Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina Department of Transportation’

3rd Piedmont Service RT To be Reinstated

March 27, 2021

Amtrak in cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Transportation will restore the third daily Piedmont Service roundtrip on April 5 in the Charlotte-Raleigh corridor.

In a news release, Amtrak said this will restore Piedmont Service to its pre-pandemic level.

The state also funds a fourth pair of trains in the corridor, the Charlotte-New York Carolinian.

Intermediate stops include Cary, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury and Kannapolis. 

Third Piedmont to Begin April 5

March 5, 2021

A third Piedmont Service roundtrip will begin operating between Charlotte and Raleigh on April. 5.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division said Train 77 will depart Raleigh at 3 p.m., arriving at Charlotte at 6:10 p.m.

Train No. 78 will depart Charlotte at 7 p.m. and arriving in Raleigh at 10:11 p.m.

Salisbury Station to Get Second Boarding Platform

March 5, 2021

A second boarding platform will be built at the Amtrak station in Salisbury, North Carolina.

The city council of Salisbury approved an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the $19.75 million project.

The cost includes right-of –way acquisition to enable expanded freight and passenger service at the station location.

Most of the funding will come from the state with the city chipping in $780,000.

Work is expected to be finished in 2024. Salisbury is served by the Crescent, Piedmont Service and the Carolinian.

Piedmont Roundtrip to be Restored

August 7, 2020

Amtrak will restore operation of one roundtrip of the state-funded Piedmont Service in North Carolina on Aug. 10.

The service, which is funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, had been suspended in May due to declining ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Online reports indicated that Nos. 73 and 76 will return using Amtrak equipment of a P42DC locomotive and Amfleet coaches.

Currently the only Amtrak service between Raleigh and Charlotte is the Carolinian, which operated between Charlotte and New York and is also funded by NCDOT.

In a news release, NCDOT said passengers will be required to wear facial coverings in stations and on trains.

The capacity of the trains is being limited in order to enable physical distancing.

NCDOT rail division spokeswoman Katie Trout said Piedmont service is returning due to a uptick in ridership in the Raleigh-Charlotte corridor.

Trout said demand for rail travel in North Carolina had dropped 95 percent by mid-April but has since rebounded.

The Carolinian, she said, is now operating at 50 percent of its 2019 ridership.

“We are seeing a growing demand for service as folks look to safely get back out,” she said.

Before the pandemic struck last spring NCDOT and Amtrak had operated three Piedmont Service roundtrips between Raleigh and Charlotte.

That fell to one roundtrip in late March when the Carolinian also was suspended.

In May, the Carolinian was reinstated and the last Piedmont Service still running was dropped.

Piedmonts to be Suspended, Carolinian Reinstated

May 15, 2020

Amtrak’s Piedmont Service trains 75 and 76 will be suspended after their trips on May 17 because the North Carolina Department of Transportation is trying to save money.

Piedmonts 73, 74, 77 and 78 had been suspended earlier due to ridership declines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NCDOT officials said tax revenue is down sharply during the pandemic and the agency has been forced to trim spending.

However, service between Charlotte and Raleigh won’t vanish completely.

The New York-Charlotte Carolinian will resume operating on May 18 but will operate only between Charlotte and Raleigh.

NCDOT Director of the Rail Division Jason Orthner said the state hopes that resumption of service by the Carolinian to New York will happen sometime in June.

However, the Amtrak reservation system shows the Carolinian as operating north of Raleigh starting June 1.

Currently Piedmonts 75 and 76 are the only intercity rail service between Charlotte and Raleigh.

Orthner said suspending Piedmont Service will save NCDOT about $13,000 a day, primarily due to not operating the state-owned locomotives and passenger cars.

The equipment used on the Carolinian is owned by Amtrak.

He said NCDOT continues to pay Amtrak provide passenger rail service in North Carolina during the pandemic, though at a 20 percent discount because of a subsidy provided through the CARES Act.

How long the Piedmonts are suspended will depend on how long the pandemic lasts and when state finances improve.

“We don’t have a definitive timeframe yet,” Orthner said.

NCDOT is projecting a loss of $300 million less in revenue than expected in March, April and May, and forecasts losses will be higher in the coming year.

Officials have attributed the revenue loss to falling taxes collected from the fuel sale and fewer fees being paid to the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Under normal circumstances Amtrak operates four roundtrips between Charlotte and Raleigh per day, all funded by the state.

Carolinian to be Temporarily Suspended

April 5, 2020

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has further reduced the number of Amtrak trains that it is sponsoring during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective April 6 the Carolinian, which operates between Charlotte and New York, will be suspended.

The suspension will last through at least May 4.

The department had earlier reduced Piedmont Service between Charlotte and Raleigh.

There will now be just one pair of Piedmonts, Nos. 75 and 78, operating between April 6 and May 4.

A news release from the department said Amtrak is waiving change fees on all existing reservations until May 31.

Passengers can modify their trip on Amtrak.com​, or find their reservation on the home screen in the Amtrak app. To cancel a reservation with no fee, passengers must call 800-BY-TRAIN and speak with an agent (not available via Amtrak.com or the app).

North Carolina Eyes Buying Portion of CSX S Line

December 28, 2019

An expansive intercity rail passenger plan recently announced by Virginia may benefit passenger rail in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is considering purchasing an unused railroad right of way between the Virginia border and Ridgeway, North Carolina.

The right of way would be used for a passenger high-speed rail route between Washington and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Now owned by CSX, the tracks in the former S-Line route were removed in the 1980s after CSX began favoring a parallel A-Line route via Rocky Mount, North Carolina.

Virginia plans to purchase the S-Line route when its borders south of Richmond.

Jason Orthner, NCDOT’s rail director, said the state has yet to determine how much it would cost to buy the S Line.

The remainder of the S Line between Ridgeway and Raleigh is in place but lightly used by CSX.

Amtrak trains, including the Carolinian, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Auto Train, and Palmetto use the CSX A Line between Richmond and Selma, North Caroliona with the Carolinian and Silver Star operating via Raleigh.

Hearing Set for Proposed NC Station Project

October 22, 2019

A second platform is planned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation for the Amtrak station in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

NCDOT will host a public meeting on Oct. 24 to gather opinions on the need for the platform at the station that is served by the state-supported Carolinian and Piedmont trains.

The existing single platform is located on one side of the double-track North Carolina Railroad/Norfolk Southern Main Line.

NCDOT has proposed building a pedestrian overpass from South Ridge Avenue and South Main Street to the platform.

In addition to the public meeting, NCDOT will accept comments via email and phone through Nov. 7.

All comments will be reviewed and considered for the final design, department officials said.

New Cars Coming to Piedmont Trains

August 27, 2019

The oldest cars currently assigned to Amtrak’s Piedmont service will be replaced using a $77 million grant.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation received a grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to upgrade its Piedmont rail car fleet.

NCDOT officials said they’ll use the grant to support a fleet of new coaches assigned to the service that operates between Raleigh and Charlotte.

The project also includes improvements to NCDOT’s locomotive and rail-car maintenance facility in Charlotte that supports the Piedmont fleet.

Planning and engineering for the facility will begin once a contract agreement has been signed with the FRA.

FRA Grants to Benefit Passenger Rail

August 27, 2019

The Federal Railroad Administration has announced the awarding of more than $272 million in grant funding to 10 rail projects through its State of Good Repair Program.

Several of those projects will benefit passenger rail.

The Michigan Department of Transportation was awarded up to $23.3 million for a rehabilitation work on the state-owned line between Kalamazoo and Dearborn that is used by Amtrak’s Wolverine Service and Blue Water trains.

The project entails rebuilding rail, crossties and track surfaces, and replacing two railroad bridges in Jackson.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation received $15.1 million to rehabilitate and upgrade an interlocking plant in Philadelphia at the junction of the Amtrak-owned Keystone Corridor and Northeast Corridor main lines.

Work will include slope stabilization and reconstruction of retaining walls, rehabilitation of an existing but underutilized track, and switch and signal reconfiguration.

Chicago commuter agency Metra will receive $17.8 million to construct a new grade-separated, double-tracked rail bridge over Milwaukee Avenue north of the Grayland Metra Station on Metra’s Milwaukee District-North Line in Chicago.

The city-owned New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal will receive $3.7 million to complete final design for upgrading station platforms and train service capabilities.

The platform modifications will bring the platforms into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, increase platform height to provide level boarding for Amtrak’s Sunset Limited and City of New Orleans, and improve the step height for boarding the Crescent.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation was awarded $41.2 million to replace and upgrade Tower I interlocking, a major rail network junction at the entrance to the Boston South Station terminal area.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation received $76.9 million for the Piedmont intercity fleet and infrastructure investments project.

The project involves the acquisition of 13 new passenger coaches for use in the Piedmont service and an expansion of the Charlotte Locomotive and Rail-car Maintenance Facility.

New Jersey Transit received $18.4 million for platform D improvements at Newark Penn Station. The project includes repairing and/or replacing Platform D slabs and joints, reconstructing platform edges, installing new tactile strips and timber rub rails, repairing the overhead canopy and upgrading lighting.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation was awarded $12.5 million for a major rehabilitation of the Amtrak station in Providence.

The Washington State Department of Transportation was awarded $37.5 million to procure three new consists for use in the Amtrak Cascades service.

The project will replace the three Washington state-owned Talgo VI trainsets: two used in current service and one damaged in the December 2017 derailment.

The loss of the damaged trainset reduced the Amtrak Cascades schedule from six to four daily round trips.

The project will enable WSDOT to meet existing and anticipated passenger demand, and allow Washington to retire its Talgo VI trainsets.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation was awarded $25.7 million to replace deteriorated, outdated passenger cab-baggage and coach cars used in the Chicago–Milwaukee Amtrak Hiawatha service with three single-level cab-coach cars and six single-level coach cars.