• North Carolina NCDOT-Amtrak Piedmont 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

  by dmclement

I was considering travelling on the Amtrak Piedmont adn had a couple of questions regarding locomotive usage. I have seen several photographs of these trains, some using one locomotive, others a pair of loco's and others with loco's in top & tail fashion.

Is there any pattern as to how locomotives are assigned to these trains? More than one on the train on certain days of the week etc.

Where is the maintenance facility for the NCDoT engines at?

Depending on whether the maintenance is done at Raleigh or Charlotte end, does the locomotive(s) get changed after each out & back trip, or stay on the train for a number of days?

Is there a loco outposted at the opposite end of the service from the maintenance facility in case of locomotive failures?

Any other points of interest would be appreciated.

The point of these questions is to try to work out when is the best time to go and ride the train with the aim of travelling on as many of the three NCDoT locomotives as possible in one visit. Whether I can just do a trip out on 73 and back on 74, a trip in on 74 stopover and out in 73, or just cover 73 or 74 in one direction, etc etc.



  by villager
To my knowledge, there is no particular pattern. There are two F59-PHIs (City of Asheville and City of Salisbury) and then one GP-40 (City of Raleigh).

I last rode the Piedmont in late December on Train 73 and was pulled by the GP-40. You can be pretty certain that if you rider 73 in the morning to Charlotte, the same engine will pull you back in the evening.

So my guess is that your best chance of being pulled by two consists with a different loco is to take 74 into Raleigh one evening, stay overnight, and take 73 out.

Alternatively, you could see if any railfans know good places to get pictures of the Downtown Raleigh NCDOT yard, where you might see two out of three ideal.

matthewsaggie- anything to add? anything I got wrong?

  by dmclement
Thanks for that. The idea is to be pulled by the different locomotives, not particularly fussed over seeing them as such unles they're on the front of my train.

  by matthewsaggie
Villager's got it right. I would expect that you would see the F-59's more often the the GP. Other then that I don't know of any operating pattern.

The maintenance facility is at "North Capitol Yard", N. Capitol street, about 1.5 miles north of downtown, and past the old SAL station. On a hill and pretty well fenced, with some commercial buildings blocking the view and not a lot of good photo locations from what I have seen.
  by erielackawanna
I took this shot of train 73 arriving in Charlotte on a warm December morning. Pulling those Pullman Standard KCS cars, and dressed in NCDOT colors, the F59PHI really reminds me of old time railroading.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 725&nseq=0

  by tarheelman
Nice picture! Thanks for posting it. :-)
  by jp1822
And these cars are getting an overhaul courtesy of North Carolina. Nice to see that the older cars can still run in regular passenger service. Supposedly North Carolina would like to get a second frequency operating on the Piedmont route. We shall see if they go after older cars to refurbish, or look for new cars!

  by matthewsaggie
Actually we already have a second frequency on this route, The Carolinian, which is scheduled opposite the Piedmont between Charlotte and Raleigh. Its just that the Carolinian then goes on to NYC, while the Piedmont equipment currently sits in Charlotte all day.

What we are working towards is a third, mid-day train. That is expected to start when the double tracking project between Greensboro and High Point NC is finished in two more years.

This will allow the Piedmont equipment to make a turn at Charlotte and return as the mid day train to Raleigh. The second set would depart Raleigh at Noon, and return to Raleigh from Charlotte as the late afternoon train. The Carolinain would continue to hold the morning slot out of CLT and the late afternoon slot out of RGH.

This additional service will be at a minimum additional operating cost as we will get much better crew utilization, with a mid-day return home and will drop many of the over nights that they currently do.

  by gprimr1
That is a sharp looking engine. Hopefully they will get some cars to match.

How is the ride in those cars?

  by matthewsaggie
The ones that have completed renovation ride great. The ones in the picture - well the trucks and dampers are a little worn. This picture was taken in Dec. 2005.
The renovated cars match the loco. See the NC website for a picture of the completed cars:


  by tarheelman
Here are pictures of one of the NCDOT's refurbished Pullman coaches:



  by David Benton
I can't get either link to work .

  by matthewsaggie
This was from November, but to give you an idea of some of the other work NC is doing to improve the route for the Carolinian and the Piedmont:

RALEIGH, N.C. — The N.C. Department of Transportation has completed construction of a passing siding in the North Carolina Railroad Company’s East Durham yard that allows freight and passenger trains to pass with more efficiency and will continue to improve service reliability, the Triangle Business News reports.

The new siding will help reduce congestion and delays by allowing for increased speeds and an additional location for trains to pass each other between Cary and West Durham. Track was realigned to straightened curves and accommodate the maximum track speed of 79 miles per hour.

Electronically controlled switches were installed at each end of the siding so local trains can quickly exit the main track reducing the possibility of delay to passenger and other through trains.

“Upgrading existing rail corridors helps improve safety, efficiency and capacity for both passenger and freight trains,” said Patrick B. Simmons, NCDOT rail division director. “This project is an important piece in our efforts to modernize the railroad.”

The $6.5 million state-funded project constructed 12,200 feet of new main track, while the existing track became the passing siding. New power-operated switches and train control signals were also installed. As part of the project, one half mile of Rigsbee Road near Glover Road was relocated and will be paved in 2008. Municipal drainage was also improved in the East Durham area by enlarging and replacing culverts.

NCDOT engineers developed the project concept and primary design and guided the construction process. Norfolk Southern Railway developed final plans, constructed the project and will operate their freight trains over the new track.

Passing sidings are locations along a single-track railroad where trains can pass each other. These sidings accommodate freight trains that may include 100 to 150 cars and can be up to two miles long. Passing sidings help reduce congestion and delays on the railroad by providing longer and more frequent places for trains to pass each other.

(This item appeared Nov. 28, 2007, in the Triangle Business News.)

  by dmclement
Can anyone tell me whether the whole train or just the locomotives are turned ready for the next days service once they arrive back into Raleigh? i.e. does the loco have to be detached from the train? If the entire train is turned, does the loco need to be detached if going for fuel?


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