Raleigh, N.C. — The first ride during your NC State Fair experience doesn't have to be on the midway. It can start with your actual ride to the fair via NC By Train and Amtrak.
During the fair, NC By Train and Amtrak set up a special fair stop at the front of the fair at the intersection of Hillsborough Street and Blue Ridge Road. The stop is open from Friday to Oct. 21 this year.
Passengers can board at stations between Charlotte and the fairgrounds, including Kannapolis, Salisbury, High Point, Greensboro, Burlington and even Durham and Cary.
The Carolinian train 80 leaves Charlotte at 6:45 a.m. and arrives at the fair just before 10 a.m. Piedmont train 77 leaves the fairgrounds at 3:04 p.m. and arrives in Charlotte at 6:10 p.m.
For local riders, the train will leave at 9:27 a.m. from Durham and 9:47 a.m. from Cary. On the ride home, you'll get to Cary around 3:12 p.m. and Durham around 3:32 p.m. Ticket prices depend on where you're coming from, but they start at $7 from Cary and $9 from Durham per ride.
Important >>> Tickets must be purchased round trip and you must use station code NSF when you purchase them, which you can do online.
The train is a popular way to get to the station. Katie Trout with NC By Train tells me that both Saturdays are sold out, but there is some availability on Sundays and weekdays.
Love a train ride? NC By Train also has a deal that will get you to the Lexington BBQ Festival later this month.