Raleigh-Eastern NC passenger rail

Thought I’d start a new topic for this. Rep. Brian Farkas (D) of Pitt County has been pushing for passenger rail service between Raleigh and Greenville, and announced today that a study of the line has been fully funded to the tune of $250,000 by NCDOT.

This could be a huge boost for the eastern NC region and Greenville in particular as there is a lot of commuting between that region and the Triangle. Also, as an ECU alumnus, I selfishly would have loved to be able to take the train the school and walk from the station to my apartment. I’m sure this would be a huge hit for students at the very least, many of whom come from Wake County.


Of little note, but this has come up in a few Wendell Town Board meetings as well. Wendell has sent a letter of support for funding.


This would be great for football games too. Doing a Panthers game from Raleigh is too tight via train (has to be a 1 pm game and you have to leave beginning of 4th quarter to catch the last train in my experience). Not sure of the demand for this but theres a ton of local ECU alumni that could potentially take advantage.


Seriously. Planning on going to NC State @ ECU with out of state friends, and everyone wants to stick around to watch the evening games, but how do you get from Greenville back to Raleigh without someone stuck being a DD around the happy drunk people?


I have to think that going to Greenville via Selma on the NCRR and A-line would probably be preferrable (Sorry @atl_transplant !) The distance is hardly any longer, and the routes are much, much straighter.

Anyway, I have to imagine this option will at least be considered.


My best friend went to ECU when I was at NC State. On a Friday afternoon heading east pre US-264/I-87 and pre Wilson bypass… that was a very long drive getting out of town. We used to say it was the longest 90 miles in NC.


Dear Me!

It’s the spawn of EASTRANS rising from the grave.


Are you saying via the black traced route? Definitely straighter.

But IMO at the stage we’re at, it’d be better for us to serve as many cities / locations as possible rather than overlapping routes. That route would nearly completely be served by other commuter / Amtrak routes. Also the Raleigh to Wilson part isn’t used at all by freight currently so that may help coordination / implementation wise.

FWIW here’s the rough distances 83 vs 87


The three biggest problems about coming in on the original NSRy line are 1) speed limits due to the curviness of the route, 2) getting through NS Glenwood Yard, and 3) interfacing with RUS.

I know that there is contingency for a RUS platform on the western leg of the Boylan Wye. But, I’ve not seen anything explicit about any platform for the eastern leg.


Raleigh about to become a commuter train hub, but I think if the state taking this project on should GoRaleigh have some involvement in this?

The northern leg of RUS is also expected to become the go-to platform for future Southeast Corridor services (which also makes it easier to get through Glenwood Yard). If they could squeeze in another platform there, I think it could work there?

Why should they?

It’s one thing if the state commits to the CSX A-line approach and needs to figure out how to synchronize schedules with GoTriangle’s future commuter rail -but even then, neither NCDOT nor GoTriangle get a lot out of collaborating in this particular context. And it’s even less for GoRaleigh since they’d only ever run buses and BRT (so they’d never have to share right-of-way or otherwise have a reason to work together this early on).


Ssw that and it’s exciting news! I live in Greenville and I can’t wait to see passenger rail here!

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I suppose they can study just about any thing. However, funds are not unlimited. And, there are four other routes that are prioritized ahead of this one. So, I am officially skeptical.


If had somewhere roundabout $10 or $20 billion to spend, this is the passenger rail network I would implement for NC. I would make all ENC-Raleigh passenger rail approach Raleigh via the NCRR.


I would hate to think what the cost would be to get the NSRy up to any kind of commuter rail spec between Wilson and Raleigh via Zebulon.

That route and geometry was chosen in 1910 because the original NS was shoehorning itself into the Raleigh to Charlotte market by any means necessary.

And, it failed because of those choices. Wilson to Raleigh via Zebulon doesn’t have the population density right now to justify that expense.

There’s also I87/US64/US264 already in place to serve that same function for now.


Toss me another $10b and I’ll build this, a Raleigh-Charlotte super express route that does the 138 mile trip in about an hour - about twice as fast as what an upgraded NCRR route via Greensboro could manage.

How do we make it happen? A deal with the devil. Partner with NCTA to build a Raleigh-Charlotte toll road. Build it with very few, and very gentle, curves.

  1. Branch off of US1 (for the turnpike) and the S-line (for the HSR) in Moncure.
  2. Full greenfield route from there to Asheboro. Put a stop at Asheboro (within walking distance of the zoo!) for bonus points.
  3. Roughly follow NC49 with a combination of upgrades and bypass segments to Concord.
  4. Join the NCRR in Concord (HSR) and upgrade NC49 to I-485 (for the turnpike) to complete the route.

I figure about 100 miles, from Apex to Concord, at 220mph max/180mph average, and 20 miles on approach at either end at 110mph max/80 mph average - for an end-to-end trip time of 1h3m.

I should make it clear that I think a decent upgraded conventional rail network with upgraded service on the NCRR, as well as pasenger service to ENC and WNC should come first.

But get NCTA to pursue the Raleigh-Charlotte turnpike soon, with the stipulation that they build it with gentle curves and a wide enough median for trains.


I would hope someone within government has the same kind of foresight that is evident on this forum. Something that could connect these two cities in that amount of time would be game changing. People could live in Charlotte and work in Raleigh, and the vice versa could happen. Think that would have a huge, positive impact on the state/region.


Estonia operates a two-car light rail set on (Russian) standard gauge track as intercity service and it works well. Estonia has a very tiny population so it doesn’t need large train sets. If there’s a will there’s a means.


We can call it the NC Zoological Park Express!


I would love a stop at the Zoo. I’d even be happy with a shuttle/bus from Raleigh to the Zoo.