Piedmont Joy Ride -- Where to turn

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by MARC Rider, Apr 22, 2019.

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  1. Apr 22, 2019 #1

    MARC Rider

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    Now that I have time on my hand, I'm thinking of sampling some train rides that I haven't had a chance to do. A Piedmont joy ride would be a 3 day trip for me. Day one: Down to Raleigh on the Carlolinian, stay at a downtown hotel. Day 2, a ride on the Piedmont out and back to Raleigh. Day 3, return home on the Carolinian. Looking at the schedule, I can take a train at either 6:30 Am or 10 AM. !0 AM sounds more like my style.This gets into Durham at 10:23, Greensboro at 11:33 or Charlotte at 1:10 PM There's a return trip to Raleigh that leave Charlotte at 10:30 AM (obviously too early) Greenboro at 12:03 PM (OK, but only a 30 minute cushion) and Durham at 1:03 PM. There's a later train that I would probably prefer to take that leave Charlotte at 3:15 PM, Greensboro at 4:48 PM and Durham at 5:48 PM, arriving at Raleigh at 6:26 PM.

    The question would be, which place would be most interesting to do my turn? If I went to Charlotte, I would have 2 hours to kill, at Greensboro, 30 minutes or 5 hours to kill, depending on which train, and Durham an hour and a half or 6 hours+ to kill. There may also be some other places to tuen such as Salisbury or High Point, etc. So I'd be interested in interesting station architecture, good places to eat, and interesting sights that can be accessed by walking, local bus, or Uber/taxi.
     
  2. Apr 23, 2019 #2

    crescent-zephyr

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    Greensboro and High Point are both really neat, historic, stations. The Greensboro station is downtown with many restaurants close by. High Point is a smaller station, but lovely. It's downtown High Point but not a lot close by that I can remember.

    Of course Salisbury is a short taxi ride away from the Spencer Shops / North Carolina Transportation Museum.

    If you're traveling specifically to ride the Piedmont train, seems a shame if you don't go at least as far as Greensboro.

    Charlotte is about as un-charming as an Amtrak station gets and it's a taxi/ uber ride away from anything downtown. But if you wanted to, you could catch an Uber ride to the "Lynx" light rail station and go for a joy ride on it. Pretty neat little system.
     
  3. Apr 23, 2019 #3

    crescent-zephyr

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    By the way... The Piedmont Coaches are old Heritage coaches. They are, imho, the most comfortable coaches in the Amtrak system. The combine lounge / baggage cars are pretty cool to see as well.
     
  4. Apr 23, 2019 #4

    Bronzeman

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    Greensboro would be my choice. Natty Greene’s brew pub it a block and a half from the station. When you return be sure to check out the map of the Southern System over the arch leading to the train concourse.
     
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  5. Apr 23, 2019 #5

    Seaboard92

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    My favorite stop on the route is Salisbury. It’s a quaint Southern town with plenty of antique shops and small shops near he station. May I recommend Emma’s for lunch it’s about five blocks from the station. Great food in a small little house. And of course you can take a taxi to the NC Transportation Museum which is one of the better train museums in the country. Across the street is the Little Choo Choo shop as well. The station set in the Smithsonian is based on the Salisbury Amtrak station FYI.
     
  6. Apr 23, 2019 #6

    John Bobinyec

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    If station architecture is one of your top priorities, then you'll be kicking yourself if you miss Greensboro. The station was restored in its original classic form. It is, without a doubt, the grandest classic station in NC, that's still in use. Durham is a repurposed tobacco warehouse. Raleigh is a repurposed steel warehouse. High Point is very nice and was refurbished as well, but it's not as grand as Greensboro. Salisbury is grand but it's not in service. You can only see it from the outside.

    If you go to Greensboro, you can go upstairs (to track level) where the bus waiting rooms are. From there you can watch the trains.

    jb
     
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  7. Apr 23, 2019 #7

    John Bobinyec

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    And by the way, 30 minutes is not enough of a cushion if you want to turn at Greensboro. Oftentimes, the eastbounds and westbounds meet at the station. If that happens you'll never make it down into the station to see it.

    jb
     
  8. Apr 23, 2019 #8

    John Bobinyec

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    If you decide to go to Greensboro on the right day, you could stop in at the Carolina Model RR Club. It's upstairs from the station and is the westernmost building of the station complex. I think it's the old REA building. On display there, if I recall correctly, is the bell of engine 1102 which was the subject of the ballad "The Wreck of Old 97".

    If you're a history buff, Greensboro is the site of the Greensboro sit-ins.

    jb
     
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  9. Apr 24, 2019 #9

    Palmland

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    With the frequency of the Piedmont’s, you could do a lot in one day and see the best of the stations, as Crescent-zephyr describes. Take the Carolinian to the end of the line- Charlotte and work back. Over nite there and sleep in or ride Lynx before catching the 10:30 Piemont to Salisbury. Spend most of the day exploring the excellent N.C. Transportation museum (including a ride on their train) - check their hours of operation. Then hop on the 4pm Piedmont to Greensboro to see that great station and enjoy dinner in one of the good restaurants there. Finally take the 8pm to Raleigh for the night. The next morning check out that new station and ride either the Carolinian or Silver Star back home (splurge on a roomette?)
     
  10. Apr 24, 2019 #10

    John Bobinyec

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    That plan sounds like a good one. It will perhaps require a "taxi" ride to/from the hotel in Charlotte and also between Salisbury station and the transportation museum.

    jb
     
  11. Apr 24, 2019 #11

    Seaboard92

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    One other thing you can do in Charlotte is ride the CityLynx basically a 1.5 mile free streetcar service in Charlotte. Currently it’s running with replica Birney streetcars but those are scheduled to be replaced in the next year to modern Siemens S70 trains. It’s free, unique, and will change before you can get back. Speaking of which I need to go photograph it.
     
  12. Apr 25, 2019 #12

    manchacrr

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    I highly recommend getting off at Salisbury and taking the short taxi ride to the NC Museum of Transportation! It's one of the largest transportation museums in the country and it offers train rides around the museum aboard vintage equipment. It is housed in the Southern Railway's former Spencer Shops.

    A great schedule for this turn:
    Piedmont #77: Depart Raleigh @ 10:00 AM - Arrive Salisbury @ 12:23 PM
    Piedmont #78: Depart Salisbury @ 7:41 PM - Arrive Raleigh @ 10:10 PM
     
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  13. Apr 25, 2019 #13

    crescent-zephyr

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    I love the Spencer shops but if station architecture is the goal, Greensboro is really hard to beat. Having good places to eat in downtown Greensboro is also a plus.

    Also, I didn’t know about the lynx gold line that seaboard mentioned, that would probably be my choice since it won’t be around for long and would be neat to see.
    (Anytime a historic streetcar is used in moder day transit I’m interested!)
     
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  14. Apr 25, 2019 #14

    Seaboard92

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    Her is what I would do for your routing. Take the Carolinian down to Charlotte instead of Raleigh on day 1.
    Day 2
    DP: 10:30 AM on Train No. 74 from Charlotte.
    AR: 11:11 AM in Salisbury. Go visit the North Carolina Transportation museum. Get lunch at Emma’s of Salisbury.
    DP: 3:56 PM on Train No. 76 from Salisbury.
    AR: 4:48 PM in Greensboro. Enjoy getting dinner and seeing Greensboro.
    DP: 8:33 PM on Train No. 78 from Greensboro.
    AR: 10:10 PM into Raleigh.

    Day 3 I would take the Silver Star because it runs with Amfleet IIs whereas the Carolinian runs with Amfleet I cars.

    The Gold Line isn’t quite historic as I want to say the replicas were built in the 1990s its days are numbered.
     
  15. Apr 26, 2019 #15

    Railroad Bill

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    Thanks for all this information. You have inspired me to take this Piedmont Joy Ride soon. More Amtrak bucket list trains to ride and some great stations and scenery along the way.
     
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  16. May 17, 2019 #16

    Seaboard92

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    The replica vintage street cars last day of service is June 2nd. This is also in effect for the entire Gold Line for 18 months. When the line is reopened it will use modern Siemans trains and the route will be extended.
     
  17. May 17, 2019 #17

    MARC Rider

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    This sounds like a good plan. One question, though. If I go all the way to Charlotte and ride back to Raleigh on my joy ride day, I will have my suitcase with me. Even though it's only a load for 2 nights, it would still be a pain to lug around the NC Transportation Museum and Greensboro. Do the Piedmonts have checked baggage? Then I could just check my bag through to Raleigh when I leave Charlotte and pick it up when I finally arrive? If they have baggage, will they check it through to raliegh on the basis of 3 tickets (Charlotte-Salisbury, Salisbury - Greensboro, Greensboro -- Raleigh.)?
     
  18. May 17, 2019 #18

    John Bobinyec

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    Yes. I can't answer the other question.

    jb
     

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