Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina Department of Transportation’

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.

A Little Promontory in North Carolina

May 10, 2019

The Rail Division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation got into the spirit of the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike by posing two of its locomotives in a manner that duplicated the famous photo made at Promontory, Utah.

It posed F59PHI No. 1869 with cab control unit No. 101 along with agency staff in a recreation of the iconic image made in 1869 by A.J. Russell.

The agency also used the event to promote $1 fares being offered for travel aboard Piedmont Service trains on May 10 and 11.

The discount fares quickly sold out said Rail Division Deputy Director Allan Paul, noting that each train has a capacity of 300.

“Many of them will be first-time riders and lots of families,” Paul said of those who purchased the tickets.” We hope they will have a good Piedmont experience and become repeat customers.”

Officials said that ridership of the Piedmont trains, which are operated by Amtrak, has risen 33 percent in the first half of fiscal year 2019 and ticket revenue is up 39 percent. The first half of the fiscal year ended in March.

Grant to Help NCDOT Buy PTC Equipment

January 22, 2019

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has received a grant from the federal government that will help to fund positive train control equipment for trains that it funds in the Raleigh-Charlotte corridor.

The $584,080 grant came from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program to help fund the purchase and installation PTC hardware on passenger service locomotives.

Although NCDOT installed PTC devices on its locomotives ahead of a federally required Dec. 31, 2018, implementation deadline, the grant will be used to outfit locomotives that will be required for expanding Piedmont passenger-rail service, including an upcoming fourth round trip between Charlotte and Raleigh beginning in the next few years, NCDOT said in a news release.
Amtrak operates for North Carolina six Piedmont trains between Charlotte and Raleigh.

The trains use locomotives and passengers cars owned by the NCDOT.

Intermediate stations in the corridor include Kannapolis, Salisbury, High Point, Greensboro, Burlington, Durham and Cary.

In a unrelated matter, NCDOT said it has obtained a state grant to be used to pay for improvements that will reduce locomotive air emissions.

That $484,500 diesel emissions reduction grant came from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

It will used to pay for installation of a blended after-treatment system on one locomotive.

NCDOT plans to equip its entire locomotive fleet with BATS systems within the next two to three years, which officials said will it one of the cleanest locomotive fleets in the nation.

North Carolina Track Work Affects 3 Routes

August 29, 2018

Track work being performed by Norfolk Southern and the North Carolina Department of Transportation will affect the operations of Amtrak’s Carolinian, Silver Star and Piedmont Trains

Alternative schedules and service cancellations will be in effect between Sept. 10 and 19.

On Sept. 10 through Sept. 13 the New York-Charlotte, North Carolina, Carolinian will operate between Raleigh, North Carolina, and Charlotte, only. Nos. 79 and 80 will be cancelled between New York and Raleigh with no alternate transportation provided.

On Sept. 16, the northbound Silver Star (Train 92) will operate as Train 1092 and depart Miami at 9:05 am, 2 hours and 45 minutes earlier than its normal schedule. Train 1092 will operate earlier through to New York.

On Sept. 17 the Carolinian will be cancelled with no alternate transportation provided between New York and Charlotte

Piedmont Service Trains 73, 74, 75, 76, 77 and 78 will be cancelled with no alternate transportation provided between Raleigh and Charlotte.

The southbound Silver Star will operate normally the length of its route.

On Sep. 18 the Carolinian will operate between Raleigh and Charlotte with no alternate transportation provided between New York and Raleigh.

On Sept. 19 Piedmont Service Trains 74 and 75 will be cancelled with no alternate transportation provided between Raleigh and Charlotte.

Contract Awarded for Charlotte Station Work

June 12, 2018

A $48.6 million contract has been awarded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to build track that will serve the planned Charlotte Gateway Station.

The work will begin and finish by April 2022. It also includes building the station platform and related structures as well as preparing the roadbed for laying tracks.

Construction of the station will be handled under a separate contract that is expected to be awarded late this year or in early 2019.

The station will serve Amtrak, intercity bus lines, the Charlotte Area Transit System, taxis and ride sharing companies.

NCDOT Locomotives Certified by EPA

February 22, 2018

A passenger locomotive owned by the North Carolina Department of Transportation  has been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection  Agency as an emissions-reduction system.

It uses a technology known as blended after-treatment system, which uses catalytic reduction to chemically remove diesel engine emission pollutants from the locomotive’s exhaust before it’s released into the air.

The system is designed to reduce four diesel exhaust pollutants: nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and particulate matter.

In a news release, NCDOT said the EPA has determined that all four can cause chronic negative health effects, such as heart and lung disease.

The work on the locomotive was done by Rail Propulsion Systems of California. The company developed the system for use on passenger locomotives.

NCDOT’s rail division collaborated with Rail Propulsion Systems for the past two years to install and test BATS’ functionality.

NCDOT is the first U.S. rail agency to demonstrate the technology on an in-service passenger locomotive.

The EPA certification will enable NCDOT to pursue state and federal grant opportunities to retrofit BATS onto its full fleet of locomotives that are assigned to Amtrak trains using the Piedmont route between Raleigh and Charlotte.

NCDOT Complete Piedmont Rail Project

January 12, 2018

A seven-year project to rehabilitate a rail line used by Amtrak trains in North Carolina has come to a close.

Known as the Piedmont Improvement Program, it sought to upgrade the infrastructure used by passenger and freight trains between Charlotte and Raleigh. This included making the route safer and more efficient and reliable.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said more than 40 rail projects were completed. This included constructing 13 new bridges over or under highways to prevent train/vehicle collisions, laying 27 miles of double track between Greensboro and Charlotte, making the route between both cities now double track, and closing nearly 40 street-level roadway crossings.

The state also funded the addition of locomotives and passengers cars for Amtrak’s Piedmont service and upgraded four stations between Cary and Kannapolis.

“The Piedmont Improvement Program has put our state on the right path for the future by not only improving connectivity for passenger customers, but also serving as a catalyst for economic improvement through freight rail service, locally and nationally,” said NCDOT Chief Deputy Secretary David Howard in a statement.

Railroads participating in the program included Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern and the North Carolina Railroad Company.