Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains
Board Meeting
Richland County Library, Columbia, SC
June 12, 2010 Open - 2:27 P.M.
Present: Martin Wheeler, Jim Frierson, Gene Kirkland, Bob Bischoff, Ed Locklin, John Bobinyec, David Hill, John Wagner, & Phil Astwood.

Action Items:
  • Gene will send out the reminder letters to those who have not adopted the resolution
  • Phil will send copies of adopted Resolutions to SCDOT, SC House & Senate Comms.
  • Phil will write a draft of the cover letter for this mailing and send it to Jim & Martin
  • Jim will e-mail Phil the names of those to receive copies of the adopted Resolution
  • Gene will send copies of the Newsletter to COG Transportation Planners
  • Jim will send Jim names and addresses for the COG Transportation Planners
  • Bob & Martin will have copy of the Sample Service Brochure ready for next meeting
  • Gene will contact the Fayetteville printer about the CAPT brochure
  • Gene will have the Newsletter out this week
1. Secretary's Report - Phil Astwood distributed the minutes of the April 10 meeting via e-mail to Board members and as hardcopy at the meeting. April minutes were approved with a correction in item 8 changing the grant amount from $520 to $520 million.

2. Treasurer's Report - Gene Kirkland reported that as the Association had $7,004.01 in its operating account and continues to hold $6,535 in the CAPT Challenge account for a total of $13,539.01. Gene reported that he keeps a small amount in the checking account (about $500) with the majority of the Association’s funds kept in the ‘money market’ account to increase the amount of interest earned. We should note a $5 service charge for a check that was not ours. The report was approved.

3. Update on Resolution Drive in South Carolina - Phil reported that he printed and sent out ‘Thank you’ letters to the 14 organizations that had adopted our resolution thus far. He also printed up ‘Reminder’ letters and labels for those who have not yet responded. Gene will add a copy of the brochure and a copy of the Resolution to these and mail them. Phil agreed to send copies of resolutions we have received and copies of the brochure to members of the SCDOT Transportation Commission, members of the SC State Senate Transportation Committee, and members of the SC House Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. Jim will e-mail the names and addresses to Phil. At Gene’s request it was suggested that copies of the Newsletter be sent to the transportation planner at each COG and to members of the SCDOT Transportation Committee (Jim will send addresses for these to Gene). Phil and Gene will send copies to Rep. Walt McLeod. Phil will writer a cover letter and send it to Martin & Jim for editing. Jim pointed out that Roy Tolson at the SCDOT was in the TERI program; his TERI employment expired and he was subsequently re-hired as a regular full-time employee. The new governor will appoint a new secretary of transportation in January, 2011. Bob and Martin have prepared a draft of the sample service brochure showing possible service between Charlotte, Columbia and Charleston and Greenville, Columbia and Myrtle Beach. A copy of the brochure will be ready for the next meeting. Martin will check with railroad personnel to estimate travel times and select the best routes. We must be aware that the cooperation of the freight railroads might be difficult to obtain.

4. Status of Efforts to Produce New CAPT Brochure - Gene reports the Fayetteville printer, Gene Hodges, shows that CAPT has a credit of $167.30. The printer is willing to work with us and will give us the artwork he has for a price. Gene will call tomorrow and visit soon to find out what is going on. Martin said it would be OK to deal with this printer if they deal with Gene only. Whether we stay with them will depend on how much materials they have. We can always get an electronic copy of the material and take it elsewhere.

5. Update on CAPT Newsletter and Website - Website John Bobinyec reports the website is working fine. The SC brochure is on now. Newsletter - Gene reports it is almost ready to go. He has some nice pictures of the dedication of the second Piedmont service to include. It will be out in e-mail form on Wednesday. He will print hard copies the same day and have them in the mail in a week. If possible he will include an insert listing all Piedmont equipment. He will continue sending copies of the newsletter to all Amtrak station agents in NC and SC.

6. Update on Rail Developments across the Carolinas including 3rd Charlotte-Raleigh Frequency and new Durham Station - The accident involving train #73 in Mebane, NC on May 13 cast a shadow over the start-up celebration for the new trains, however, all seemed to go well and the event got good press. According to a statement by Allen Paul, ridership on the Carolinian and old Piedmont has not dropped while ridership has increased on the new Piedmont. Overall, recent ridership on the Carolinian has increased by 22% and is up 28% on the old Piedmont. The Piedmont led the whole system in ridership increases probably due in part to a significant decrease in fares for the month of June. As a result of the new schedule, the Piedmont is now crewed out of Raleigh (out and back in one day), and the Carolinian is crewed out of Charlotte (also out and back each day). After the Mebane accident, equipment is problem on the Piedmont. Only two locomotives (City of Asheville & City of Salisbury) are available; repairs on the food service car will not be complete for 5 months and the #10 car will be gone for a month. The train is using Amfleet coaches as substitutes. Three newly rebuilt locomotives are expected in July and August. NCDOT is planning to buy another locomotive from Go Transit in Toronto to replace the one lost in the accident. Once the new locomotives arrive, the two older ones will go back to be rebuilt. The Newsletter will contain pictures of #74 with a mix of cars. An equipment list showing all Piedmont equipment will be included as an insert in the newsletter. The line to Hillsboro is still being planned, but is behind schedule. Lexington is working on a station and the new stop there will come.

7. Amtrak Update - Martin reviewed planned changes to the Sunset that will become daily this fall running from Los Angeles as far as San Antonio and then turning north to follow the Texas Eagle route to Chicago. A connecter will run from San Antonio to New Orleans. Another possible change is for the Lake Shore to split at Toledo (instead of Albany) with the Boston section following the current route and the other section going south through central Ohio and Pennsylvania to New York. A Florida congresswoman who supports restoration of the eastern portion of the Sunset (New Orleans to Jacksonville or Orlando) was told that the line east of New Orleans was not rebuilt to accept passenger speeds after Katrina. Bob Stewart at NARP supports restoration of this train as well. Train Day was played down by NC in favor of opening of the new Piedmont service. Gene said there was a lot of interest in Raleigh and most of the rest of NC, but NCDOT did not do anything to support it. Gene reported rebuilt equipment is beginning to show up, everything is looking better.

8. Reports From Officers and Directors

Ed Locklin – Consider including letters from readers in the Newsletter. The new Piedmont service allows day trips to Spencer using a bus that connects the rail station at Salisbury to Spencer. Information about this connection should be more widely available in the Carolinas. CAPT could help with this.

John Bobinyec – Hearings related to high-speed rail will be held in Raleigh. Among the items to be considered are the location of tracks along Capital Blvd. and whether or not two trains can be at a platform at the same time. Current plans would not allow two trains and that does not seem to make sense.

Bob Bischoff – The Trolley will stop running on the Light Rail line in July though there may be some excursion runs. We are also looking for a new location to run car #85; perhaps on a PN branch in the Belmont area or a PN track near Cedar Street Yard. Trade Street would also be a possibility if the line there is extended.

Martin Wheeler – The planned extensions at CATS are generally on hold even though mostly designed. The 27-mile line from Charlotte to Mooresville is currently estimated to cost $450 million. The NE Light Rail extension to UNCC is expected to cost over a billion dollars. Until sufficient funds are obtained, the line may be extended at least as far as to 9th Street. The ‘Street Car’ proposal was submitted for a $25 million grant for small start-ups. The required match money is available and there is already a mile of track in the street. Construction of the SE and N corridors is a long way off as well as the establishment of Rock Hill and Gastonia routes. The Multimodal Terminal is progressing well now that it has been agreed that Greyhound will sell its old terminal and have funds to build a new one. Now developers must be qualified and an environmental impact statement completed. The new Multimodal terminal will serve all transportation modes except Light Rail.

9. Planning for Future Meetings - Future Meetings: August 14 – Earth Fair Community Room in Asheville (Martin will try to get a speaker), October 9 – Jim will set this up in Myrtle Beach, December 11 – Allen Paul will speak in Raleigh at the Red Hot and Blue Restaurant.

Adjourn - 4:45 P.M.