Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains
Board Meeting
Queen City Q Restaurant, Charlotte, NC
November 18, 2017 Open - 12:20 PM

Present - Martin Wheeler, Jim Frierson, Bob Bischoff, Ed Locklin, Gene Kirkland, John Bobinyec, Bill Cole, David Robinson, Roger Diedrich and Don Stewart.

Martin welcomed everyone and asked that we go around the table and introduce ourselves which was done. He then described the tour of the Blue Line light rail extension in Charlotte that we may take after today’s meeting

Secretary's Report - In Phil's absence, Martin read the minutes from the previous meeting held on September 16, 2017 in Columbia, SC. Jim suggested several corrections to the minutes regarding the titles of a couple of guests who were in attendance. Motion was passed to accept the minutes with those corrections. Jim agreed to make the corrections and forward the revised minutes on to Phil Astwood.

Treasurer's Report - Treasurer Gene Kirkland gave the Treasurer’s Report covering the period September 15 thru November 17, 2017. He noted that CAPT now has 188 members.

Election of Officers and Directors for 2018 – Martin read the names of those who were up for re-election. Those board members were: Ralph Messera, John Bobinyec, Bill Cole and John Stein; officers whose terms were expiring were: Martin Wheeler, Art Peterson, Jim Frierson, Phil Astwood and Gene Kirkland. Motion was made and passed unanimously to re-affirm all current officers and another motion was made and passed unanimously to re-appoint board members whose terms have expired pending agreement by them to serve upon being contacted by the CAPT president.

Update on resolution drive in South Carolina - Martin noted that Jim has agreed to give Phil a list of new members of the SC Legislature who are on the house and senate committees that deal with rail transportation. Jim said that the SC Legislature will reconvene in early January 2018. He said that some committee members may be new but that most will likely remain the same as before.

Martin observed that a pressing issue in SC concerned the old rail line into downtown Charleston and the group that supports converting it into a pedestrian/bikeway/greenway rather than allowing it to be preserved for a future commuter rail line into the peninsula. Jim told Martin to continue to contact Jeff Burns, who is with the local council of governments, in order to keep abreast of what happens with regard to this issue.

Update on CAPT fostering creation of an association similar to Virginians for High Speed Rail - David Robinson addressed this issue. He recommended that there be a separate organization for each state (NC and SC) and that the organizations be run like a business much like the Virginia organization. He felt that there should be persons representing various interests such as industry, business, academia, etc.

David also talked about the best way to get people to use passenger rail service and he said that “just because we used to have service in a location is not sufficient reason to continue it there.”

There followed more discussion as to whether or not there should be some type of “umbrella-type organization” with oversight responsibilities for two separate (NC and SC) rail organizations.

Don suggested the idea of contacting an organization such as a statewide chamber of commerce that could work to garner support for passenger rail. David said that he thought this was a good idea and he would follow up on it by our next meeting. It was noted that the chamber could work closely with the “umbrella organization”.

Update on news in North Carolina and South Carolina affecting transit and rail passenger service - Gene talked about the third frequency for Raleigh and about problems there with passenger boardings and connections for two different trains (#80 and #92) arriving in Raleigh. It was mentioned that these problems should be alleviated when the new station is completed in that city.

Martin discussed the possibilities of rail service at the new Gateway Intermodal Center in Charlotte and he noted that Greyhound wants only to come into the center and load and unload passengers but not do any type of maintenance at that location.

He remarked that the Aberdeen, Carolina and Western Railroad is now closer to being relocated in the North Davidson (NoDa) part of Charlotte.

Update on CAPT newsletter and website - John said that “we” are still working on the website. With regard to the newsletter, Gene stated that he had difficulty in opening a file that Jim sent containing an article and photos for publishing. John suggested to Gene that the file be sent to him and he would try to open it.

Amtrak Update - Martin made the observation that if Amtrak’s budget stays the same, “they will not survive.” This was in reference to the unwillingness of Congress to authorize more funding for Amtrak.

Martin informed the members that the new Brightline service in south Florida is being threatened by safety-related legislation introduced in the Florida Legislature.

Reports by Officers and Directors - t was mentioned that the National Association for Railroad Passengers (NARP) reportedly has a new name. It is now the Railroad Passengers Association or RPA.

Martin said that still being discussed is the possibility of extending Carolinian service to New Haven, Connecticut.

Planning for Future Meetings - Discussion of future meetings resulted in establishing the following schedule for 2018:

January – Burlington, NC
March – Charleston, SC
May – Raleigh, NC
July – Charlotte, NC
September – Landrum, SC
November – Durham, NC

Exact dates will be published on the CAPT website in the near future. Precise locations will be determined at a later date.

Adjourn - 1:49 PM

Members and guests who could do so were invited to board several member’s cars for a “windshield tour” to see the progress made to date on the extension of the Lynx Blue Line corridor from uptown Charlotte to the UNCC campus.