Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Piedmonts’

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.

Track Work to Affect NC Amtrak Trains

April 3, 2017

Track work being performed by Norfolk Southern between Kannapolis and Charlotte, North Carolina will result in the cancellation of some Amtrak service on Monday, April 10.

Piedmont Service Nos. 73 and 75 will operate normally to Kannapolis but passengers will ride a bus to Charlotte.

Passengers for Nos. 74 and 76 will ride a bus from Charlotte to Kannapolis that will depart Charlotte 15 minutes earlier than the normal train schedules to allow the trains to depart Kannapolis on time.

There will be bus service between Charlotte and Kannapolis for passengers riding the Carolinian, No 80. The bus will depart Charlotte 15 minute earlier than the scheduled train departure time.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that Carolinian No. 79 will operate from Kannapolis to Charlotte, but may be delayed 20 – 30 minutes departing Kannapolis due to waiting for NS crews to clear the track.

North Carolina Trains Annulled on March 13

March 9, 2017

Track work being performed by CSX and Norfolk will result in cancellation of six Amtrak trains in North Carolina on March 12.

Annulled for that day will be Piedmont Nos. 73, 74, 75 and 76 and Carolinan Nos. 79 and 80.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said no alternative transportation is being provided. The track work is being undertaken in the Raleigh, North Carolina, region.

March 6 North Carolina Service Disruptions Set, State to Launch Free Bus Transfer Program

February 28, 2017

Amtrak will suspend service at Kannapolis, North Carolina, on March 6, due to track work being performed by Norfolk Southern.

north-carolinaAffected are the Raleigh-Charlotte Piedmont trains and the New York-Charlotte Carolinian.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that trains 73, 75 and 79 will operate normally to Salisbury. At Salisbury, express buses will operate non-stop to Charlotte.

Trains 74, 76 and 80 will originate at Salisbury with express bus service operating  non-stop from Charlotte to Salisbury.

The service advisory noted that buses will depart Charlotte 15 minutes earlier than the trains they replace.

In an another development affecting North Carolina Amtrak service, passengers boarding or disembarking in some cities will receive a free transfer to local transit buses.

Participating in the program are Salisbury Transit, Go Raleigh, Go Cary, Go Durham, Go Triangle, Greensboro Transit Authority, High Point Transit System, Concord-Kannapolis Area Transit (CK Rider), Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) and Higher Education Area Transit.

The program is set to begin on March 1 but could be delayed depending on when agreements are signed.

Salisbury Transit Manager Rodney Harrison said that the purpose of the program is to ensure that travelers aren’t stuck at a train station without a way to travel further in the city.

Harrison told the Salisbury City Council that Amtrak will reimburse the city for the bus transfers.

He also said that Amtrak passengers disembarking in Salisbury could also transfer to Rowan County’s transit service.

Roanoke Station Platform Work Begins

February 14, 2017

Construction began this week on the platform to be used by Amtrak in Roanoke, Virginia. The project is expected to take 300 days to complete.

Amtrak 4Roanoke is expected to gain Amtrak service through an extension of an existing Northeast Regional train. Service will be a daily roundtrip to Washington that departs in the morning and returns in the evening.

Service is projected to begin in October after the station work is completed. The Roanoke station is expected to cost $10.9 million.

The city best known as the former headquarters of the Norfolk & Western Railway, has not had intercity rail service since the Oct. 1, 1979, discontinuance of the Hilltopper.

In other Amtrak station news, work on the Union Station in Raleigh, North Carolina, is reported to be on schedule with half of the project already completed.

The facility will serve Amtrak trains and regional buses.

The capital of North Carolina is the northern terminus of the state-funded Piedmont trains and is also a stop for the New York-Charlotte Carolinian and the New York-Miami Silver Star.

The station will be located at the end of Martin Street on a site that once had an empty warehouse.

Union Station is projected to open in January 2018. The cost of the project is $90 million with the city paying about $15 million and the balance being funded by state and federal grants.

FRA Southeastern Regional Rail Service Study May Lead to Restoring Chicago-Florida Service

January 7, 2017

Discussions about establishing a Jacksonville, Florida, to Nashville, Tennessee, intercity rail corridor are being seen as a precursor for linking Chicago and the Southeast by rail again.

Amtrak 3The discussion is part of the Southeast Regional Rail Plan study being undertaken by the Federal Railroad Administration.

Other routes being discussed include creating connections from existing Amtrak service to Ashville and Wilmington, North Carolina; and the North Carolina and South Carolina beaches and tourist destinations.

The study also is looking at opportunities for other east-west corridors, including those that might connect northward, e.g., Petersburg-Lynchburg, Virginia; Roanoke-Bristol, Virginia;  Knoxville-Nashville, Tennessee; and Nashville- Memphis, Tennessee.

A focus of the study is finding ways to bring service to college towns and their high concentration of frequent travelers.

Amtrak’s Floridian linked Chicago and Florida until being discontinued in October 1979.

There was direct service between Chicago and the Southeast in the middle to late 1980s and the early 1980s when through cars operated on the Capitol Limited and Silver Star via a connection in Washington.

In a related development, Amtrak said it expects to begin service between Lynchburg and Roanoke this fall provided that adequate station facilities are finished in Roanoke by that time.

The service will be funded by the State of Virginia and is an extension of a Northeast Regional service train that now originates in Lynchburg. Roanoke lost Amtrak service on Oct. 1, 1979, when the Catlettsburg (Kentucky)-Washington Hilltopper was discontinued.

The Virgnia Department of Rail is studying funding another train from Washington to Lynchburg that might be extended to Roanoke.

In another development, construction of a union station in Raleigh, North Carolina, recently passed the halfway point and is expected to open in early 2018.

Work began in May 2015 for the $90 million facility that will be served by Amtrak and Go Triangle bus service.

Once completed, Raleigh Union Station will have restaurants and shops and provide a venue for events.

Raleigh is served by the North Carolina-funded Piedmonts between Raleigh and Charlotte, the New York-Charlotte Carolinan, and the New York-Miami Silver Star.