News Releases

7/10/2017: New Business Opportunities Available Along Gastonia and Mt. Holly Rail Line

New Business Opportunities Available Along Gastonia and Mt. Holly Rail Line

Posted 7/10/2017 3:38:32 PM

NC Rail Division partners with Progressive Rail on preserved freight corridor RALEIGH — Businesses along the Piedmont and Northern rail line now have additional opportunities for freight transport thanks to a new partnership between the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Rail Division and Progressive Rail Incorporated (PGR). “Progressive Rail is aggressively marketing this new line and we are optimistic about them drawing in new business to help continue connecting parts of North Carolina’s economy,” said Allan Paul, acting director of the NCDOT Rail Division. The 14-mile short line corridor, located between Gastonia and Mt. Holly, is part of the 137 miles of former freight line corridors the division has preserved. Recently, after a competitive bid process, Progressive Rail was selected to operate the line. “Progressive Rail is proud to be selected to guide the Piedmont and Northern Railway to a much higher level of focus in building careers, commerce and community involvement for the region we now proudly serve,” said Dave Fellon, owner and president of Progressive Rail. “We look forward to working with the stakeholders in the region to deliver economic and social benefits that can be enjoyed for generations to come.” Established in 1996 and headquartered in Lakeville, Minnesota, Progressive Rail is a shortline railroad with integrated transloading facilities and warehouses, operating several shortlines in Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. PGR focuses on economic development opportunities, including identifying multi-modal transloading and storage facility projects, working with local municipalities and state governments to restore or build new infrastructure, and identifying ways to help enterprises with their logistics needs.  ***NCDOT***
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5/30/2017: Kick-Off Summer Adventures with $5 Kids Fare

Kick-Off Summer Adventures with $5 Kids Fare

Posted 5/30/2017 11:02:56 AM

RALEIGH – Families looking for fun summer adventures can enjoy a special $5 kids fare to travel the rails in North Carolina. From June 1 through Aug. 31, customers can use discount code V626 when booking at NCByTrain.org to take advantage of the one-way $5 fare for up to two children ages 2-12 with the purchase of a regularly priced adult ticket. This offer is valid for travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Terms and conditions apply. Families can hop on board at any of the cities below when traveling NC By Train: Charlotte Kannapolis Salisbury High Point Greensboro Burlington Durham Cary Raleigh Selma Wilson Rocky Mount NC By Train’s Piedmont and Carolinian trains are sponsored by the N.C. Department of Transportation and operated by Amtrak. These trains provide daily service from Raleigh to Charlotte, plus seven additional stops in between.
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12/29/2016: NCDOT Rail Division Reflects on Successful Year

NCDOT Rail Division Reflects on Successful Year

Posted 12/29/2016 3:38:22 PM

RALEIGH – From strengthening freight movement and supporting economic growth throughout the state to taking thousands of football fans to Carolina Panthers games on the Piedmont trains, it has been a busy year for the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Rail Division. “We’ve made great strides toward meeting several of Governor Pat McCrory’s goals for transportation,” Rail Division Director Paul Worley said. “Our progress is essential to facilitating the safe, efficient and cost-effective movement of people and goods on the state’s rail lines.” Major Container Shipping Hub Locating in Edgecombe County In July, Governor McCrory announced that CSX will open an intermodal terminal in Edgecombe County. Known as the Carolina Connector, this critical infrastructure project will bring jobs and economic opportunity to eastern North Carolina and position the state as a leader in enhanced freight movement. The Carolina Connector will transfer containerized cargo between trains and trucks, processing more than 260,000 containers per year initially. Building the facility is expected to create 250 to 300 short-term jobs in engineering, technical services and construction. Conservative estimates indicate the hub is expected to create 1,500 jobs throughout North Carolina as a result of the terminal’s operations. The project received one of the highest scores under Governor McCrory’s Strategic Transportation Investments formula, qualifying it for $100 million in state money for track improvements as well as connecting infrastructure. The hub is expected to open in 2020. Queen City Express Connecting Port of Wilmington and Charlotte Governor McCrory also announced in July the debut of the new Queen City Express, an intermodal rail service between the Port of Wilmington and CSX’s intermodal terminal in Charlotte. CSX will also eventually provide direct access from the Port of Wilmington to the Carolina Connector intermodal terminal in Edgecombe County. The Queen City Express will lower transportation costs for businesses, while taking trucks off the road. Transporting goods by rail reduces congestion and wear and tear on the state’s highways, and improves safety and air quality. One intermodal train can eliminate as many as 280 trucks from the highway. Piedmont Improvement Program Construction Continues All Piedmont Improvement Program (PIP) track and bridge construction projects are now underway, with projects completed in Alamance, Cabarrus, Durham, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Wake counties. To complete the work, the Transportation Department partnered with the North Carolina Railroad Company (the owner of the Raleigh to Charlotte railroad corridor), along with Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation, which are performing the track construction.  "These improvements will ensure more opportunities for businesses and our freight partners," said Worley. "Safety and efficiency on the tracks allow freight railroads to get more goods to communities in our state to bring about job growth and economic development." These projects are largely funded through federal stimulus money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Federal Railroad Administration awarded the state a $546.5 million grant from that program in 2010. A cooperative agreement with the agency specifies that $520 million of the money goes directly to PIP. The rest of the money is helping to improve reliability of existing freight and passenger service from Raleigh to Virginia. North Carolina has nearly 3,300 miles of track used by passenger and freight trains alike. The PIP also benefits Class One railroads, such as Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation. The Piedmont Improvement Program projects include: Thirteen new bridges that will separate traffic from trains and improve safety for motorists; More than 30 miles of new second track along the corridor, making the route between Greensboro and Charlotte fully double track; More than five miles of second track between Raleigh and Greensboro for trains to pass each other; 12 miles of new highway construction; and Selected track construction as part of the Raleigh Union Station. These projects enable closure of 23 public railroad crossings and 22 private crossings, which will eliminate the potential for train and vehicle collisions. All projects are scheduled to be completed by fall of 2017.  More information about the PIP can be found at ncdot.gov/projects/pip/. Carolina Panthers Playoff Run and Piedmont Trains to the Games More than 4,900 football fans hopped on board the “Panthers Trains” during the Carolina Panthers’ 2015-16 season that culminated in an NFC championship. Passengers from Raleigh to Charlotte enjoyed a unique opportunity to travel to home games on board Piedmont trains 73 and 76. The trains departed the Raleigh Amtrak station on gameday mornings to travel to Charlotte, and returned to Raleigh after the games in the evenings. Back by popular demand, the N.C. Department of Transportation and NC By Train are taking fans to and from select games during the 2016-17 season. Tickets can be purchased online at NCbyTrain.org. Enhanced Wi-Fi Service Added to Raleigh-Charlotte Piedmont Train In October, the Rail Division began offering enhanced premium Wi-Fi service onboard the Piedmont trains, which operate between Raleigh and Charlotte. This gives passengers three Wi-Fi options – Bronze, Silver and Gold plans. The 30-minute Bronze plan is included in the purchase of a ticket, with Silver and Gold plans as added options. The tiered Wi-Fi services provide passengers with higher speeds and additional media streaming options, and can be purchased on an hourly basis for occasional riders, as well a monthly fee for regular riders of the Piedmont. Division Director Awarded Order of the Long Leaf Pine On Dec. 20, Rail Division Director Paul Worley was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is one of the highest civilian honors in North Carolina. It is awarded to residents who stand out in their communities and have devoted their lives to serving others. Worley is the longest-serving employee in the division and supervises its day-to-day operations. He was instrumental in recruiting the Carolina Connector intermodal terminal to Edgecombe County and bringing rail service to the Port of Wilmington and Charlotte. Rail Division 2017 Outlook The Rail Division is poised for an even more successful year in 2017. Major milestones are expected to include the complete planning and preliminary engineering on the Carolina Connector, the completion of the Piedmont Improvement Program and a planned addition of a daily passenger round trip between Raleigh and Charlotte, after the Raleigh Union Station is placed in service. ***NCDOT***
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12/15/2016: NCDOT Educating NC Law Enforcement About Railroad Safety

NCDOT Educating NC Law Enforcement About Railroad Safety

Posted 12/15/2016 3:37:56 PM

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Transportation is partnering with the North Carolina Justice Academy to educate law enforcement officers around the state about rail safety. “State rail officials work tirelessly to improve railroad safety and the safety of the communities along the tracks,” Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. “We also want our law enforcement officers to protect themselves and help prevent tragedies on or near railroad property.” Each year, officers attend mandatory continuing education and training to maintain law enforcement certification. Part of the training in 2017 includes a nine-minute training video produced by the department’s BeRailSafe railroad safety outreach program. The video outlines three key issue areas for law enforcement officers: Identifying and using the railroads’ blue emergency notification sign; Enforcing trespassing laws on railroad property; and Staying safe when working on or near the railroad tracks. Railroads are private property, and anyone on railroad property or right-of-way without permission from the railroad company is trespassing. Railroad tracks are an industrial environment that is not safe for walking, biking or taking shortcuts. The only safe and legal place to cross the railroad in a vehicle or on foot is at an authorized railroad crossing. With 30 railroad companies and more than 5,000 miles of railroad tracks, North Carolina is one of the fastest growing rail states in the southeast. BeRailSafe provides free training for all first responders, including police, firefighters and 911 operators around the state to mitigate rail environment dangers and minimize risks on this expanding network. The North Carolina Justice Academy prepares training materials for the two commissions that oversee the training of law enforcement officers throughout the state. This year, more than 30,000 police officers and sheriff’s deputies will watch the BeRailSafe training video, enhancing their knowledge of railroad safety best practices. The safety message in the video is not only for law enforcement. North Carolinians are also encouraged to watch the video on NCDOT’s YouTube channel.
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12/12/2016: NCDOT Celebrates Groundbreaking of Railroad Improvement Project

NCDOT Celebrates Groundbreaking of Railroad Improvement Project

Posted 12/12/2016 3:37:47 PM

COFIELD, N.C. – The N.C. Department of Transportation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Monday, celebrating a significant investment in railway and railroad crossing improvements. “This project is a great example of what North Carolina is doing to increase freight capacity, improve efficiency, and enhance safety on railroads in the state,” Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson said. “It is also a major step toward fulfilling Governor Pat McCrory’s goal of leveraging our infrastructure to create economic development opportunities.” The North Carolina & Virginia Railroad, or NCVA, serves multiple customers and is located in Northampton, Bertie, and Hertford counties, as well as Southampton County, Virginia. The railroad interchanges with CSX Transportation, Inc. at Boykins, Virginia, and runs 52 miles to its largest customer, the Nucor Steel plate mill at Cofield, North Carolina. The railroad is operating at 10 mph over much of its line and is only able to load cars to 270,000 pounds gross weight. This project will allow NCVA to ship rail cars loaded to 286,000 pounds gross weight. State officials noted that increasing freight rail capacity will help reduce the amount of goods that need to be shipped by truck on U.S. 158 and other area roadways. The ceremony, held at Nucor Steel in Hertford County, highlighted how the improvements support industries in the region. “More than 60 percent of the Nucor plant’s annual production ships by rail, which means the upgrading of this line is critical to their operations and their continued ability to compete in today’s global market and support the economy of this area,” continued Tennyson. “Thanks to this project, NCVA will be able to ship heavier loaded rail cars at faster speeds, which is key to serving industries based here and opening the door to new economic opportunities for this region.” Tennyson was joined at the groundbreaking by U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, along with officials from NCVA, Genesee & Wyoming and Nucor Corporation. The $11.6 million project is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2019. The N.C. Department of Transportation secured half of the funding through a federal grant from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program. The balance of the cost is covered by an investment of $3 million from NCVA and $2.8 million of state funds. ***NCDOT***
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