FROM THE CAB - November 2022

By Martin Wheeler, President

NEW RAIL SERVICE IN NE NORTH CAROLINA? -- Potential new rail passenger service in northeastern North Carolina along the Weldon-Suffolk-Norfolk corridor is apparently more in vogue lately. D.J. Stadler, Executive Director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, checked in on the issue recently in a virtual conference sponsored by Virginians for High-Speed Rail.

When asked if the service on the corridor was on their radar screen, Stadler responded: "Yes, but not before 2030. The possibility will open up with increased ridership. We want to get to the point that Norfolk passengers don't have to go north to go south. Weldon and Suffolk would be possible stops."

North Carolina is currently studying service between Raleigh and Greenville and has also indicated interest in looking at a Norfolk to Raleigh corridor. 2030 is the target date for operations of the R2R line between Petersburg and Raleigh with maximum speeds reaching 110 mph. After that service is operating more attention could go to further service extensions.

NEW RAIL CORRIDOR BETWEEN FLORENCE AND MYRTLE BEACH? -– CAPT will be meeting with Myrtle Beach and Horry County government representatives later this month. Economic Development and Travel and Tourism interests will also be on hand for an afternoon meeting at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot.

CAPT President Martin Wheeler recently spent a week in the area spreading the word about creating a new rail corridor between Florence and Myrtle Beach via Marion, Mullins, and Conway using tracks owned by RJ Corman and Horry County.

Construction of new sections of track would also be needed between Conway and Mullins, and Mullins and Pee Dee. CAPT South Carolina Vice-President Jim Frierson will also represent CAPT at the Myrtle Beach meeting.

CAPT Officers, Directors, Members, and Interested Guests:
You are invited to the Annual Meeting.

The meeting will be held from 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, preceded by brunch at 10:30 am at Big Ben Pub. The meeting location is 1535 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28204. Restaurant phone number is 704- 817-9697. Web address is The meeting will also be virtual. Please note Zoom information to link to the meeting is:

Persons arriving via Amtrak's Piedmont #73 at 9:40 am and departing via Amtrak's Piedmont #76 at 3:15 pm will be provided transportation assistance to and from the train station. If travelling by train, please let us know so we can plan for this.

OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS TO BE ELECTED -- At the November 19 meeting, directors and officers of our railroad advocacy organization will be elected to one-year and two -year terms, respectively. The Carolina Association for Passenger Trains (CAPT) board consists of 12 to 18 members, based on the percentage of CAPT members in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Members interested in running for the board should contact any present board member and provide biographical information to be considered or be prepared to provide this information in person at the November 19 meeting, said President Wheeler.

Current directors who are ending a term of two years should notify Secretary Phil Astwood at if the intention is to run again. Those who do not notify the Secretary or appear at the meeting will not be considered. The current CAPT board serves as the official Nominating Committee, the president added.

FRIERSON JOINS RPA COUNCIL OF REPRESENTATIVES -– Two CAPT board members serve on the Rail Passengers Association’s (RPA) Council of Representatives. Jim Frierson was recently elected as South Carolina’s representative, while Dr. David Robinson represents North Carolina on the 112-member council.

For those unfamiliar with RPA, the organization’s “Council of Representatives provides the essential link that unites local and national efforts into effective advocacy for passenger trains and transit.”

Up to 10 ‘at large’ representatives also serve with the following responsibilities:

  • Represent local needs, issues, and activities at the national level.
  • Help formulate national policies through participation in the Association’s committees.
  • Implement these policies by working at the grass roots level.

Frierson is a longtime South Carolina Department of Transportation employee who has attended four RPA meetings. Jim joined the RPA in October 2021.

RAIL USERS NETWORK WELCOMES CAPT PRESIDENT -- CAPT President Martin Wheeler participated in the Rail Users Network virtual rail conference on October 29th. Various speakers from across the Southeast updated the audience on status and planning for rail passenger service in the region.

Wheeler noted: “It was encouraging to see all the work going on to further a more balanced and efficient transportation system in the region. Many lessons to be learned that will assist us all in our efforts!"

Video links to recordings and materials from the conference are available below. This link is the full folder, and includes the PDF versions of Power Points we were sent to the conference moderator.

Video Presentation Only

Remember that this will not stream from Google Drive and may only be downloaded. It may at some point be allowed to view from drive but that usually takes some time to happen if the size is within allowable parameters. The final file is just a shade under 2 GB.

Audio Only

Chat Room Text Messages

ADVOCACY IDEAS FROM OTHER STATES -- It’s often helpful to learn from other passenger rail advocates. Tod K. Bassler, president of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance (IPRA), agreed and following From the Cab’s request submitted the article below detailing three passenger rail activities in the Hoosier State. The activities are:

First, IPRA is excited to announce that Steven Coxhead, recent past President of IPRA, has been appointed to fill the long vacated Private Sector Appointment seat to the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC). This will give IPRA an active voice in regional passenger rail activities.

The MIPRC Annual Meeting this month is being held in Indianapolis, November 16-18, 2022. This will make it easier for representatives from IPRA and Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association (NIPRA) to attend this very important meeting.

Five IPRA members attending are Liz Solberg, Mike Ditto, Steven Coxhead, Phillip Streby, and Tod Bassler. Four NIPRA members attending are Betsy Kachmar, Jeff Paddock, Jack Daniel, and Fred Lanahan. “We will want to see some actionable results from this gathering,” Bassler emphasized.

Finally, some members from IPRA and NIPRA will be meeting on Wednesday, November 16th with Representative Sharon Negele (R-Merrillville, District 13), Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and the Indiana Governor’s Office to discuss the future of passenger rail in Indiana. While very good work is currently being completed to improve the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s (NICTD) South Shore Line in northwest Indiana, the remainder of Indiana is past ready for improved passenger rail service. We will be publishing updates on our website and social media.