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Spectrum News 1: Amtrak Expanding Service in N.C. with Major Projects in Development

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bms

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This story is extremely light on details, but says the North Carolina Department of Transportation plans to add a new route from Richmond to Raleigh, new service between Charlotte and Atlanta (I assume a second train on the Crescent route that isn't in the middle of the night), and new service to Asheville and Wilmington.

I'll believe it when I see it, but service between Raleigh and Wilmington would be popular. Half the people in Wilmington hail from the Raleigh area, and half the people in Raleigh seem to vacation regularly in Wilmington.
 
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jis

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Richmond to Raleigh is the South East HSR Project which recently got some funding to complete acquisition of the old ROW between Petersburg and Raleigh via Norlina. There is a DEIS for the project that is available on the NCDOT website somewhere.

Charlotte - Atlanta is allegedly a Georgia DOT wishlist thing, not an NCDOT thing. Asheville and Wilmington has been on NCDOT's wishlist for quite a while, and currently at least Ashville is served by Thruway funded by NCDOT. Not sure what the status of Wilmington is.
 

Eric S

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Did the Asheville bus ever actually start up? There is a Thruway bus service that links Wilmington with Amtrak service in Wilson.
 

Seaboard92

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Neither Wilmington or Asheville make a lot of sense at the moment.

Wilmington: Requires rebuilding a long stretch of right of way that has been abandoned since the 80s across the swamps into Wilmington. It isn't impossible it just takes a lot of money.

Asheville: Norfolk Southern has downgraded the S line between salisbury and Asheville from 49 MPH to 25 MPH in order to save money. It would have to have substantial track work done I'm sure to get speeds back up to 49, and even more to get it up to 60 mph. I think it would make more sense for this train to start in Charlotte because the Salisbury station is just south of the wye that heads west to Asheville. Now there are some other interesting options for growth.

One could send a train up the AT&O (NS) via Huntersville, Cornelius, and Mooresville to Barber Junction before heading west. However NS has decided to split the line in two and it is out of service between Cornelius and Mooresville. However this is a line CATS wants to turn into a commuter rail line.

The other option if you are sending a train from Raleigh is to go from Greensboro to Barber via Winston Salem. It would add another large city to the rail network and it would again use a secondary line of NS from Barber to Winston-Salem.

If I was the state I would actually consider extending it all the way to Knoxville and adding another large population base to anchor it. If you look at the Piedmont it is anchored on both ends by Charlotte and Raleigh, with a really good intermediate city of Greensboro in the middle of the route. It makes a lot of sense to have a good mid tier city on the route. It would only add another 2.5-3 hours to the route and would get service to eastern Tennessee. One day if the Roanoke Regional gets extended down there it would make another good connection.
 

jis

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NCDOT should consider buying out some of those NS secondaries before spending any upgrade money on them.

Speaking of Wilmington, whatever happened to the CSXT (ex-SAL) Hamlet - Pembroke - Wilmington line? Of course CSXT may not be thrilled, but it certainly exists and is in service, no?
 
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Seaboard92

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NCDOT should consider buying out some of those NS secondaries before spending any upgrade money on them.

Speaking of Wilmington, whatever happened to the CSXT (ex-SAL) Hamlet - Pembroke - Wilmington line? Of course CSXT may not be thrilled, but it certainly exists and is in service, no?
It is still in service and is still the longest stretch of straight track in the USA. The line originates in Charlotte too which would be an interesting place to start the trains in my opinion.
 
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neroden

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Neither Wilmington or Asheville make a lot of sense at the moment.

Wilmington: Requires rebuilding a long stretch of right of way that has been abandoned since the 80s across the swamps into Wilmington. It isn't impossible it just takes a lot of money.
I expect Wilmington would take the *extremely straight* CSX route from Hamlet and Pembroke, which is intact, not the abandoned route which goes north from Wilmington. If you're going for high speed rail... straight is good
 
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