It’s open!

Friday was the official launch of the $1.6 billion Blue Line extension, coinciding with the NCAA Round 1 playoff at the Spectrum Arena.

No pushing!

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15 Responses to It’s open!

  1. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    At 7.5%, the rate that government employee pension funds project they will earn each year, $1.6 billion would generate $120 million annually… enough for a couple million job creating Uber rides….

    Just to confirm, that $1.6 billion included all the operating costs, right? They are also invested and will generate a revenue stream so no additional tax money will be required to subsidize?

    • Fred Stiening says:

      There are figures from $1.2 to 1.6 billion mentioned in the media. What may be included is the additional train sets that were required. Also, the original line built 10 years ago was built with stations to handle two cars only. The extension is designed to handle three cars trains, so they need to go back and expand the existing stations.

      Anthony Foxx, the former mayor of Charlotte approved the funding at DoT while he worked for Barack Obama. Funding for the extension of the 2 mike long streetcar line was approved, and construction is underway. Funding for the new transit center has been approved, which will probably balloon to a $500 million Amtrak Station for 2 Amtrak train a day in each direction, and several NC DOT intrastate trains operated by Amtrak, but subsidized by NCDoT, using recycled cars from Maryland, who needed to unload them so they could buy new double decker passenger cars.

      Just coincidentally, in the video, one of NCDoT trains flies by on the adjacent NS mainline. You can see it is NCDoT because of the color scheme on the locomotive.

      • countess robini says:

        last night we watched what we could find on youtube re the first day of the train’s operation. we found a student from the university of north carolina at charlotte (the last stop of the extension is on the campus of that school) doing a mini news report. she pointed out repeatedly that students with valid id can ride the train for free. i think that a major segment of riders will be unc students going into uptown (a big restaurant/bar/entertainment hub of charlotte) and then riding the train back, seriously blitzed.

        https://youtu.be/UtJUanRPu8w

      • CC1s121LrBGT says:

        Nearly a decade ago, when Obama was President and pushing for high speed rail between Los Angeles and San Francisco so that people would not have to pay $59 for a one hour flight, I clicked on a number of articles about the proposed train.

        Google News never forgets and although I have never lived in California, never plan to, and haven’t visited since Bush was President, I still get a steady stream of articles on the project in my news feed. It included an entertaining one this morning regarding the 10th anniversary of the voters approving the plan in 2008. It did make me laugh. The article’s last sentence sums it up nicely. Enjoy:

        https://www.ocregister.com/2018/03/17/californias-high-speed-gravy-train-is-running-on-empty/

        • Fred Stiening says:

          So here is the test – ask a Silicon Valley worker if they would live in the $900 a month house, and commute an hour a day each way, paying $1,000 a month for a monthly rail ticket.

          People who live in Silicon Valley do so for many reasons, and they make the money to afford it. The people who would ride this train are not Google Engineers, but the person stocking the apples in the employee cafeteria. She already rides BART from Oakland to get to work

          • CC1s121LrBGT says:

            Here is an interesting figure from Bloomberg that is hard to find: “… they (city buses) consume 30 times more fuel than average sized cars…”

            If an Uber is an average sized car and comfortably holds 2 passengers, the city bus would have to be carrying 30 – 60 passengers on its trips to use less fuel than the Uber cars. I almost never see a city bus with 60 passengers. Around here in the burbs they drive buy empty of with fewer people than would fit in a van.

            Now if I can only find similar data for the electric streetcars that clog the streets and create traffic jams.

            Quoted data is from Greenie Bloomberg https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-23/electric-buses-are-hurting-the-oil-industry

            • Fred Stiening says:

              It is common for mass transit advocates to base feasibility and “cars removed from the highway” by assuming based on theoretical capacity rather than real life experience. All the incentives are on the side of wildly optimistic exaggeration.

              Charlotte will never be mass transit friendly because there is no need for it. There is no legacy narrow Street bottleneck carried over from horse and buggy days. People can live near their work if they choose.

              Almost all transit systems suffer from the reality that few people ride after 9 AM or before 4 PM or after 9 PM. Unionized bus drivers do not want to work part time or split shift. In Charlotte, I notice they switch to smaller buses during the midday. More efficient but more capital cost and operational complexity.

      • Fred Stiening says:

        By the way, the new Transit Center being built soon is exactly at the same location of the old Southern RR passenger terminal, that was torn down after Amtrak took over. It was/is adjacent to the Greyhound Bus Terminal. The current Amtrak station is about a mile from uptown, next to the NS rail yard, in a heavily industrial area, very hostile to actually getting there. The New York to New Orleans train arrives around 1:30 in the A.M., and city buses stop running at 11 PM. That will not change after the $500 million Station is completed

        • CC1s121LrBGT says:

          I just checked cost for a one week round trip less than a month from now – April 17-24.

          Two hours each way for $139 or twelve hours each way via Amtrak for $120.

          Kudos to city officials for recognizing that people would rather sleep in and leave home around lunch time.

          https://www.justfly.com/flight/search?currency=usd&num_adults=1&seat_class=Economy&seg0_date=2018-04-17&seg0_from=CLT&seg0_to=NYC&seg1_date=2018-04-17&seg1_from=NYC&seg1_to=CLT&type=roundtrip

          https://tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak

          • Fred Stiening says:

            If you want an even more ugly comparison, look at Charlotte to Chicago. Charlotte was a major hub for US Air, and even more so now that it is merged with American Airlines. Last Time I checked, there are 14 non-stop flights a day with a flight time a little over an hour.

            With Amtrak, there are three basic options. Go North to either Washington DC, Philadelphia or New York, then hang around a train station for 8 or more hours. The schedules have to have huge layover times in case a train is running four hours late (not uncommon). Best case is about a 24 hour trip.

            The train from NYC to Charlotte during the day is relatively new, as are the trains to/from Raleigh. The heart of Amtrak (outside the Northeast Corridor) is Chicago. Most of the long distance trains run once a day, wedged in between the 100 or so commuter trains that monopolize the former freight lines through the city. They have to mostly leave about the same time to make connections possible. Their contracts with the railroads that own the tracks have a window during which the Amtrak trains push aside commerce and have priority. If they miss those windows, the trains to/from the west coast can get as late as 24 hours late, especially if someone decides to go around the crossing gates.

            • CC1s121LrBGT says:

              Time for what’s old is new again?

              Long distance train rides are most popular among retirees with time to spare. I’ve heard such good things about scenery on the Amtrak rides over the Rockies in winter that that has been on my bucket list for decades.

              Maybe it is time again to add a passenger car to the long distance freight trains. With texting, seniors could easily be notified when the train is running several hours late.

              By the way, Route 27 through Central NJ is called Lincoln Highway. It runs by the Amtrak line from DC to NYC and had been lined with people to see the train carrying the corpse of President Lincoln on its way back to Illinois.

              There is an interesting photo of the train in this PDF file : http://www.nj.gov/state/historical/it-happened-here/ihhnj-er-lincoln.pdf

            • Fred Stiening says:

              And Mennonites. There is a 24/7 camera on YouTube at La Plata, Missouri. The highlight of the day for most people in the chat is the once a day appearance of the Sunset limited. The train to Chicago frequently has local Mennonites boarding.

              https://youtu.be/l06NXHeXIs8

              Be warned that Virtual Railfan has about 5 pages of rules that will get you warned / banned. The admins probably used to be AOL Guides. One of the rules is to not draw attention to people on the platform and what they are wearing or doing.

        • Parrott says:

          Classic Politburo planning,
          Roanoke Virginia has fancy new daily Amtrak service to Mordor (DC) and beyond. The city planners just put a nice roof over a concrete block platform. Not even a Amshack. No where to park either. No dedicated parking lot, they want you to walk there to catch the train.
          I wouldn’t leave my car there either. A friend of mine had his Toyota 4runner stolen, taken on a wild mudbog drive to Ohio. PoPo found it in two days, arrested the guys. It was three months to get it back and fixed.
          Nah I will drive to Bedford or Lynchburg to catch the train.
          Old N&W station is still there and a restored, O winston Link museum in Roanoke. Beautiful station, They would have just had to put the escalators back in to take people down to track level. But I don’t think they wanted the bums back in that nice station.
          With the concrete Am-block platform, you just hose it off.
          parrott

  2. CC1s121LrBGT says:

    Agreed. The high speed rail is another Dem project to get more people dependent on government and grow government jobs.

    The apple stockers can live in Oakland and not need a car. If they were to lengthen their commute and find a place in Gilroy or Merced among the Almond orchards of the central valley, they would need to buy a car.

    Maybe this needs to be sold as a way to take Raiders fans to the football stadium, whether they play in SoCal or the Bay Area. 😉

  3. Fred Stiening says:

    Another little detail – unlike the parking deck at the South end of the line that has free parking for the commuters from South Carolina, the new parking garages will have a currently unspecified charge. UNCC students who want to park on campus have a $450 a year parking fee. Since UNCC students ride free, ticket enforcement will be minimal

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