FROM THE CAB - February 2022

By Martin Wheeler, President

CAPT Membership at 50 -- Twenty-two membership renewals have arrived, with a new member in place as the Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains (CAPT) continues its annual recruitment drive, reports Treasurer Ralph Messera. Like a financial securities company ad once said, “we grow our organization one ‘member’ at a time.” Individual membership costs $25 annually, or $15 annually for students and retirees.

Five individuals have both renewed memberships and made separate donations to CAPT. Thank you, Captain Phillip Bush, USNR, Washington D.C.; Bill Graves, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Peter Richardson, also from Chapel Hill; Bernard Silverman, Conway, S.C., and Linda Yutzy, Nebo, N.C.

As with the U.S. Marines, CAPT wants a few good “rail advocates.” Issues facing passenger rail in North and South Carolina are: Reduced train operations due to crew s off due to sickness. Opposition to Amtrak operations from Class 1 Railroads. Norfolk Southern obstruction to two new N.C. railroad stations.

To renew/ join CAPT, notify Ralph S. Messera, CAPT Treasurer, 401 S. Fremont St., Matthews, NC 28105.

SALUTE TO SKIP -- Candy Ruedeman of North Carolina has shared news of the passing of her late husband, Skip, who was a past Rail Passenger Association (RPA) council member. In renewing his membership, Mrs. Ruedeman wrote the following to our president and treasurer:
  “I am Candy Ruedeman. My husband, Skip, was a board member representing NC for a number of years. He was always an avid rail passenger supporter in all the years we lived in Colorado, before moving to Pinebluff, NC.

“Sadly, Skip died in August. I miss him very much. I am sending his dues, as I have done in his name, for all the rail organizations he served so loyally.

“I could never replace him, but I am willing to do whatever I can to help.”

Editor’s Note -- There’s terrific news out of Detroit about the Michigan Central Railroad Station. While passenger rail service isn’t being restored to the iconic station, Detroiters are rejoicing in the facelift in progress, courtesy of The Ford Motor Company, the State of Michigan, Google, and others.

Millions of people once passed through Detroit’s Michigan Central Station, which was open from 1913 until being shuttered in 1988. Sitting idle until 2018, the historic station not long ago had 12 feet of water in its basement, ceiling tiles in disarray, broken windows, and was an eyesore to the Motor City. No longer is that the case, after Ford Motor purchased the building and 30 acres of surrounding land. In a USA Today article published earlier this month, Ford’s CEO Bill Ford said this of the station: “We want this to go from being a national punchline to a national treasure … It will be cool.” Ford’s $1 billion investment in the Michigan Central Station isn’t a “trip down memory lane,” rather it’s about the future. “We’re going to use this as a place to test new ideas and concepts. It will be about drones, robots, and more,” the 64-year-old executive explained. The 113-year-old auto company expects to reopen the station in 2023 to provide office space for engineers and software developers. An old book depository next to the station opens this summer. Other companies and entrepreneurs are being attracted to the area including Google, which “will help train high school students and others for high-tech jobs,” reports USA Today on February 16. The State of Michigan is investing $126 million in this public-private endeavor. “A public wireless in-road charging system – the first in the nation – for electric vehicles” will be built by Electreon (Wireless Ltd.) near the station, said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Restaurants, hotel space, and an area for weddings are also planned, reports USA Today.

Seeking N.C. Board Members -– Are you a passenger rail advocate from North Carolina, and do you have time every other month to attend a board meeting of the Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains (CAPT)? “Two people are needed to represent the Tar Heel State on our board of directors. With Zoom, it’s never been easier to attend our meetings,” President Martin Wheeler says.

The next board meeting is March 19 in Greensboro. Other 2022 board meetings are in Raleigh (May 21); Myrtle Beach (July 16); Fayetteville (September 17), and Charlotte (November 19). While all CAPT members and board members are encouraged to attend meetings in person, the Zoom option is there if you’re nervous about in-person gatherings or find traveling to meetings inconvenient or too time-consuming. “Ideas, thinking, discussion, and action about rail issues in both Carolinas are what truly matters,” concluded Wheeler.

Interested applicants are urged to contact any board member or Martin Wheeler (; call (704) 763-7599, or write 5541 Prosperity View Dr., Charlotte, NC 28269.

Seated RPA Council Members -– Two CAPT board members, Dr. David Robinson (North Carolina) and Don Yehle (South Carolina), are seated members to the Council of Representatives of the Rail Passengers Association (RPA), representing their respective states. Additionally, there are 10 “at large” positions to the Council that will vote on March 29. Nominees for “at large” positions must submit applications by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, March 14. The Council of Representatives is an all-volunteer body made up of active rail passenger advocates from across the United States.

“This year the RPA is reordering its meeting schedule to have Day-on-the-Hill on Wednesday, March 30, and the business meeting on Tuesday, March 29,” it's reported. The final schedule and arrangement are pending for Rail Nation Spring-2022.