US Open Special

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Jul 29, 2019
Greensboro, NC
NC By Train is having a special Raleigh to Pinehurst, NC Amtrak special for the US Open golf tournament on 13-16 June, 2024.

PIH is the station code for Pinehurst.

1171 and 1172 are the train numbers names the Open Express. $25 coach only seats. A bit over 2 hours.

I did the math and it is 3/4 hour longer in time and about 10 miles past Southern Pines which is about what one would expect for 10 MPH travel from Aberdeen to Pinehurst. From Raleigh to Aberdeen they will be on CSX track used by the Silver Star.

ACWR, a shortline that runs on the original Norfolk Southern track in that part of North Carolina has built a siding on their tracks right by the gold course. I assume they are sharing some siding space between their own business cars and the Amtrak trains.
I heard about this yesterday. Hopefully this will help further generate interest from people along the route beyond a one off event.

Too bad we can't have a train running between Pinehurst and Wilmington those days as well.
I have to admit I am surprised Rail Division is doing this. A happy surprise, but surprised. A shame they can't also had a temp stop in Sanford just to see demand, even if tickets sell out at Raleigh, Amtrak can certainly (I would hope) track people putting in Sanford as an option for a ticket.

I knew the ACWR was doing some work here for their own cars and I think Rail Division gave a hint of this at the Train Host meeting in March looking back on comments in hindsight.
I saw a video on another social media site that starts with an F and ends with the letter and for test run it was the usual Piedmont equipment but the ACWR had their own dome car as part of the consist as well. I assume there is some sort of revenue sharing. Maybe Amtrak is hauling the ACWR for free and they can use that for bringing in their customer reps and ACWR is not charging for the 4 or 5 miles of access on their line. ACWR did spend some money adding a siding right by the golf course.

I don't know the owners but I do know someone that does know the owners and the owners seem to be railfans and have done some work on refurbishing some older cars such as the dome car they are using here.
I found a couple videos of the test runs. This video by benchedthatpiece shows just Piedmont equipment at Sanford, North Carolina.

Harrison0124 Productions posted a video taken in Aberdeen with an Aberdeen, Carolina, & Western full-length dome car as the first car.

Not Amtrak related, but I recall in 1980 the US Open was at Merion Golf Club located west of Philadelphia along the Red Arrow Division high speed line to Norristown. SEPTA ran shuttles to a station within walking distance of the tournament and it was well used, probably because parking near the course was very limited. My wife and I used it from our home in Delaware County, she being a golf fan and for me mostly to ride the 1930s era "bullet" cars.
I agree that a temporary station in Sanford would be an excellent way to show community interest, but there's no good way to park a seven car car consist downtown without blocking at least one and probably two intersections.

The test train picked up the AC&W in Aberdeen/on that end of the run.

This feels like the first passenger service south of Raleigh that's not headed across the state line in 40 years or more, and hopefully it's a huge success for the NC Rail and AC&W folks.
By all accounts, 1171/1172 were very successful throughout the tournament. The trains ran a few minutes late, in part because of heat restrictions on CSX, but no one seemed to care. No horror stories. Just complaints about long lines in the cafe car, but that's normal.

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