected to begin within a year, and completion and service beginning in 2026. That work has been delayed due to Charlotte Area Transit System which initially planned a Silver Line light rail stop parallel to the station platform. [my editorial take is delays have also been caused by the PPP partner becoming very hesitant to construct new office space in downtown Charlotte]
and the Charlotte passenger equipment maintenance facility and storage yard (its been complete for 5ish years (from ARRA funds) but has not been connected to ANY tracks until now):
The test train [NCDOT sent a Piedmont consist to test the Gateway station platform dimensions a couple weeks ago, I believe this was referenced in this thread above] also visited the new rail maintenance facility south of site which has now been connected to Norfolk Southern tracks . It's unclear when passenger trains will begin using the maintenance facility. Initially it will be the overnight home of the Carolinian for layover and servicing.
Elsewhere on their website they report that baggage cars returned to 79-80 at the end of November.
Back in November they cited some discussions at VADOT of a Norfolk-Raleigh service, but "not before 2030." They said "we want to get to the point where Norfolk passengers don't need to travel North to go South." As it would help maintain some service on the A-Line after the S-Line shortcut opens up I am all for it, but it is a very thin corridor.