FROM THE CAB - May 2022

By Martin Wheeler, President

ALL ABOARD THE PIEDMONT -- Martin Wheeler, president of the Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains (CAPT), leads a contingent of organization members on Piedmont train #74 traveling from Charlotte to Raleigh on Saturday, May 21. Members will participate in CAPT’s three-hour May board meeting scheduled for the Morgan Street Food Hall at The Pit located at 328 W. Davie St., Raleigh, NC, beginning at 2 p.m.

Rick Harnish, executive director of the High Speed Rail Association, will make a “zoom” presentation during the meeting. While specifics of Harnish’s presentation are unknown, it is known his organization of passenger rail advocates has been pushing “the California State Assembly to approve $4.2 billion in funds for the state’s high-speed rail project” to connect Los Angeles with San Francisco.

Passenger rail issues in both North and South Carolina are to be discussed at the bi-monthly meeting, as well. Jim Frierson, South Carolina vice president for CAPT, will be making remarks following his participation in the Rail Passenger’s Association annual spring meeting in Alexandria, Virginia.

CHARLOTTE WESTERN RAILROAD -- Rail operations began this month on 13 miles of track in North Carolina. While Charlotte Western won’t be serving passenger rail customers, it’s trains will have access to tracks of Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX, both “passenger rail” host railroads.

Jaguar Transport Holdings, which owns Charlotte Western, is also leasing 13 miles of track from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and intends to partner with NCDOT on a new multicommodity and multimodal transload facility at a rail-served warehouse the company acquired.

NEW PRESIDENT AT NORFOLK SOUTHERN -- A host railroad for passenger rail, Norfolk Southern, has a new president. His name is Alan Shaw, who intends to hire the conductors needed to “restore service to meet customers’ expected level of service quality.” Norfolk Southern wants to “compete and win in the $800 billion truck and logistics market by being customer-centric and operations-driven,” Shaw reportedly told Norfolk Southern employees. Let’s hope Norfolk Southern keeps in mind the needs of rail passengers who travel on its tracks.

MYRTLE BEACH -– CAPT board members and other passenger rail advocates may want to consider spending the weekend of July 15-17 in Myrtle Beach. While vacationing along the Grand Strand Coast, you can also take in the association’s mid-summer board meeting on Saturday, July 16. More details to follow.

HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO AMTRAK -– With summer vacation season upon us, it’s time to ride the rails. Or, if a rail vacation isn’t in your summer plans, view the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to Amtrak” for a list and description of useful tools for tracking the progress of Amtrak trains. You’ll learn how to connect with Julie, Amtrak’s automated agent; or how to access Amtrak web information, or ASM text or email alerts on any train’s progress. Station status boards and Amtrak train status archives as well as interactive maps are available, too.

SIGN OF THE TIMES David Robinson, North Carolina vice president to the Carolina Association for Passenger Trains, extends a personal invitation to CAPT board members, all dues paying association members, and prospective members to “zoom into” the May 21 CAPT board meeting. Start time is 2:30 p.m. Eastern.

Click Here To Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 827 6565 9162
Passcode: 821413