Current Passenger Service
North Carolina's Amtrak Local Trains
North Carolina's Amtrak is a fleet of two state supported trains, the Piedmont and Carolinian which provide six trains daily to Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and nine other North Carolina cities.
Amtrak National Thru Trains
Five thru trains including the Carolinian, Crescent, Palmetto, Silver Meteor and Silver Star make selected city stops through the state on their way to destinations south to New Orleans and Miami and north Washington D.C. and New York.
North Carolina Passenger Train Fast Facts
- A total of over 900,000 passengers boarded trains in North Carolina in 2011.
- Train travel time between Raleigh and Charlotte has been reduced by over an hour since the service began in 1995.
- North Carolina has 3,384 miles of railroad track and 12 passenger trains serving 16 cities daily.
- Over the past 15 years,
- The N.C. Department of Transportation has invested about $300 million in the state's intercity passenger rail service, including renovation or construction of train stations, track work improvements and corridor preservation.
Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor Development
- The U.S. Department of Transportation designated Charlotte to Washington, D.C. as a high-speed rail corridor in 1992. In 1998, SEHSR was expanded south to Macon, Ga. and to Jacksonville, Fl.
- North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia partnered to form a 4-state coalition to develop the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor to provide frequent, reliable passenger trains that can travel at top speeds of 90-110 miles per hour, and an average speed of 86 mph.
- The corridor is being developed incrementally, upgrading existing railroad right of way.
- Benefits of the SEHSR corridor will include enhancing local economies, revitalizing urban centers, improving track safety and capacity, and contributing to environmental sustainability.
- For complete project updates click sehsr.org.
Western North Carolina
In March 2001, NCDOT adopted a phased plan to extend passenger rail service to Asheville and Western North Carolina. The plan includes renovating or building train stations that incorporate other community uses. The department continues to work with communities on station and rail safety improvements while working to identify funding to restore passenger rail service to Western NC.
Southeastern North Carolina
In May 2001, NCDOT released results of a feasibility study that indicated there is interest in passenger rail service to and from Wilmington. In July 2005, the department released the results of more detailed studies that identified costs and some needed improvements for re-establishing service to Southeastern North Carolina. The study recommended implementing passenger rail service from Raleigh to Wilmington via Fayetteville and Goldsboro in phases as funding becomes available. Other recommendations included investigating the possibility of commuter service between Selma and Raleigh and working with the State Ports to definite benefits and investments needed to re-establish freight service between Goldsboro and Wilmington.
Sealed Corridor Program
Since 1992, North Carolina has received special federal funds to improve railroad crossing safety between Raleigh and Charlotte. These improvements will protect citizens and enable higher train speeds. In essence, NCDOT is sealing the corridor by protecting every public crossing with median separators, longer gate arms, four-quadrant gates and other innovative signage and traffic control devices. The department is also safeguarding private crossings by installing improved signage and warning devices. The Federal Railroad Administration recently named the Sealed Corridor Program as the national standard.
At the local level, the NCDOT is working with area transit authorities to plan commuter rail services for the greater Charlotte, Triangle and Triad regions.
For more information about commuter rail and transit plans in the major metropolitan areas, visit the following websites.
Triangle area - www.triangletransit.org
Charlotte area - www.charmeck.org/Departments/CATS/home
Triad area - www.partnc.org