Martin Wheeler, Ed Locklin, Jim Frierson, Bob Bischoff, John Bobinyec.
Our secretary, Phil Astwood, was unable to attend today’s meeting so Martin read the minutes from the last meeting and asked if there were any corrections. There were a couple of minor corrections. Motion was made, seconded and passed approving the minutes with the stipulation that since Jim had taken the September 17, 2016 minutes, he would make the corrections and forward a revised version of the minutes to Phil and John.
Since our treasurer, Gene Kirkland, was not in attendance, there was no report. However, Martin informed everyone that a financial report will be sent via e-mail and by regular mail for those who do not have e-mail.
Election of Officers and Directors for 2017: All oficers currently serving were reappointed for another year. All other board members continued into the second year of their two-year terms.
Update on resolution drive in South Carolina in support of expanded rail passenger service:
Phil sent a report to Martin which stated that, on August 16th, he had mailed 222 packets to 130 mayors, 46 county council chairs and 46 clerks to council. In a memo dated November 15th, Phil reiterated that he has received a total of 10 signed resolutions from the cities/towns of Easley, Chesnee, Batesburg-Leesville, Chester, Norway, Conway, Little Mountain and Cross Hill. The total also includes resolutions from the counties of Fairfield and Barnwell. Each of these local governments has received a ‘thank you’ letter from CAPT. Including the signed resolutions we have received from our previous mailings, we now have a total of 30. Since no major cities exccept Charleston and Columbia have yet submitted resolutions to CAPT, it was agreed that six or sevenother major cities in SC would be sent letters, along with the CAPT brochure, again in order to motivate them to submit resolutions. Phil will be faxed a sample letter to re-send to these “select” cities.
Update on news in North Carolina and South Carolina affecting transit and passenger rail:
Martin gave information on the following: The Raleigh Amtrak Station is expected to be completed in November, 2017. Charleston, SC voters approved a ½ cent sales tax increase which will help fund a bus rapid transit (BRT) system, among other improvements, for that region. Greensboro, NC will be receiving funds to make renovations to its Amtrak Station with work to be completed within a year. September 2017 is now the proposed timeframe for completion of the Blue Line Extension in Charlotte, NC. CATS’ new North Yard is now being used for the storage of extra cars for the LYNX service. Twenty of the twenty-two cars ordered have been received. Station platforms are being lengthened to three-car lengths and there are eleven more such platforms remaining to be done. Six Siemens cars have been ordered for the Charlotte streetcar line. An extension of this line may go out to Johnson C. Smith University. Finally, Martin stated that reports concerning the Gateway Intermodal Center being on hold was “just talk”.
Bob reported that Charlotte’s trolley (Car #85) and another trolley are both now at Spencer (NC Transportation Museum) but are not being utilized. He also noted that the former Charlotte Trolley Museum is open on a limited basis for viewing.
Jim briefly mentioned the Southeast Regional Rail Plan Study meeting that was held in Columbia in September. He said that attendance was by invitation only and he did not attend. Jim said that Rick Wyatt, SCDOT’s rail program manager, did attend to represent SC. Jim promised that he would keep up with future meetings of the study’s Stakeholder Advisory Group and pass along information to the CAPT membership.
Ed spoke about the diner car service on the Crescent and said he noted that, on a recent trip to New York, there were four attendants providing service. He also passed around the table photographs comparing the interior of the new Crescent diner with the Crescent’s older diner.
Update on CAPT newsletter and website issues:
John noted that he is still working on the CAPT website. There was nothing to report on the newsletter.
Ed asked about the Cardinal and the Sunset Limited going to a daily schedule. It was noted that Amtrak’s recorded earnings are in for 2016 and are already a great increase over the previous year. A new Amtrak magazine is out now and is called The National. It is on-board all Amtrak trains and is available in seat-back pockets.
Reports by Officers and Directors:
Everyone agreed that all officers and directors had already given their reports under other updates during the meeting.
Planning for future meetings:
There followed a discussion of upcoming CAPT meetings and their locations. A tentative schedule of meeting dates and locations for 2017 and the first two meetings of 2018 were discussed and agreed upon as follows: