Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains
Board Meeting
Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum, Aiken, SC
August 10, 2013 Open - 3:10 P.M.
Present: Martin Wheeler, Jim Frierson, Bob Bischoff, David Hill, Ralph Messera & Phil Astwood.

Action Items:
    Phil will write a new cover letter for the SC brochure mailing and send it to Martin & Jim
    Phil will mail SC brochures, inserts, and resolutions to cities and counties near rail lines
    Gene will send copies of the CAPT brochure to John Wagner and the Spartanburg museum
    Martin will send out information about the General Membership meeting in Asheville

  1. Secretary's Report - Bob Bischoff read the minutes he had taken at the June meeting in Selma, NC. These had been typed up and mailed to Board members earlier. The minutes were approved with minor spelling corrections

  2. Treasurer's Report - Gene Kirkland was unable to attend and mailed a copy of his report. The opening balance on June 6, 2013 was $10,337.59. Expenses were $215 for marketing design, $92 for postage & $21.24 for meeting notices. Interest income was $1.48 giving a closing balance on August 7 of $10,010.83. As of that date the association had 217 members.

  3. Recent legislative news from the NC General Assembly and Amtrak funding for state supported trains - Ralph presented a chart explaining the final recommendations from the Board of Transportation for scoring all types of transportation projects in North Carolina. For the purpose of scoring, projects were divided into 8 divisions: Highway, Aviation, Bicycle & Pedestrian, Ferry, Public Transit (Expansion), Public Transit (Facilities), Public Transit (Fixed Guideways), Rail (Track & Structures), and Rail (Freight Intermodal Facilities/Intercity Passenger Service & Stations). Within each of these divisions, where appropriate, scoring was divided into three categories: Statewide Mobility, Regional Impact and Division Needs. Scoring was then weighted to represent the impact of quantitative data on the score compared with the impact of public input. In most cases, local input represented from 30% to 50% of the score. In a final breakdown, the quantitative portion of the score was shown to be based on a variety of factors appropriate to each category. These factors were items such as safety, congestion, economic development & cost/benefit analysis. Finally, the Board of Transportation made an overall recommendation that funding for the various divisions (highway, aviation, rail, etc.) be weighted such that a minimum of 90% of the funding went to the highway division and a minimum of 4% went to non-highway divisions. This system will be used to appropriate approximately $16 billion in expected revenue to be spent on transportation in North Carolina over the next 10 years.

    Amtrak is going to require states to pay an increased portion of the cost of state-supported trains. Some states have agreed to the increase, but Virginia is the only state so far to sign an agreement In NC this will be a $3 million increase for the Carolinian and the Piedmonts. Pennsylvania and Indiana are having similar problems with their state trains.

    The next double-tracking contract should be let soon for the area north of Kannapolis. The project to separate the NS and CSX in downtown Charlotte will probably be canceled. ADM (the milling company) and CSX have both increased their funding requests for the project. Since this is stimulus money, it is important that a decision be made quickly so that the money might go to other projects if this one cannot be completed by the 2017 deadline.

  4. Update on news in SC and NC affecting transit and rail passenger service - Jim said there was nothing new in SC. As mentioned in earlier meetings, the plans CARTA had to build a new multimodal station have been nixed by CSX. The current plan is to use money from the sale of the proposed station’s property to remodel the current Amtrak station. They may not be able to do this if they are not allowed to retain the funds from sale of the land. David attended a public information meeting concerning high speed rail routes in the Carolinas and Georgia. There was no formal presentation, but a great deal of information was distributed on paper. All of the information is available at:

    Martin and Bob went to a similar meeting in Charlotte which was well attended. There was some discussion of a downtown multimodal station in Atlanta. Jim said the SC statewide mutimodal study is expected to be complete this fall. They are still taking input. The study can be found at

  5. Update on Resolution Drive in South Carolina in support of expanded rail passenger service - We had delayed sending out information until Anthony Foxx was confirmed as US Secretary of Transportation. Now that Foxx is in place, Phil will write a new cover letter indicating that this is a particularly opportune time to take action. He will alter the existing letter and send it to Martin and Jim for approval. Jim also added a list of members of the SC Senate Transportation Committee and the House Education and Public Works Committee. He will send this to Martin and Gene also. Each recipient will get a cover letter, a copy of the SC brochure, both inserts and a copy of the resolution.

  6. Update on recent push by a Central Midlands coalition for a Columbia-Charlotte connection to the high speed rail network - Martin wrote to Mayor Benjamin of Columbia but has not received a reply.

  7. Discussion of way to distribute the CAPT brochure featuring maps of present and possible future rail passenger service - We have found that the brochure cannot be sent to SC welcome centers but is acceptable at NC centers. Brochures have been distributed to libraries, chambers of commerce, etc. After the SC brochure project is complete, perhaps we should undertake a comprehensive mailing of brochures to all places that will accept them. Gene will send some to the museum in Spartanburg and some to John Wagner

  8. Update on CAPT Newsletter and Website issues - Website – All OK. John Bobinyec says he needs information from Gene’s data base in order to explore online payment of dues. We need to have a better reminder system for those who do not pay dues. Newsletter – Martin is trying to correspond with Malcolm and Ross at NARP about finding someone to produce our newsletter. The problem is that no one outside the organization can compile information for us and we do not have the time. We need a reporter to investigate Carolina issues and write them up.

  9. Amtrak Update - Oregon DOT revealed 2 new 13-car Talgo train sets manufactured in Wisconsin and owned by the State of Oregon. The Raleigh station project seems to have lost $15 million. The double tracking project is costing more than expected and the $15 million will go there. Perhaps it will be replaced by some of the money not used for the downtown Charlotte crossing project. Several anti-Amtrak bills were defeated in Congress. There is once again an effort to get the states to pay a portion of the cost of the long distance trains that pass through. October 1 is the start of the new fiscal year, without any congressional action Amtrak will operate under a continuing resolution meaning nothing will change right away. The FRA has released information on the testing of Amtrak’s new diesel and electric locomotives. In a recent press conference, new US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx stressed that he plans to build on former Secretary LaHood’s policy of diverse transportation development focusing not only on roads but on strong intermodal connections. Attention should be given to the mode of transportation most important to each region. There should not be an “either-or” approach but a “both-and” strategy. He also reiterated US DOT’s commitment to high speed rail. The NC state fair is October 18-27. The train will stop at the State Fair and at the Lexington Barbecue Festival on October 26. The Charlotte Gateway Station team met to discuss the project. Work continues of the Trade Street street car line. The Blue Line extension has broken ground.

  10. Reports by Officers and Directors -
    • Bob Bischoff - Presently no funding is available to build track for the Charlotte Trolley. Number 85 is still in storage. The Jamaica cars and old Charleston cars are still available but not in good condition. Some might have been built by Thomas who could be approached for funding due to heritage connection. (Sorry, could not hear some of this).
  11. Planning for Future Meetings - Future Meetings: October 12 – Asheville (General membership), December 14 – Columbia
Adjourn - 4:35 PM