Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains
Board Meeting
Charleston County Library, Charleston, SC
August 9, 2014 Open - 1:10 P.M.
Present: Martin Wheeler, Ed Locklin, Art Peterson, Larry Libater, David Robinson, Bob Bischoff, Jim Frierson. & Phil Astwood.

Secretary's Report - In Phil Astwood’s absence, minutes of the June meeting were taken by Bob Bischoff. These were accepted as mailed with a couple of minor corrections.

Financial Report - Gene Kirkland was working on the train host seminar and was unable to attend. The financial report will be in the mail. Membership remains at 216. There will be a bill for $1,300 coming for reprinting the brochure and each insert. The printers lost some of the photos, others were substituted, and there were some corrections to text.

Update on CAPT fostering creation of an association similar to Virginians for High Speed Rail - This was discussed at Wilmington, but not much has been done since. Martin will talk to Mike Testerman at VARP. Don Stewart was going to work on this as well. .Art pointed out that Virginians for High Speed Rail is designed primarily to work with business and government. Its aim is to strengthen ordinary rail service at the start that will support HSR when it arrives. We should have a similar association in the Carolinas. CAPT is in contact with passengers, we need an organization that could lobby politicians, which CAPT cannot do. David Robinson proposed that our organization needs to be supported by business. There should be one organization for NC and one for SC. In order for legislators to accept rail as a valid means of freight and passenger transportation, “High Speed” should not be part of the title. In addition to business, the organization should involve tourism bureaus, chambers of commerce, and other civic organizations. It needs to highlight the development advantages of current and future rail service. It must be promoted as “modern” and it cannot be a voluntary organization. It needs a paid staff. It also needs a name. Send suggestions to David ( We need to put together ideas for a charter. Consider what sort of organization it will be, who will be members, who will sponsor it? A start is to look at who is a member of VHSR and Midwest HSR. David will be point man for this. He will collect our suggestions, check on VSHR contributors. Martin will send us what he learns from Testerman. This will be just a NC organization to start. David will prepare a letter to membership about this project. We should take an incremental approach, not talk about everything at the same time.

Update on resolution drive in South Carolina in support of expanded rail passenger service - Phil reported that of the 218 packets sent out at the first of the year, 7 resolutions have been received from the Towns of Pacolet, St. Matthews, Hampton, Branchville and Carlisle, the City of Union, and the County of Allendale. The director of the Railroad Museum in Spartanburg assembled an ad hoc group known as the “Passenger Rail Roundtable”. It included several mayors and state representatives, an Amtrak representative and a representative from CAPT. Some of the members came to Columbia in July and met Doug Frate and Rick Wyatt at SCDOT. They were told that all funds are currently needed for bridges and highways and thus it will be hard to get any funding for passenger rail. They plan to prepare a ‘white paper’ to present to the Transportation Commission and the Secretary of Transportation.

Update on recent push by Mayor Benjamin for a Columbia-Charlotte connection to the high speed rail network - Jim has not had a chance to meet with the mayor due in part to the recent ethics scandals, but the mayor is still interested and was going to speak with other mayors along the proposed line. Jim will pursue this.

Discussion on moving Annual Meeting - The bylaws do not specify a particular meeting date and an attorney sees no reason not to change. After considering possible conflicts, the Board decided to move the meetings to the 3rd Saturday of each odd numbered month. The December meeting for 2014 will be omitted and the first meeting of 2015 will be January 17 in Charlotte. The annual meeting will be moved to the 3rd Saturday in November. Art announced that our next meeting is set for October 4 at Red Hot and Blue. Emmy Louie might be able to speak.

Update on CAPT Newsletter and Website Issues - Website – John is still working to set up a payment system through PayPal. He is also updating the minutes on the site. Newsletter – No news.

NC Transit - Martin – Most of the legislative belt tightening might be over. “Rail Report” has an article on train stations and track rebuilding. There is a draft for the new Harrisburg station. Amtrak plans to renovate the Camden station in SC. There is a new secretary of transportation in SC (Janet Oakley). Charleston is going ahead with its plans to build a new multimodal center on the site of the present station. It expects to open in October of 2016. Information at The property at the old site is for sale.

National & State Supported Trains - All states approved the additional support, but Indiana wants to take over its service in 2015.

Reports by Officers and Directors -
  • Ed Locklin - Even though CSX still owns it, Amtrak plans to remodel the Camden station to make it ADA compliant and to replace the roof and the canopy.
  • Martin Wheeler - At the meeting in Greensboro, Meredith Richard talked about progress in VA and possible connection to NC. A study on the feasibility of this connection is underway. Construction continues on the Streetcar line with a start date next summer. CATS will run the service using the vintage cars used before. Phase 2 will extend west and east. They are seeking several grants. Construction may begin in 2017 with completion in 2020. They plan to eventually obtain modern cars. The Blue line right-of-way has been cleared, some streets have been closed. They will start on the bridge at Sugar Creek soon. Some of the work should be visible by the January meeting. Twenty two new cars for the extension should come in soon.
Future Meetings - Dates selected as 3rd Saturday of odd months. Jan 17 – Charlotte, March 21 - Greenville, May 16 – Wilson, July 18 – Salisbury, September 19 – Greensboro, November 21 - Columbia
Adjourn - 4:22