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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

North Carolina DOT continues to plug away on incremental HSR plans


The high-speed stimulus applications are in and the Federal Railroad Administration has said it’s not announcing grant recipients until early next year. So, what are state departments of transportation doing in the interim?

Folks at the North Carolina DOT, for one, first worked to mentally and physically recover from the laborious application process (“It was a real stress,” says NCDOT Rail Division Director Patrick Simmons). Now, the department is continuing to work on its long list of projects to incrementally increase train speeds between Raleigh, N.C., and Richmond, Va.

“We took a few days off, then picked things up where they were left off,” says Simmons.

Last week, the agency completed its Draft Final Tier II Environmental Impact Statement for a segment between Raleigh and Richmond.

“We have that document ready for final review and will give it to the FRA as their Thanksgiving present,” says Simmons. “We’re on target to be in the public arena and community working with all agencies of record early next year.”

NCDOT also is working to introduce mid-day service between Raleigh and Charlotte by spring 2010. Doing so will require “a lot of work,” says Simmons, but the biggest roadblock right now is the lack of locomotive power.

“We’re having some locomotives remanufactured for service and when they come out of the shop we’ll be ready to go,” he says. “Meanwhile, we’ve had rail cars remanufactured and they are coming in on schedule.”

Angela Cotey

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/13/2009