Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak in North Carolina’

Sunset Ltd to Return, More Cancellations Announced

September 9, 2017

One pair of Amtrak trains is set to return, but much of Amtrak’s service in the Southeast is going to be suspended due to impending Hurricane Irma.

Amtrak said on Friday that the Sunset Limited will resume operating the length of its route between New Orleans and Los Angeles next week.

Service will resumes effective with the departures of Train 2 on Sept. 13 from Los Angeles and Train 1 on Sept. 16, from New Orleans.

Operations of the Sunset Limited has been suspended between New Orleans and San Antonio due to flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area.

In the meantime Hurricane Irma is set to make landfall on Florida this weekend and Amtrak has canceled numerous trains in anticipation.

The Silver Star and Silver Meteor from Miami to New York are cancelled for Sept. 9 – 11. The Silver Service trains from New York to Miami are cancelled for Sept. 8 – 10.

The southbound Auto Train is cancelled through Sept. 9. The northbound Auto Train is cancelled on Sept. 9 – 11.

The southbound Palmetto from New York City to Savannah, Georgia, is cancelled from Sept. 9 – 12. Its northbound counterpart is canceled between Sept. 10-13.

Schedule track work that was to be performed by Norfolk Southern in North Carolina has been canceled due to the impending storm.

Therefore the Carolinian and Piedmont trains that were to have been canceled for the track work on Sept. 12 will operate as scheduled.

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Charlotte Station Plan Continues to Roll

September 6, 2017

The Charlotte Area Transit System continues to seek a new transportation center that would serve Amtrak in the city’s uptown area.

The center is expected to be built on a 17-acre site along  Norfolk Southern tracks between Bank of American Stadium and Ninth Street, an area that is now mostly surface parking lots.

It will be connected to the uptown transit center and the Blue Line light rail by a streetcar line being built on Trade Street.

Tina Votaw, the Charlotte Gateway Station project manager, said utility work is expected to start in early 2018.

Design work for the five new bridges at the site is expected to be completed this year. Votaw said that if everything goes according to plan, the station would open in 2024.

The first components of the project will cost an estimated $70 million to $80 million. The project has received a $30 million federal grant and a pledge of $48.75 million from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The city of Charlotte has promised $33 million.

Amtrak currently used a small facility on North Tryon Street. Serving Charlotte is the New York-Orleans Crescent.

The Carolinian and Piedmont trains originate and terminate in Charlotte.

Votaw cautioned that much needs to happen before the new station can be built. Chief among those is the development of a partnership with a private developer.

CATS is expected to issue an open-ended request for proposals to see how developers suggest building the station.

“We’ve got this property,” Votaw said. “We want a station sooner rather than later. Tell us how you would do it.”

Greyhound owns a 1.3-acre tract on West Trade Street at the Gateway Station site that is uses as its Charlotte bus station.

CATS expected to buy that property and allow intercity bus-service on a “roll-through” basis.

Bus maintenance and other operations would need to be relocated.

Rail passenger trains last stopped in uptown Charlotte in 1962 when the Southern Railway opened the North Tryon Street depot that planners consider to be small, outdated and disconnected from the city’s downtown center.

NC Puts Rebuilt Locomotives Into Service

August 3, 2017

Amtrak and North Carolina officials this week christened two rebuilt locomotives that are used in Piedmont Service between Charlotte and Raleigh.

The rebuilt locomotives have been named Town of Cary and the City of Kannapolis, both of which are served by the Piedmonts as well as the New York-Charlotte Carolinian.

Each engine was rebuilt mechanically and electrically. The Kannapolis locomotive’s 3,000 horsepower engine was upgraded to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 0+ emission standards.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation noted that the purchase and rehabilitation of the locomotives cost $2.15 million each. New units would have cost $6 million to $7 million.

The North Carolina locomotives were built in 1990 for Toronto’s GO Transit system.

Track Work to Affect Service in North Carolina on July 19

July 13, 2017

Track work in Raleigh, North Carolina, will affect the operation of Amtrak’s Piedmont, Carolinian and Silver Star trains on July 18 and 19.

On July 18, Train 1092 will depart Miami at 9:15 a.m., two hours and 35 minutes earlier than its current schedule, and operate on the earlier schedule through its arrival into Philadelphia at 2:20 p.m.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Train 92 will wait in Philadelphia until it departs at 5:10 p.m, then operate according to its normal schedule at all remaining stations on the route.

Due to the earlier train departure, the train number for northbound Train 92 departing Miami on July 18 has been changed to Train 1092.

The earlier schedule for the Silver Star will also affect certain Thruway Bus routes.

Thruway Bus 6292 will depart earlier from Lakeland, Florida, while Thruway Bus 6092 will depart earlier from Fort Myers, Florida.

Passengers ticketed on those routes are urged to contact Amtrak for updated schedules by visiting Amtrak.com, using the Amtrak mobile apps or by calling 800-USA-RAIL (800-872-7245).

On July 19, the Carolinian and Piedmont service will be cancelled and no alternative transportation provided. This affects Trains 73, 74, 75, 76, 79 and 80.

NC Service Disruptions Set for June 26

June 15, 2017

More service disruptions are in store for Amtrak in North Carolina due to Norfolk Southern track work.

On June 26, Piedmont Service Nos. 73 and 76 will be canceled without alternative transportation being provided.

Piedmont Nos. 74 and 75 will operate between Raleigh and Greensboro. There will be no service to High Point, Salisbury, Kannapolis and Charlotte.

The Carolinian will operate between New York and Greensboro. No service will be provided to High Point, Salisbury, Kannapolis and Charlotte.

Piedmont Disruptions Set for June 19

June 14, 2017

Norfolk Southern track work on June 19 will result in the cancellation of some Amtrak Piedmont trains and a shortened route for other trains.

Trains 73 and 76 will be canceled and no alternative service provided. Nos. 74 and 75 will operate only between Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina, only.

There will be no service at the other stations served of High Point, Salisbury, Kannapolis and Charlotte.

New Charlotte Station Still Awaiting Agreements

May 24, 2017

Two years after being awarded a $30 million federal grant to build a new Amtrak station in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, the city is still waiting for the work to begin.

The proposed Charlotte Gateway Station was lauded with much fanfare in October 2015 by former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, who was once the mayor of Charlotte.

Foxx said that the groundbreaking could occur within 18 months.

But now the Charlotte Area Transit System doesn’t think it can have a station ready until 2024.

Plans for a temporary station to replace what many in Charlotte describe as the existing small and dingy station off North Tryon Street apparently have been dropped.

Gateway Station is planned for Graham, Fourth and West Trade streets near BB&T Ballpark. The current station is located well north of downtown.

CATS officials recently told the Charlotte City Council that a new agreement and timetable with the state must be negotiated, a process they expect to occur by late June.

But if that agreement is not reached, then the federal funding for the new station could be at risk of being taken back by the federal government.

Charlotte is the southern terminus of the Carolinian, which originated in New York City, and the Piedmont trains that originated in Raleigh, North Carolina. The New York-New Orleans Crescent also serves Charlotte.

CATS still needs to find several million more dollars to fund the Gateway Station in addition to the federal, state and local grants it has lined up thus far. Gateway Station is expected to cost between $150 and $200 million.

The station is envisioned to become a mixed-use project that houses offices and residential units. The CATS rail line to Lake Norman would serve Gateway as well as city buses and the streetcar Gold Line.

CATS has funding pledges of $30 million in federal funds, $48.75 million from the North Carolina Department of Transportation and $33 million from the city of Charlotte.

If funding is lined up, construction would begin in 2018. Track, signal and platform work would be finished in 2021 under the current timeline.

The station itself would be built within three years of the track, signal and platform work being completed. Amtrak won’t begin using Gateway until the station is finished.

Discounted Tickets Will No Longer be Sold Aboard Carolinian, Piedmont Trains Effective June 5

May 18, 2017

Amtrak said this week that effective June 5 that discounted fares will no longer be sold aboard the Carolinian or Piedmont trains.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that only the full undiscounted, unrestricted fare will be available for purchase and that conductors will only accept cash payments on board the train.

All Piedmont and Carolinian trains are reserved trains and seating on reserved trains is only guaranteed with a reservation.

Amtrak said passengers wishing to pay with with credit cards can make reservations and obtain eTickets at Amtrak.com, by using the Amtrak mobile apps, or by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

eTickets can be printed at home or displayed using a smartphone. Tickets can be purchased with a credit card at stations with Quik-Trak kiosks and at Amtrak ticket offices.

Piedmonts Canceled Due to Track Work

April 13, 2017

Amtrak has cancelled operation of Piedmont Trains 74 and 75 on Monday through Thursday through May 10.

In a service advisory, Amtrak attributed the cancellation to track work being performed by Norfolk Southern.

Alternate transportation will not be provided, but another pair of Piedmont trains and the Carolinian will continue to operate between Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.

N.C. To Uprade F59H Locomotive Used on Piedmonts

April 11, 2017

An F59H locomotive used to pull Amtrak Piedmont service trains in North Carolina is going to receive rebuilding to make it more environmentally friendly.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality has awarded a $39,000 grant to the Rail Division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The money will be used to pay for the addition of additional technologies to the blended after-treatment system that was installed and tested on F59H locomotive 1859.

The BATS mitigates the four components of diesel exhaust that studies have found are harmful to humans.

The current system has migrated three of the four compounds to the EPA Tier 4 emissions level required for new locomotives. The fourth component, particulate matter, was lowered to Tier 3.

The NCDOT Rail Division expects to reach the Tier 4 level for particulate matter, which will bring No. 1859 to the functional equivalent of a new locomotive.