More train service planned on Raleigh-Charlotte route

Posted June 4, 2008

North Carolina trains (photo by Ernest H. Robl)

— Midday train service will be added to the Raleigh to Charlotte route to meet growing ridership demand, Gov. Mike Easley announced Wednesday.

Currently, two rail routes serve the two cities. At a travel time of just over three hours, and a cost of $50 roundtrip, the train is increasingly popular with travelers confronted with rising gas prices.

The Piedmont route leaves Raleigh daily at 7 a.m., making stops in Cary, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury and Kannapolis before arriving in Charlotte at 10:09 a.m. The evening run leaves Charlotte at 5:30 p.m. and arrives in Raleigh at 8:40 p.m.

The Carolinian travels the opposite route, leaving Charlotte at 7:40 a.m. and arriving in Raleigh at 11:06 a.m.; the return from Raleigh departs daily at 4:50 p.m. and arrives in Charlotte at 8:14 p.m.

Ridership on those trains has increased 22 percent over the past six months, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, which sponsors Amtrak service in the state.

“Ridership is increasing significantly along this route and adding a midday train run will meet the growing demand and provide needed services to North Carolina travelers who are looking for economical alternatives to driving,” Easley said.

The additional route will cost $3 million a year. The governor's office said that money will come from federal clean air funds.

“Federal funds are going to cover startup and operational costs for the next three years, so it’s a win-win,” state Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett said.

N.C. DOT officials estimated the train would be on the tracks before the end of the calendar year.


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  • Moabit Jun 10, 2008

    That is all very nice for Raleigh but about us rural people? We have no buses or trains here, we have to drive.It would be nice if the do like in Europe and add some bicycle paths but I am sure car drivers will fuss about that one as well. I just feel that America is sooo behind other countries when it comes to conserving and now it bites them in the behind big time.

  • turnpike420 Jun 5, 2008

    Sometimes the NCDOT actually does things right... on the other hand, they are trying really hard to screw up our roads:

  • Cleanup on Aisle Cool Jun 4, 2008

    Gas is $3.89 / gal, and my car gets 28 mpg on the highway, yielding a gas cost of $0.138 per mile. The round trip distance is 300 miles. So to drive, it costs me $41.67.

    Where is the savings?

  • gratefultoGOD Jun 4, 2008

    sounds great as a retired airline employee... " time to spare.. fo by air!" the train is spacious. we need to follow the Europeans and be more train friendly! it's greener, cleaner, cost less and sooo unlike air travel. a thundersorm will not stop the train like a plane. In CLT it would be nice if the tracks were closer to the A/P to prevent the connection of RDU to CLT on air.. and destination could begin in CLT! CLT train is not the best area.. hope they step the security up a bit!

  • nodoginthisfight Jun 4, 2008

    Just have to wonder if the state has talked to Norfolk Southern about this, as their the ones that do the track work on the line between Raleigh and Charlotte. This trackage desperately needs to be double tracked in places, but that cost millions. This could be a nightmare as freight increases. Look at the CSX route North South through Smithfield as a example. Amtrak has a dismal on time record because they get no priority on that trackage.

  • Rolling Along Jun 4, 2008

    Steve...I generally agree with you. By subsidizing rail we are bringing some relief to the highways by removing what are typically single occupant vehicles. If we removed all subsidies from the highways, no one would be able to afford to drive. IMHO rail is a good use of subsidy monies, compared to many other creative uses that the government dreams up.

  • Tripwire Jun 4, 2008

    I have no problem with trains except they never go where I want when I want.

  • Steve Crisp Jun 4, 2008

    Anytime you see an increase expressed as only a percentage, hold on to your wallet. The important figures to consider are the capacity of the train, the actual numbers of people riding the train, and how much revenue is being brought in by those people to offset operating costs.

    A 22 percent increase may mean that ridership is now at 61 up from 50. For a train that can hold perhaps 300 to 500 people, that is not a very good return on investment. Unless, of course, the taxpayers keep subsidizing it as we usually get forced into doing.

    Oh wait, federal funds (confiscated taxes on a different level) are paying for this so who cares...

  • Rolling Along Jun 4, 2008

    MORE RAIL!!! I ride Amtrak regularly between Fayetteville, Charleston and Richmond. Much nicer than driving with the idiots on I-95, usually quicker too. And it costs about half as much as driving my truck.

  • IhateMarkRoberts Jun 4, 2008

    anyone seen this website ( Sounds like there are plans for future rail, including high speed rail, between Charlotte-Raleigh-Washington D.C.