Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Excursion Plans

I have watch a lot of trains but it has been years since I have taken one, except for light rail in Charlotte, NC and in Boston, MA. It is time to do an out and back. I will begin in Hamlet, NC and travel to Cary. Cary is an exchange point between the CSX and NS. I will take Amtrak's Silver Star and will transfer to the Piedmont, coming from Raleigh. I will turn around in Greensboro. My first thought was to take the Star to Raleigh and the Piedmont to Charlotte. Several factors caused me to settle on this itinerary. The Charlotte station in on the edge of the Norfolk Southern yard, therefore not a very easy location to watch trains from, particularly since the station and parking lot is down hill from the yard. The location is not very good as far as touring. There is a beautiful view of the skyline from the platform, however.
Charlotte Skyline from Amtrak Station platform
Raleigh is a nice view and a easy place to watch trains, being close to a crossing and not associated with a yard. The only interesting thing is the "Y" for turning trains. The draw back is that it is a terminal for the Piedmont. The same can be said about Charlotte.
Cary Amtrak Station
Cary gives more time between transfers, which means a more relaxed stop. I do see the Carolinian pass through as I wait for my connection. The Carolinian is Amtrak service not NCDOT so it is best to wait for the Piedmont, the primary goal of this out and back.

Again, Greensboro gives a longer turnaround time for more watching of trains. There is a better location to watch from, not just from the platform. There is a crossing within 5 minute walk. Besides that, the part of town that the station is in is better for wondering around. There is the Civil Rights Museum in the Greensboro Woolworth, where the sit in took place, and contains the original lunch counter. OK. I am a liberal white American with guilt. I did not live during the sit in and no where near Greensboro, but just walking by that shrine of the Civil Right movement just gave me goose bumps to be on such sacred ground.

The Historic Greensboro Woolworth

As I said in the last post, Tickets bought, now time to get the devises (cameras etc) ready, batteries charged, memory ready, and waiting for the "all aboard." It has been a while and I am not sure what to expect. The last time I was on a train it was nice and relaxed. A lot can changed. Here is the proposed itinerary with a note on the passenger trains I should see.
Hamlet, NC to Cary, NC 6:29-8:15, Amtrak 92 Silver Star 1 hr. 46 min.
      Cary NC
8:15n(92) 10:02n(80) 11:57s(75)
Amtrak NCDOT
3 hr. 42 min.
Cary, NC to Greensboro, NC 11:57-1:18, NCDOT 73 1 hr. 19 min.

Greensboro, NC
1:18s(75) 1:34n(74) 6:32s(79) 6:49n(76)
NCDOT Amtrak
5 hr. 31 min.
Greensboro, NC to Cary, NC 6:49-8:08, NCDOT 76 1 hr. 19 min.
Cary, NC to Hamlet, NC 9:27-11:21, Amtrak 91 Silver Star 1 hr. 54 min.

The above was written before my previous post. It so happened that I may it by the Amtrak station in Florence. While there, I bought my tickets for this excursion. My next posts will encompass the trip itself. It has been too long since I have been on a train (except for the museum train). It should be fun or at least a good day apart.

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