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My (kinda) Annual KAN-SAL Points Run


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#1 VentureForth

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 04:13 PM

This Winter, I took my sort of annual Winter Points Run from Kannapolis to Salisbury for $12 and ... whoa! WHAT?? 24 points??? First time I've ridden since they got rid of the 100 point minimum. Grrr.....

Anyway, this year I had the opportunity to take my whole family - wife, three kids, son in law, his mom, brother, sister in law and their kid, my two grand kids. Whew! 12 of us total (10 paying).

It was an uneventful trip with an early arrival into Kannapolis translating into an on time departure. Stayed at track speed nearly the entire way to SAL and arrived promptly at 12:45 pm. We walked up to Koco Java and enjoyed many lattes, frappes and other enjoyables. From there we walked down to the Emporium consignment shop and spent the next 45 minutes window shopping. Very fun place.

We arrived back at SAL a bit after 2 PM and were ready for the return trip to commence at 2:15 PM. Unfortunately, just East of the Spencer shops, there were some signaling issues that brought everything to a standstill. It wasn't until 3 PM that our train - all this time sitting just a mere 2 miles away - would arrive at the station. Once arrived, we all boarded en masse and returned to Kannapolis, 17 minutes away.

Here are some rumors and stories that I picked up on this little journey -

1) The old grumpy NC State Employee (Marie? Maria?) who treated the KAN station as her personal Amtrak haven recently retired. She was replaced with a quite pleasant woman who also "needs" to see everyone's ticket but does it much nicer.

2) There is talk of adding a 4th Piedmont to the route! Don't know when it'll be in the day but it shows that the state feels like this rail travel thing is a great investment.

3) Kannapolis around the station is booming. What used to be the old Canon Mills factory which was razed several years ago has become a sprawling medical research center. Sadly, the old, classic, run down Village is being replaced. The replacements though will come with slick new, modern brick facilities, incorporating the old bricktown look into a modern landscape. The Kannapolis Intimidators will find a new home walking distance from the train station, and classics like the Gem Theater will continue to stay. Empty businesses will be replaced with new eateries, multi-level loft-style apartments, and modern recreational facilities. In other words, the City of Kannapolis is investing in the future and Amtrak is smack in the middle of it all!

4) No one is talking about a train to Asheville. Sorry.

5) The North Carolina Transportation Museum at the former Spencer shops is BOOMING with business, including Fall specials, the Polar Express (Sold out every run this year) and more daily "experience" trains (the short runs around the shops). The Polar Express was so popular this year that they are going to add interpretive programs to lure in school groups in the future.

6) Oh yeah - the double tracking that they finished between Charlotte and Raleigh is freakin' awesome!

Railfans still look to Central North Carolina as a popular destination - whether from across the country or from one stop away. Having family there gives me the excuse I need to get to visit periodically. But really, for only 24 points? Hrmph! ;)

14,223 Amtrak Miles. Many more to go.
Completed Routes: Capitol Limited, Palmetto
Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#2 Bob Dylan

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 05:27 PM

Nice update on things Rail in the Tar Heel State!😉

Too bad there's no talk (and action) about a train to Lovely Asheville, a Wonderful place to visit!😎

Seconded re the AGR2.0 Points Reduction!😣
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay




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