Carolinas Association for Passenger Trains
Board Meeting
via Zoom
November 21, 2020 1:00 PM

Present: Martin Wheeler, David Robinson, John Bobinyec, Bob Bischof, Don Stewart, Ed Locklin, Jim Frierson, Ralph Messera, Harry Clapp and Phil Astwood

Treasurer's Report: Ralph Messera met with Gene Kirkland to receive the treasurer’s records and sign over the bank account at BB&T. The account currently contains $315. Ralph would like a bit more time to consider the Cheddar system to collect dues and will meet with David Robinson to discuss it. David believes it might be a safer system than PayPal and suggested that Ralph could discuss that at the January meeting. In the meantime it is assumed that Ralph will begin to collect dues at the current rate. Martin Wheeler suggested that we begin with all dues being paid on a calendar year basis. We will discuss this with Ralph at the next meeting. John Bobinyec was going to work on the membership list, but Ralph has a file of addresses from Gene which interestingly includes NCDOT and NCRR which used to pay dues.

Disposition of Outdated Financial Records: Ralph said most of this is just junk, but he will need the Board’s approval to dispose of it.

CAPT Dues Restructuring Proposal: David had suggested that we consider if the dues should be raised, but thought we should try to collect as many as possible this year at the current rate.

Secretary's Report: Portions of the secretary’s report for the September meeting were sent via email prior to the meeting, but these were not received by all. A complete version of the minutes will be sent to each member after this meeting and will be considered for approval at the next meeting.

Update on Newsletter and Website: Martin and Don Yehle have been discussing the future of the newsletter. Don is willing to serve as editor of a short (one page) monthly letter. Martin will assist. Don Stewart suggested that we include material from the Louisiana Rail Passengers Assoc. newsletter which Don S. feels is well written and informative about Amtrak issues. Their editor is willing to share it with us. Don S. also suggested we ask Allen Paul to serve as a guest writer. It was the consensus that a newsletter is important to maintain membership and some felt that it should be a hard copy.

Election of Officers and Directors for 2020: If everyone stays on, we will still have a vacancy since Gene Kirkland has resigned. Martin suggested Don Stewart, but Don said we really need to seek younger members. Ed Locklin suggested we consider Malcolm Kenton if he now lives in this area. The Board members currently up for reelection are: Bob Bischof, Leon DeBaer, Ed Locklin and David Robinson. All four were reelected, but we will check with Leon to make sure he wishes to continue. We need to officially thank Gene for his service. Ed so moved and Bob seconded it. Phil will write a letter. We will search for a replacement for Gene. All officers will remain in office and Ralph Messera will replace Gene as permanent treasurer. We currently have 3 members of the Board from SC and 9 from NC, so we need to look for more folks from SC.

Update on News in NC and SC Affecting Transit and Rail Passenger Service: Jim reported that they are still working on the Assembly St. rerouting or grade separation in Columbia. He will try to keep up with what is happening. They are considering 6 options, but not all options work well with a future multi-modal station that the mayor would like to see built in Columbia. (Jim said more here, but I was unable to understand him. If Jim or anyone else can supply more of this, let me know and I’ll put it in). Martin reported that Don Yehle is very interested in trying to beef up SC rail planning. Perhaps a first step could be working on the preservation of rail rights of way. It was suggested that one might start by talking with Doug Frate at SCDOT. (Once again Jim provided some information here that I could not understand). Bill Cole and others reported that trains 74 and 75 will restart on Dec 14 (perhaps earlier) with a regular schedule. Ridership on 76 at the moment is very good. Piedmont equipment will probably be back replacing the Amtrak equipment. They are running 5 car trains to allow for the spread out seating. Recent rain flooded the Charlotte tunnel, the station and parts of the parking lot. The hosting program is on indefinite hold. Work is still going forward on the Gateway station. The Silver line (CATS light rail) is going to make this more complicated. And if P&N becomes a commuter line the necessary tunnels will add to the complication. The Carolinian is keeping the best on-time schedule is years.

Consideration of 501c3 Status: This has been inactive long enough so that it will need to be reestablished. That cost $1,000 last time. The advantage is that dues and contributions can be deducted. Lack of such status allows lobbying.

Reports from Officers and Directors: Don Stewart – No progress has been made on the Raleigh to Fayetteville service. They have not selected a route or made a decision on the type of service. Martin - CATS ridership now is extremely low. Trains run on a Saturday schedule most of the time. Service is slowed by track and signal issues that are not being fixed. Gold line street car service is very close to getting started. Martin hopes to transfer over when the street cars get started. The target date for that is March. They have 5 new street cars all tested and ready to go. The cars are hybrids that can run on overhead wire or batteries. John Bobinyec - Cary is considering moving the station or building a new intermodal station about 1/4 mile from the current station.

Planning for Future Meetings: Next Zoom meeting will be January 16, the third Saturday in January.

Adjourn 2:35