Commuter Rail - Garner to West Durham

No idea but you are right. Boylan, Ashe, and Pullen probably have low clearance, but that is just a guess. I do not think that undercutting would be possible due to the proximity of the wye at Boylan and the NCSU tunnels at Pullen. Maybe undercutting could be possible at Ashe but maybe not. The two in Cary at NW Maynard and Cary Parkway are pretty new, as is Gorman, so they are probably okay.

Some of these bridges were actually planned for rebuilds as part of the failed 2005 rail project, not necessarily because of vertical clearance, but rather because they were not wide enough for four tracks plus the NS-mandated buffer. However I am sure that if they were rebuilding the bridges anyway they would certainly go ahead and build in enough clearance for double stack under wire. I specifically recall that Pullen and Gorman were planned for rebuilds. Not sure about Ashe. Boylan was not on the list. So that means there are some stale 15 year old engineering plans lying around somewhere that could be dusted off for some of them, if it ever came down to it.

Not sure about anything south/east of downtown like Kindley, Wilmington, Hammond or I-40. I really dont know, this is all just barely more than baseless speculation.


I honestly am not holding my breath for commuter rail in my lifetime, but I sure do hope that the younger generations see it in theirs. I am thankful that I am finally seeing a blossoming downtown core: something that I’ve been wanting for 3 decades!!! :grin:


The initial post indicates 2027 to start operations as included in the Wake Transit Plan. Does anyone know where this stands and if anything is actually in process to make this happen?

What are the next steps and how can we help make SOMETHING happen?


They are setting aside some money every year from the transit tax to put towards commuter rail.


Things are in process…that’s all I can say.

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Do you have any links to the failed 2005 plan? Could be interesting brainstorming.

Here is a link to the archived web page:

Here is the final New Starts application report.

In hindsight, this was a perfect match for the region. There were some things about it that were not perfect, but by and large it got all the important bits right, and to top it off, the projected costs were pretty reasonable considering what it was. The problems started happening when there were some cost escalations and GoTriangle (TTA at the time) couldn’t raise any additional local revenue, and they basically asked the feds to cover the overrun. It is my tinfoil-hat opinion that this request caused the feds to put the project under greater scrutiny, under which they forced the agency to revise the already very conservative ridership projections downward, which made the project’s rating drop from “medium” to “medium-low”, and basically sent the project into a tail spin from there.

If I recall correctly (Correct me if I’m wrong now folks), this put us in rarified company as one of Very Few transit projects to enter final engineering and not be awarded a FFGA.

Back then of course there was no transit sales tax, and the only revenue they had was rental car fees and vehicle registration fees. If we had a transit tax, it is my firm opinion that things would have transpired very differently and we would have been riding DMUs from North Raleigh to West Durham by 2009.


And here is a link to the environmental impact statement which contains probably the most detailed information but is a bit hard to read as it is a PDF of a scanned paper report:

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That is depressing. What could have been.


Looks like NCDOT has announced that it will have the nation’s first hydrail line between Charlotte and Raleigh. A hydrogen-powered train versus the current diesel powered system we have in place. I wonder what options Raleigh will have for its commuter rail system once it’s up and running with its used diesel fleet.

There’s only one other hydrail system in the world, in Germany.


I think its just a one locomotive test for now.

Can we see a link for that?

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@Francisco may be talking about this article from this upstart Charlotte news site, but the only source it cites is this other, older article from Statesville published Sept. 2018…

EDIT: thanks for pointing out my typo, @Christopher!

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Both links in your post go to the Statesville website, but I believe the first link was intended to direct here:

I heard many less-than-positive things about Charlotte Stories, though, so don’t take it too seriously. I’m not sure about the Statesville website.


My bad, thanks for the correction haha.

But yeah, I’ve never heard of this site before, either, so I’m also kinda skeptical. It’s hard to back up what the article said with Google searches (also… y’all. can we all agree to at least cite whatever it is that we’re reading, next time?), and most of the hype and coverage about this traces back to one retiree futurist. I wouldn’t have my hopes up for this particular project, at least not until more people independently verify what’s up.

Hydrogen-powered rail could get you the cleanliness and torque of electric trains, but without having to build caternaries (which Norfolk Southern/CSX would, no doubt, get pissy about). The cost and feasibility is kind of a reeeeeeeeally big unknown, though…

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Took the train to Durham this morning with bikes in tote for no additional fare. Probably biked 12 miles all around Durham. Was an awesome car-free day! This rail line really needs to be exploited. [IMG_20190324_142234|666x500](upload://fcSBIFLazIZC4PvV7OFVEX9iXcq.j



How many people were on the train and what was transit times?

Hard to know how many were on the whole train total but I’d say 30-40 were onboarding/offboarding at Raleigh, Cary, and Durham. 30 min ride


I take the train, with my bike, to work at Elon University 2-3 times a week. It is fabulous. Plus, many of my Elon colleagues are working to bring back a train stop to Elon campus. I am proof that the train is a viable form of transit, and can be better if people just stop driving cars and start taking the train, bus, bike, etc.

As for how many people take the Piedmont Route, there are days when the conductors announce a sold-out trip.


What’s the RT cost of those trips?

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