Few would have believed that one day it would be possible to ride a train from Raleigh to Charlotte, avoiding the sometimes-painful traffic along I-40 and I-85, in three hours and 10 minutes, which is virtually the same amount of time it takes to drive the route. And yet now it is possible. The state has boosted its top train speeds from 59 to 79 mph in the last 20 years.
The Raleigh-to-Greensboro trip is likewise almost identical, time-wise, to the driving time, and it has become a delightful one-day turnaround for many people who want to take their kids or grandkids on a “real” train.
The News & Observer’s road worrier, Bruce Siceloff, offers an update on the state’s efforts to expand rail service, and it’s good news.
Cities and towns along the Raleigh-Charlotte route are improving their stations. Cary has a very nice one, and Raleigh’s Union Station is to open in 2017, with the accompanying improvements for the downtown area. Rail crossings are being eliminated for safety’s sake in many places, and bridges are replacing them in others.
Trains are being added to that Raleigh-Charlotte route that now serves an astonishing 450,000 travelers a year. Not that many years ago, many ...