still a few years to go but a start.
The Amtrak Station won’t open for 4 years. When it opens, the street car will connect the Station with the light rail. When that happens, fans can ride a train from Raleigh or Greensboro to Charlotte, take the street car to the light rail, then ride that to the University for a football or basketball game. It is not a long walk from the new station to the light rail, but riding the street car will be a neat new thing for people from out of town.
And hopefully sooner, rather than later, fans from all over the country/world can fly into CLT airport and take the silver line to gateway station. Then to the street car, then the blue line to campus. Silver line is crucial imo.
By then, the streetcar will look just like light rail, so it won’t really be any different for people that have ridden our light rail before, just slower.
I think this is a bad investment. Why build a station for Amtrak when the freight train companies own all of the lines. Public use of the lines is at the mercy of the freight companies and their decisions based on freight demands. If the demand for shuttle service is high enough between the cities an air shuttle service from airport to airport makes more sense. Then the light rail from airport to different areas of the city would be better.
clt doesn’t support any form of public transit
There are nearly a half million passenger boardings on Amtrak in NC. Regional air transport would not be able to handle that. It also does nothing to service small town communities on the train lines.
Another overlooked benefit is a downtown station makes using Amtrak as commuter rail for people living in Concord/Kannapolis or Salisbury feasible.
In Raleigh and durham, there are many riders that will commute to the other city for work on Amtrak. It’s a short pleasant trip and costs less than $10.
There’d have to be more than a station in the ass end of downtown Kannapolis to do that.
Station is right by the research park and Kannapolis is investing a lot into their downtown. Give it some transit options into Charlotte and it could see major improvement.
But the biggest problem that Amtrak has and always had is that they do not own the rail lines. They get prioritized over by freight all the time. The city is putting up $33 million dollars to a company that rides on other people’s property. If freight by rail increases to a certain point there will be no room for Amtrak to operate at all. When the former CEO of Amtrak says the company is a third world operation that is bad. I love rail for transit. I took the Jersey transit system into Manhattan many times when I worked up there. It is just a big gamble to me to do this station given the rise of manufacturing in NC and the already stressed rail lines that we have…
NC owns the track that Norfolk Southern leases from the state (North Carolina RR) that runs from Charlotte to Morehead City. I am not exactly sure where the NCRR line ends in Charlotte and NS owned property starts but even if that demarcation is north of this new station we are only looking at a mile or so of non NC owned right of way.
In 1871 a predecessor company to NS leased the line and then in 1894 a 99 year lease started. Now NS has shorter lease periods for essentially trackage rights and maintenance but NC can write into the lease more room for passenger service. There has been a lot of upgrades between Charlotte and Raleigh (double track, grade crossing removal or improvements and more to allow passenger trains to move a bit faster and cut down on the time between Charlotte and Raleigh). NS could balk at the lease and maybe CSX could take over but CSX has ways from points north of Raleigh and points south through Charlotte. Norfolk Southern could use the ATO line up Suger Creek and then through Barber Junction to Mocksville and W-s then to Greensboro and points north on track NS truly owns, but this would go around Linwood Yards, which is a major classification yard for NS and there is an old wood bridge past its legal life near Reynolds High in Winston-Salem that NS has shown no interest in rebuilding for two decades that would not be cheap to rebuild. At present the ATO line from Charlotte north to Mooresville to W-S is basically a stub line that does not really reach into downtown W-S and then onto the line to Greensboro. Also the ATO line north of Cornelius through Davidson is in place but out of use up to Mooresville. Getting this back into shape would not cost as much as the bridge in W-S but it would not be cheap either. NS needs to be willing to play ball or they lose the only real connection between points south of Charlotte and into Va without going into Tennessee, which would add a hugh number of miles to their tracks in the NE part of the country.
My point (besides getting to write a bit about trains) is that the state of NC is reinvesting a lot of money from the current lease back into the line which helps NS run their freight operations better but it also allows the state, as the sole stock owner in the NCRR to put a good bit of pressure on NS to do right by passenger trains. This is one reason we now have 4 rounds trips per day between Charlotte and Raleigh and a fifth could be upcoming (previous experiences show that 5 round trips give so many more options with leaving/arriving that passenger counts really increase) and there is no Amtrak service to Asheville (which is the most requested city in the country to receive service that does not currently have Amtrak service.) NS owns and operates the line from Salisbury to Asheville. They demand NC to pay for upgrades to the line, whereas the state can force NS to play ball on the tracks in the piedmont.
Sorry for the long post but I do enjoy talking railroads.
I know the NCRR extends into the NoDa area. I think it terminates at the rail yard just south of there, but north of Uptown.
Thanks for the additional insight.
I think many people are confused about the ownership of rail lines in the area because Norfolk Southern does indeed own the lines going north along 77 and they have effectively halted any potential for commuter rail that way. The amtrak lines are completely separate and roughly follow 85.
Given the time when the tracks were placed and the interstate was built I would suggest the I-85 roughly follows the railroad.
In the case of the S line to Asheville there is a lot of freight and single track. NS is not going to budge on this I am sure without lots of state money to pay for upgrades. Just too much freight to work around.
The ATO has industry but no where the traffic and comes to an end in Cornelius. NS would want some money for use of the line but it does seem it would serve a great use in commuter rail and would be worth the cost of establishing passenger service here. Maybe there is more freight that I realize but some of the track is not even used. Any revenue on rent would be better than no income at all.
Behind closed doors NS may be using the ATO and commuter rail as its own bargaining chip with the state in other areas.
clt says the train tracks don’t stop in Cornelius brother.
McAppFan says the rails are out of service between Cornelius and Mooresville so the effect as far as train operations is concerned is as if the rail is not even there, though this section could be brought back online with some MOW work.
Or is clt suggesting the trains don’t even run to Cornelius now but stops south of Cornelius?
Yaaay! We got railroad geeks here!! Thanks for your service !
clt saw a train in mooresville. How did it get there?
I always found it interesting that the City of Charlotte seems to have a good vision for every part of the City except University City.
Charlotte is great at creating visions but bad at executing. They never put guidelines into place, or they relent on them and let developers do what they want.
If you go to Raleigh, all their midrise apartment projects are of higher quality than the shit we have had built around the city.