New Piedmont Roundtrip

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xyzzy

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People in north Raleigh or north Wake County taking the NB Carolinian or Silver Star to Virginia or points north can save about 45 minutes by driving to Rocky Mount and catching the train there, compared to catching the train at Cary or Raleigh. Rocky Mount has free parking, too.

The problem since 1986 has been that NB Amtrak trains run southeast from Raleigh on NS before turning north on CSX at Selma. Given that NS, NCRR, and NCDOT have raised MAS for most of Raleigh-Selma to 79 and that CSX runs 79, the only thing to eliminate the 45 minute gap is restoring the S-line between Raleigh and Petersburg (or Raleigh-Norlina-Weldon-Petersburg). Very little chance of that in the foreseeable future!
 
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Seaboard92

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Also could do substantial upgrades to the line from Raleigh to Wilson. But doubtful that makes sense. Much more sense to restore the Seaboard.
 

xyzzy

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"Substantial" is a mild word! Although the track is welded rail that Southern installed in the 1970s after acquiring the original Norfolk Southern, it has received virtually no maintenance in decades. It's dark. The western half of it is curvy. Trains would have to do a backup move at Raleigh's new $113 million station unless another $25 million or so is spent to put a platform on the ex-SAL and add a station track. (This was factored into the design of the station as a future, by the way, for SEHSR.) Either way you route trains, leaving Raleigh northbound you would have to pass through a freight yard. At Wilson, it intersects with CSX at an acute angle. The housing development in the north quadrant would have to be torn out.

This was studied during the early phases of SEHSR and rejected as impractical.
 
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John Bobinyec

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brianpmcdonnell17

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Here's another article with more detail.

Here's NCDOT info on the station.

Notice that there is no free parking at the new station. At the station is limited short-term parking for $1.25 per hour, with a maximum of two hours. Long-term parking is in a parking deck across the street for $2 per hour with a maximum of $18 per day.

jb
By the way, that article states that the new station will open mid-July.
jb
Interestingly, the top of the webpage states that the station will open mid-July, but further down it claims that the new address will take effect in late May or early June. I am also curious as to whether the new Piedmont frequency has any bearing on the opening of the new station. I will be traveling to Raleigh in late June, so should either experience the end of the old station or the beginning of the new one.
 

John Bobinyec

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Well, those announcements are a little confusing, aren't they. Anyway, the new frequency with the new schedule starts definitely on June 4 - and so has nothing to do with the move to the new station.

jb
 

gercohen

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I understand that the new Piedmont service starts June 4, and the new station will open in the May 31-June 4 range. Only one of the two station tracks will be in service at first -- the second one is not yet tied into the main and that won't happen until: 1) the old station is demolished (should happen by mid-July) and 2) the existing NS track in relocated 10-15 feet or so to the south. Not sure how long that will take -- I think it's about 1,000 feet of track to be relocated. I think his will actually allow room to add a second freight track so it would be two tracks from just east of Raleigh Union Station through Boylan and on to Fetner (Cary station)
 

Notelvis

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Of course in a pinch, the Piedmont service trains could use the track which is not tied back in on the southeastern side of the station.

Only the Carolinian and Silver Star will need to use the existing through track.
 

Seaboard92

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Honestly that makes sense because the Piedmonts are already serviced on the Ex S Line by the old Seaboard station. It would eliminate two switch moves. One to pull forward past the switch. And a second to back up towards the yard.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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brianpmcdonnell17

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Meanwhile, this article was also released today: https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/amtrak-raleigh-station-finally-opening/

According to an Amtrak employee in the Raleigh station, the July 10th date is accurate. As of today, there appeared to be a lot of work still to do to repair the platforms, as well as adding signage and eventually fully attaching the second track.

It claims the station will open July 10th, while multiple other sources still list June 27th.
 
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Any plans to upgrade the route for passenger rail? I took it about a couple times and the speed limit is around 78 MPH. What would it take to allow speeds of around 90-100 miles an hour?

The extra round-trip really helps, and I suspect it would pick up quite a bit more passengers now. It really needs to speed up though. Knock maybe 30 to 45 minutes off. Combined with the new train stations in Charlotte and Raleigh, I'm thinking NC get's its first decent passenger rail line.
 

cpotisch

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Any plans to upgrade the route for passenger rail? I took it about a couple times and the speed limit is around 78 MPH. What would it take to allow speeds of around 90-100 miles an hour?

The extra round-trip really helps, and I suspect it would pick up quite a bit more passengers now. It really needs to speed up though. Knock maybe 30 to 45 minutes off. Combined with the new train stations in Charlotte and Raleigh, I'm thinking NC get's its first decent passenger rail line.
90-100 mph is considered higher-speed rail, and I don't think there are any plans to do that with the Piedmont. 79 mph is the standard, and I don't see anything wrong with that.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Anything over 79 gets pretty expensive in this country. In a few years, when the PTC all gets sorted out it MAY be less expensive to run passenger trains above 79 if track conditions are right. The existing track in North Carolina could possibly be Class 5 already, which would allow passenger trains at 90. Not sure how much of that track is straight enough to run at 90.. but it might be possible.
 

jis

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There is no reason for any of those tracks to be Class 5, unless someone runs a freight train on any of those tracks at higher than 60mph. Class 4 is plenty good for 80mph passenger, 60mph freight.
 
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Reading the articles, looks like it won't be until 2020 but PTC is coming.

Sad to see higher speed rail is still very expensive to install.
 

me_little_me

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Any plans to upgrade the route for passenger rail? I took it about a couple times and the speed limit is around 78 MPH. What would it take to allow speeds of around 90-100 miles an hour?

The extra round-trip really helps, and I suspect it would pick up quite a bit more passengers now. It really needs to speed up though. Knock maybe 30 to 45 minutes off. Combined with the new train stations in Charlotte and Raleigh, I'm thinking NC get's its first decent passenger rail line.
90-100 mph is considered higher-speed rail, and I don't think there are any plans to do that with the Piedmont. 79 mph is the standard, and I don't see anything wrong with that.
Top speed is often meaningless. Average speed is far more important.
 

John Bobinyec

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They've double tracked all the way from Greensboro to Charlotte. They've "straightened" out some curves on that section. Between Greensboro and Cary they've now got 6 passing sidings and also straightened out the curves at Haw River. There are some more curves in that section that I'd like to see fixed, but I don't think that's in-plan.

The big problem these days is freight interference due to congestion around Linwood.

jb
 
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