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Rail News: Passenger Rail

North Carolina's intercity passenger-rail service logs record ridership

North Carolina's Piedmont (shown) and Carolinian passenger trains logged record ridership in September.
Photo – North Carolina Department of Transportation


More people rode the North Carolina Department of Transportation's intercity passenger-rail service in September than any previous month in the 32-year history of the NC By Train service, Gov. Roy Cooper announced late last week.

The Carolinian and Piedmont trains transported 48,488 passengers last month, which marks an increase of 32% over the average pre-pandemic monthly ridership levels from 2014 to 2019. The service is operated by Amtrak.

NC By Train provides multiple trains throughout the day between Raleigh and Charlotte with stops in Cary, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury and Kannapolis, as well as daily service connecting Charlotte, Raleigh and New York via the Carolinian. The service has operated since 1990.

To meet increasing demand, NC By Train launched a fourth daily round trip between Raleigh and Charlotte in 2018. NCDOT has plans to expand the passenger-rail service along the S-Line, a high-performance passenger-rail corridor being developed between Raleigh and Richmond. That line will better connect rural and urban communities and increase passenger-rail service with shorter travel times between North Carolina, Virginia and the Northeast, state officials said in a press release.

"A strong and growing state needs efficient transportation options and it’s clear that more people are choosing NC By Train. We should continue to invest to connect our communities with high-quality passenger rail," Cooper said.