While we were on the subject of what to do with the Central Prison and the School for the Blind we can’t ignore the possibility that Raleigh will eventually host a station in the future that will be used to carry high speed trains. There’s a very good chance we will all be dead by the time that gets realized but we shouldn’t penalize future generations from moving the city forward.
Here’s the thing the Union Station Wye area is a terrible places for a high speed rail station. Modern High Speed Train load-outs like the London to Paris Eurostar are typically around 600 meters long. The wye is at best 250 meters long without spill-over in either direction. Awful for off-loading passengers without blocking other trains from using the tracks such as the rail cross over that happens just past the Boylan Bridge.
However, the distance between the Boylan Bridge and Ashe Ave Bridge is a very comfortable 1,000 meters give or take.
The Proposal: 1/4th of the property of the Central Prison and School for the Blind should be used house the Intercity High Speed Rail Station with a pedestrian bridge connecting passengers to the Raleigh Union Station that will function primarily for regional heavy rail and heavy commuter rail.
Options to consider: Grade separation at the Wye so that the the high speed lines go below the normal rail lines before the rail crossover happens and the High Speed Rail Terminals will be technically in the basement of the future train station.
The Second Proposal: Build an underground pedestrian tunnel from the Raleigh Union Station to Downtown Raleigh with moving walkways to assist people in getting to downtown quickly from the stations.
1/4th of the property is all that is needed to host 4 or 5 side by side terminals so that there’s enough room to host multiple high speed lines and this also leaves most of the Central Prison property to be used for other projects.
Do you see future Raleigh citizens getting on a high speed train to: DC, Asheville, Charlotte, Wilmington, New York, Atlanta? Or will Raleigh miss a golden opportunity?