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10/31/2007



Rail News: Passenger Rail

North Carolina Railroad to explore cost of adding Goldsboro-to-Greensboro commuter track



North Carolina Railroad Co. (NCRR) execs want to know what it'd cost to build track for commuter rush-hour rail service on the railway's existing line from Goldsboro to Greensboro. So, they recently hired engineering firm HNTB Corp. to conduct a study to help them find out.

"Morning and afternoon commuter trains have potential for significant energy, safety, and environmental benefits, but there are major questions that should be answered about the costs and compatibility with future freight and passenger train traffic," said NCRR President Scott Saylor in a prepared statement. "This study, for the first time, will show us the upfront costs for additional tracks, bridges and other infrastructure that would be necessary for the different uses to co-exist on the same line."

HNTB will be assisted by Woodside Group Inc., which develops capacity models for rail operations, and EcoScience Corp., which offers expertise in the evaluation of environmental requirements for railroad tracks and bridges. Norfolk Southern Railway, which has a long-term agreement with NCRR to serve North Carolina freight customers, also will participate in the study.

The study won't include estimates for ridership or operating costs. It will be based on adding four commuter trains in the morning and evening rush hours and one midday train to the existing traffic. It'll take nine months and cost $400,000 to complete.

A private railroad owned by the state of North Carolina, NCCR manages a 317-mile rail corridor with primarily a single rail line from the Morehead City Port through the Triangle and Triad to Charlotte. The corridor is used by more than 70 freight trains and eight passenger trains daily.

NCRR will share study results with communities, universities, chambers of commerce, and various public and transportation-related organizations along the corridor.


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