Martin Wheeler, Ralph Messera, John Bobinyec, Ed Locklin, Bob Bischoff, Don Stewart, and Phil Astwood
The minutes from the November meeting in Landrum were distributed by email to members of the Board. As most members had received the information, Phil Astwood read highlights of those minutes including the election results. All Board members up for reelection: Ralph Messera, Bill Cole, Jim Frierson, Phil Astwood, John Bobinyec, Gene Kirkland and Martin Wheeler were reelected. It appeared that Art Peterson was no longer interested in remaining on the Board so Don Yahle was elected to take his place. All officers were reelected with the exception of Jim Frierson who did not wish to continue as South Carolina Vice Pesident so Don Yehle was elected to that position. After minor corrections, the minutes were approved as corrected.
Due to illness, Gene Kirkland was unable to attend the meeting. Martin Wheeler pointed out that dues for many organizations have risen and perhaps we might consider that as well. Also we still need to collect dues. Ralph was willing to send out bills if given the list and the postage was paid for. It was clear that Gene has too much to do and the job needs to be spread among more people. Martin determined that our IRS standing has not been revoked, but we have not sent requested reports recently.
Charlotte-Atlanta High-Speed Rail Update:
Martin - Most of this was covered last time. Georgia DOT should make a decision on this soon. There was some doubt about how this will be funded. A public-private partnership?
NCDOT Rail Plan Update:
The questionairre is still available. Martin will send a link. At our next meeting we can look at David's suggestions. At this meeting there was considerable disucussion about the future of the Asheville, the Rutherford and other lines as the coal business declines. This may affect future passenger rail choices.
David Robinson sent a report which Martin read. The main points were: 1. CAPT needs to monitor the activties of NCDOT as Allan Paul retires. 2. David is confortable with the way things are going at NCOT. 3. CAPT needs to reconsider and expand the way it promotes passenger rail. 4. Promote local business around train stations. 5. David has created a new website 'trainvisitors.com' that provides information of train times, station stops, etc. John asked if NCOT has any corporate or organization members. Several solutions were proposed. We'll ask David to discuss this at the next meeting.
Phil said there was nothing new that was not discussed earlier during presentation of the secretary's report. Don Yehle was not present, but asked Martin to say we need to be more proactive about resolutions. There needs to be more direct contact with the communities along routes. Yehle is the SC rep to RPA. Don listed some personal goals in which he would like CAPT to join: 1. Improved signage at North Charleston station, 2. Challenge SCDOT to establish a passenger rail office, 3. Build support for state-supported trains in SC, 4. Encourage SC to be more proactive about purchasing abandoned rail rights-of-way, 5. Establish volunteer station attendants, 5. Encourage attendance at the "Rail Day On The Hill" in late March and early April.
Next Meeting in Fayetteville:
Arrive by 11 finish by 4 with an hour for lunch. Randy Hume, transit director, will give a tour of the station.
Allan Paul Memo:
There are several possible scenarios for a 5th frequency, but it will not be added until the Gateway station is complete. Anticipating tight scheduling in NYC, it will probably be necessary to change the schedule of the Carolinian; perhaps a 6:30 AM departure southbound. All will depend on Amtrak's plans. He has also suggested a northbound Carolinian daparture one hour later from Charlotte.
Reports from Officers and Directors:
Martin reported that starting Feb 3 the Blue Line travel time will be speeded up at least a couple of minutes and later the '10 mph station approach time' will be improved. The 15 mph limit at Newburn will be increased to 25 mph. Track work at the Charlotte station is moving along well. When it is complete NS will allow the already completed maintainance center to open. Final completion of the station still looks to be in 2023 or 2024.
Future Meetings: Suggested:
Fayetteville - March 21
Charleston - May 16
Raleigh - July 18
Columbia - September 19
Charlotte - November 21