Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains
Board Meeting
Charleston County Public Library, Charleston, SC
September 17, 2016 Open: 2:20 PM
Prior to today’s meeting, those CAPT members who could make it, met at the Amtrak Station in North Charleston at 11:00 a.m. to hear a presentation from Jeff Burns, planning manager at CARTA. He gave a very informative talk on the new intermodal facility that will be built on the site of the old Amtrak Station. Jeff noted that construction is now slated to begin around the first part of November, 2016.

Present: Martin Wheeler, Ed Locklin, Jim Frierson, Bob Bischoff, Gene Kirkland, Ralph Messera, Larry Libater, and William Hamilton.

Martin Wheeler welcomed everyone and suggested that members around the table introduce themselves and all did so including a visitor, William Hamilton. Martin noted that two CAPT members had recently passed away: Jim McBride and Dick Peacock.

Secretary's Report: Martin said that our secretary, Phil Astwood, was unable to attend today’s meeting so he dispensed with the reading of minutes from the last meeting and asked if there had been any corrections. He was told there were a couple of minor corrections. Motion was made, seconded and passed approving the minutes with the stipulation that Martin inform Phil of the corrections.

Treasurer's Report: Gene handed out copies of the Financial Report for July 8 thru September 15, 2016. The starting balance was $2,283.47. Expenses for this period were $404.17 and income was $100.00 leaving a closing balance of $1,979.30. Gene told the members that he would be sending out renewal notices.

Update on resolution drive in South Carolina in support of expanded rail passenger service: Martin noted that 222 packets of information had been mailed out by Phil. So far, we have received signed resolutions from Easley, Chesnee, Summerville, Batesburg-Leesville, Chester, Norway, and Barnwell and Fairfield Counties. Phil has sent each a thank you letter from CAPT.

Update on CAPT fostering creation of an association similar to Virginians for High Speed Rail: Martin said that there was nothing new to report on this.

Update on news in North Carolina and South Carolina affecting transit and passenger rail: The CATS Blue Line Extension will be completed perhaps by December, 2017, Martin told the members.

Update on CAPT newsletter and website issues: There was nothing new to report on Paypal or other issues.

Amtrak update: It was mentioned that Wick Moorman, formerly with Norfolk Southern Corp., is the new CEO and president of Amtrak. Amtrak may produce a new national magazine to replace what they currently have. Gene informed the members that the Raleigh Amtrak Station is not completed but that “digging” (excavations) are completed at the site. Ed passed around photos of the new Amtrak dining cars. Jim read an article about Amtrak’s receiving a $2.4 billion loan to replace aging Acela trains with new equipment. Some of this loan will also be used to upgrade stations including those in New York and Washington. The article mentioned that the current 20 Acela trains are nearing the end of their useful life. It was stated that this is the largest loan in the history of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The new trains will be built by Alstom at their plant in New York State. Finally, Gene noted that Fayetteville is trying to get its baseball stadium located near their new Amtrak station.

Reports by Officers and Directors: Gene said that there will be Piedmont service from Raleigh to Charlotte for Carolina Panthers games but service will NOT go directly to the Bank of America football stadium. He reminded everyone that the Carolinian will once again provide daily service to the NC State Fair during the period of October 13-23, 2016. Jim informed the members that Frank Ezell, the chairman of the SC Passenger Rail Consortium and a founder and board member of the Blue Ridge Railroad Association in SC, had passed away in August, 2016.

Planning for future meetings: Martin discussed upcoming CAPT meetings and their locations. Jim said that he would set up the meeting in Columbia on November 19th.

Adjourn: 4:06 PM