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Construction of Roanoke Amtrak Platform

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Dumb question but are they going to take advantage of any old school train stations to service this new line (assuming any exist), or are they just building a glorified bus stop next to the tracks?

They don't build bus stop horrors like Sanderson, TX, Middletown, PA, Tyrone, PA, or Mount Joy, PA any more. (Actually, there are a startlingly large number of these substandard stations in Pennsylvania, on both Amtrak and SEPTA.)

 

Roanoke is a high-level platform with a full canopy, lighting, and benches. Ramp and stair access. I think of it as a "modern halt". If they end up with too many people they might build an indoor waiting room, but honestly, I don't care. I'm happy with a nice level-boarding platform with a full canopy, lighting, and benches; it's what an awful lot of train stations worldwide look like.

Edited by neroden

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Slight correction to neroden's post:

 

Sanderson,TX had a Wooden SP Depot that was torn down several years ago.

 

All that is there for the Flag Stop now is a crumbling cement platform with weeds growing through it!

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Will there be any intermediate stops between Lynchburg and Roanoke?

 

jb

No.

 

 

I see. When I was visiting relatives down in Smith Mountain Lake last year, I found a local paper or newspaper that stated some wanted Amtrak to have a stop at Bedford, VA, for the Roanoke expansion of the NE Regional train beyond Lynchburg. I guess that's only been floated as an idea by some locals who live near there, but that Virginia Department of Transportation hasn't committed to doing that?

 

It stinks the departure from Roanoke northeast to DC and points beyond will be something like 6am or 6:20, but that's better than having no rail service. Reminds me of Grand Rapids, MI, where it's only train going west to Chicago leaves GR at 6am. I survived, when once I took the train from Chicago to Saint Louis that left at 7am!

Edited by dogbert617

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Will there be any intermediate stops between Lynchburg and Roanoke?

 

jb

No.

 

 

I see. When I was visiting relatives down in Smith Mountain Lake last year, I found a local paper or newspaper that stated some wanted Amtrak to have a stop at Bedford, VA, for the Roanoke expansion of the NE Regional train beyond Lynchburg. I guess that's only been floated as an idea by some locals who live near there, but that Virginia Department of Transportation hasn't committed to doing that?

 

It stinks the departure from Roanoke northeast to DC and points beyond will be something like 6am or 6:20, but that's better than having no rail service. Reminds me of Grand Rapids, MI, where it's only train going west to Chicago leaves GR at 6am. I survived, when once I took the train from Chicago to Saint Louis that left at 7am!

 

 

People in Bedford want (restored) Amtrak service, but they haven't been able to convince people that they have the population or attractions - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedford_station_(Virginia)

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Will there be any intermediate stops between Lynchburg and Roanoke?

 

jb

No.

 

 

I see. When I was visiting relatives down in Smith Mountain Lake last year, I found a local paper or newspaper that stated some wanted Amtrak to have a stop at Bedford, VA, for the Roanoke expansion of the NE Regional train beyond Lynchburg. I guess that's only been floated as an idea by some locals who live near there, but that Virginia Department of Transportation hasn't committed to doing that?

 

It stinks the departure from Roanoke northeast to DC and points beyond will be something like 6am or 6:20, but that's better than having no rail service. Reminds me of Grand Rapids, MI, where it's only train going west to Chicago leaves GR at 6am. I survived, when once I took the train from Chicago to Saint Louis that left at 7am!

 

 

People in Bedford want (restored) Amtrak service, but they haven't been able to convince people that they have the population or attractions - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedford_station_(Virginia)

 

Gotcha. I guess it's up to convincing Amtrak and also Virginia Department of Transporation, that the ridership would be there to support a station. Hopefully that happens, down the road.

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Will there be any intermediate stops between Lynchburg and Roanoke?

 

jb

No.

I see. When I was visiting relatives down in Smith Mountain Lake last year, I found a local paper or newspaper that stated some wanted Amtrak to have a stop at Bedford, VA, for the Roanoke expansion of the NE Regional train beyond Lynchburg. I guess that's only been floated as an idea by some locals who live near there, but that Virginia Department of Transportation hasn't committed to doing that?

 

It stinks the departure from Roanoke northeast to DC and points beyond will be something like 6am or 6:20, but that's better than having no rail service. Reminds me of Grand Rapids, MI, where it's only train going west to Chicago leaves GR at 6am. I survived, when once I took the train from Chicago to Saint Louis that left at 7am!

People in Bedford want (restored) Amtrak service, but they haven't been able to convince people that they have the population or attractions - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedford_station_(Virginia)

Gotcha. I guess it's up to convincing Amtrak and also Virginia Department of Transporation, that the ridership would be there to support a station. Hopefully that happens, down the road.
Yeah, a station may be a good idea, however there are other areas even in-state that are more in need of a stop. One example is Suffolk, which is along the Norfolk Branch. It has a population of 87,000, compared to only 6,000 in Bedford. Edited by brianpmcdonnell17

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Speculation: The opening date of service to Roanoke seems to be very conservative. Some one near there should give up dates on the station construction which is progressing ahead of schedule.. The T&E crews have been receiving qualification runs. Are they all qualified yet ? Could it be that VA DOT may have in mind to begin service earlier than announced date if all the project items are complete ? When does VA FY begin as that might have some bearing on start - up ?

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Virginia I believe runs on two year budget cycles starting on the 1st of July of each even numbered year and ending on 30th of June two years after the start year. But I am sure Anderson will correct me if I am wrong.

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Will there be any intermediate stops between Lynchburg and Roanoke?

 

jb

No.

I see. When I was visiting relatives down in Smith Mountain Lake last year, I found a local paper or newspaper that stated some wanted Amtrak to have a stop at Bedford, VA, for the Roanoke expansion of the NE Regional train beyond Lynchburg. I guess that's only been floated as an idea by some locals who live near there, but that Virginia Department of Transportation hasn't committed to doing that?

 

It stinks the departure from Roanoke northeast to DC and points beyond will be something like 6am or 6:20, but that's better than having no rail service. Reminds me of Grand Rapids, MI, where it's only train going west to Chicago leaves GR at 6am. I survived, when once I took the train from Chicago to Saint Louis that left at 7am!

People in Bedford want (restored) Amtrak service, but they haven't been able to convince people that they have the population or attractions - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedford_station_(Virginia)

Gotcha. I guess it's up to convincing Amtrak and also Virginia Department of Transporation, that the ridership would be there to support a station. Hopefully that happens, down the road.
Yeah, a station may be a good idea, however there are other areas even in-state that are more in need of a stop. One example is Suffolk, which is along the Norfolk Branch. It has a population of 87,000, compared to only 6,000 in Bedford.

 

I always forget Suffolk doesn't have a stop. I don't disagree that potentially there could be other places in Virginia where adding a station or 2(i.e. Suffolk), would be a good idea. Still, you have to remember for Bedford that a lot of people do vacation into the Smith Mountain Lake area. And for sure that'd help the ridership numbers for Bedford, if a stop is ever added there. Never mind that I assume it'd be an early morning stop going north to DC and northeastern cities onward, but that the average person could live with that!

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Pure speculation ---- ignoring the equipment shortage for VA DOT to get a second train to Roanoke. Either use a Regional train that terminates at Richmond, extend to Petersburg then N&W (NS) to Lynchburg and Roanoke. Another possibility would be take a Norfolk regional train and split at RVR or Petersburg and go N&W (NS) to Roanoke. As an added benefit schedule Norfolk O&Ds so connections to / from Norfolk could go to Roanoke ? Gives Lynchburg another connection to WASH - NEC .

This avoids VA DOT having to get another RT slot over Long Bridge ?

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Pure speculation ---- ignoring the equipment shortage for VA DOT to get a second train to Roanoke. Either use a Regional train that terminates at Richmond, extend to Petersburg then N&W (NS) to Lynchburg and Roanoke. Another possibility would be take a Norfolk regional train and split at RVR or Petersburg and go N&W (NS) to Roanoke. As an added benefit schedule Norfolk O&Ds so connections to / from Norfolk could go to Roanoke ? Gives Lynchburg another connection to WASH - NEC .

This avoids VA DOT having to get another RT slot over Long Bridge ?

VA actually already has another slot, IIRC. Per an ancient conversation with Kevin Page, there's an extra slot "in the mix". In theory that's supposed to be a slot to Richmond (I specifically remember dartboarding the idea of extending the Vermonter given when it's supposed to be for, but that ran into problems with VA and VT getting into a tug-of-war over who would get the credits for long-haul travel and pay for the improvements to get the train to Montreal).

 

As to Norfolk-Roanoke/Richmond-Roanoke? That was basically your Hilltopper/Mountaineer schedule back in the 1970s (one schedule was basically 66/67 sent to PTB, turned west, and run until it met up with the Cardinal; the other was, in fact, a split of the Cardinal running to Norfolk).

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Bristol is in the plans, but in general there are two issues:

(1) Bristol itself is not big enough to support a train. Knoxville might be, but time becomes a serious issue. Feeder buses are another question, too.

 

 

I don't know much about how Amtrak factors population centers into their decisions, but ...

  • Roanoke MSA (metropolitan statistical area) population, according to a quick google is in the 300,000 range.
  • Tri-Cities TN CSA (combined statistical area) population (of which Bristol is a part) is over 500,000, and Bristol is ~90 minutes from Asheville, N.C., an MSA of another 500,000 people. The Bristol train station is in Bristol VA just feet from the state line, and the beautiful Bristol VA/TN sign (maybe you've seen it in the Geico commercial).
  • Knoxville MSA is over a million population.

Virginia doesn't stop at Roanoke, y'all.

 

Additionally, I board the Silver Star in S.C. at 2am for my Florida trips, a 3.5 hr drive from my home. I have to leave the house at 3am for many flights that depart 5am-6am. We put up with the ridiculous requirements for air already, so why not rail.

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Bristol is in the plans, but in general there are two issues:

(1) Bristol itself is not big enough to support a train. Knoxville might be, but time becomes a serious issue. Feeder buses are another question, too.

 

 

I don't know much about how Amtrak factors population centers into their decisions, but ...

  • Roanoke MSA (metropolitan statistical area) population, according to a quick google is in the 300,000 range.
  • Tri-Cities TN CSA (combined statistical area) population (of which Bristol is a part) is over 500,000, and Bristol is ~90 minutes from Asheville, N.C., an MSA of another 500,000 people. The Bristol train station is in Bristol VA just feet from the state line, and the beautiful Bristol VA/TN sign (maybe you've seen it in the Geico commercial).
  • Knoxville MSA is over a million population.

Virginia doesn't stop at Roanoke, y'all.

 

Additionally, I board the Silver Star in S.C. at 2am for my Florida trips, a 3.5 hr drive from my home. I have to leave the house at 3am for many flights that depart 5am-6am. We put up with the ridiculous requirements for air already, so why not rail.

 

The Roanoke MSA is #160 according to Wikipedia. The Kingsport-Bristol MSA is #162. Adding Johnson City to the CSA increases things, but at that point you might as well add Lynchburg to Roanoke. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas

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Would it be feasible, from an infrastructure standpoint, to create a connection route between Roanoke and either the Crescent or Cardinal route (or both)?

 

Or would that be redundant, given that both the Cardinal and Crescent go to WAS, as does the Northeast Regional?

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@WestBerkeleyFlats

I don't know how familiar you are with Northeast Tennessee, but there isn't one person who divides the Tri-Cities of Johnson City / Kingsport / Bristol into separate entities for any reason except for taxes and public services. Bristol, Johnson City, and Kingsport are each separated by only about 20 miles, far less if you count corridor annexation, and there are no geographical barriers such as mountains between them. You can't say the same for Roanoke and Lynchburg, which are 50+ miles apart and have this lovely range called the Blue Ridge between them.

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Would it be feasible, from an infrastructure standpoint, to create a connection route between Roanoke and either the Crescent or Cardinal route (or both)?

 

Or would that be redundant, given that both the Cardinal and Crescent go to WAS, as does the Northeast Regional?

It would be redundant. From Roanoke, change trains in Lynchburg for the Cardinal to the south; change trains in Charlottesville for the Cardinal to the west. It may be worthwhile tweaking the schedule to make these connections more possible, but nothing more.

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