SEHSR (Southeast High Speed Rail) and the S-Line Corridor

i usually go to back to visit the fair each year. i would love for that area to be more bikeable.


It’s the one thing that’s walkable to me! Well, that and Cames games.


Yes, they’re only showing towns which had gone in on the USDOT grant funding. Cary is funding its own TOD planning.


Update: looks like they’re floating the idea of extending the Piedmont up the S-Line. The article @apbassett linked here includes this quote from the NCDOT Rail Director:

“We applied this year for an FRA federal-state partnership construction grant for the (17-mile) S-Line segment from Raleigh to Wake Forest, N.C. The goal is to develop serviceable sections that will allow extending Piedmont service north,” says Orthner, pointing out, “it is the most complicated segment where we have already received federally-matched grants for highway grade separation construction.”


The shinkansen trains typically come in 8 or 16 train car configuration. I walked tip to tip and basically no amount of redesigning will allow the RUS to handle a 16 car shinkansen at all. Heck, you would need a station platform 3/4 the length of Downtown Raleigh. :exploding_head:

For sure, the distant future goal for the city should be to acquire a portion or all of the NC Central Prison eventually as its the only way to host such behemoths if HSR ever happens.

The alternative is a ‘Shin’ station or new station that is generally away from the city center like many cities in Japan have but it’s not an ideal situations.


Is this the right thread for this? Yikes.

Feds gave millions to buy land for Triangle commuter rail. Now they want the money back.

Twenty years ago, the federal government gave the Triangle Transit Authority millions of dollars to help buy property along a railroad line in Raleigh. The land, more than 50 acres spread along nearly seven miles of railroad tracks, was to be used for a proposed commuter rail line. But the commuter rail system was never built, and now the feds want their money back. It’s not that simple.

The N.C. Department of Transportation owns a small stake in the property and would like to keep all 50 acres. The land parallels the railroad tracks where NCDOT is working to develop a high-speed train line between Raleigh and Richmond, including places where it plans to build bridges to eliminate street crossings. But NCDOT must come up with the money to buy out the federal government and GoTriangle, the TTA’s successor agency, which together own the majority of the property.


This should just wind up getting bundled in with the S-line acquisition and counting as a federal contribution.


“Amtrak also applied for several [IIJA] grants to improve Northeast Corridor and State Supported routes and provided letters of support for 83 projects outside the Northeast Corridor submitted by others.”

Amtrak did not include a full list of either the projects it proposed, or the ones it supports, in the media release, but we may eventually know if they line up with NCDOT’s Corridor ID selections.


Pretty interesting analysis from the University of Washington on high speed rail.


KMZ files of the North Carolina section of the S-Line rebuild alignment are available for download if anyone wants to check them out. Fair warning: not all the files will import into Google My Maps, so if you want to look you’ll have to use Google Earth desktop.

Filename - P-5753 R2R NC Rail Design KMZs


Thanks for the pointer!

It appears there have been some changes since the public hearings for the segment through midtown Raleigh, possibly due to value engineering.

  • The crossing at Whitaker Mill Road has been changed from road-over-rail to rail-over-road.
  • The viaduct that was previously planned over Capital Blvd, Pigeon House Branch and the NS rail line in the pinch point between Atlantic Ave and Wake Forest Rd, has been extended to also cross over the existing S-line tracks at Edgeton Diamond. This seems to dramatically reduce the property acquisition that will be needed here.
  • There is also a significant retained embankment planned between the above viaduct and the newly proposed bridge over Whitaker Mill.
  • The entire section from just north of Wade Avenue, until just south of New Hope Church Road, are now proposed as single track. This appears intended to avoid having to double-track or replace some existing single-track bridges, such as the ones over Six Forks Road and Crabtree Creek. May also help with constructability/phasing for the complex segment mentioned above.

The section through downtown Raleigh has also been changed, but much less so. It seems that whatever changes have been made, will avoid having to rebuild the bridge carrying Morgan Street over the tracks.
The big viaduct along West Street is still proposed exactly as before, including the property planned for the Moxy Hotel that y’all seem to be so enamoured with.


Apologies if this has been asked and answered. I recently saw the below video of NCDOT director Jason Orthner, which was very informative. However, I notice (especially at the 24:52 mark) that the proposed schedule shows that the current project is only going to Petersburg, with a separate, consecutive schedule from for service Petersburg to Downtown Richmond. Does that mean that the S-Line isn’t going to be functional to DC until that time?

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My understanding is that trains from Raleigh will be unable to access Richmond Main Street Station without that work, but will be able to follow the current route to the Staples Mill Road station and onward to DC. There is a good deal of freight traffic on those tracks, so it might be a delay-inducing bottleneck.


Thanks for the summary!

Seems like reasonable adjustments overall. I just hope that the new structures are built to be double tracked eventually. Ideally, when Virginia (some day) completes their huge body of work to upgrade the segment from Richmond → DC, additional service will necessitate double tracking.


Seems dumb on their part not to modify it if they’re changing all that other stuff. Meanwhile I doubt Moxy or this rail line will get built, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

The enbankment/viaduct through Atlantic to Whitaker Mill must end up being rather tall. There’s quite the hill up Wake Forest Rd from the Capital Blvd exit to Whitaker, so clearing the loading gauge of the tracks and the road would require a significant increase in elevation.

I am honestly not very sure how they are going to do this. Some speculation:

First, I note that the railroad grade uphill from Crabtree Creek to Whitaker Mill Road is already pegged at 1% which is generally considered to be the max for standard operation of freight trains.

Building the plan presented at the public hearing several years ago would have been easy: just continue the 1% climb from there and by the time you reach the NS tracks, you’re about 25’ above them which is about what you need for a rail-over-rail grade separation. Start descending after that, and you’re back down to the existing grade a few hundred feet south of where the route crosses Capital Blvd.

As for Whitaker Mill, recall that roads can be much steeper than railroads. In order to clear the tracks starting from Wake Forest, it would have to rise at only a 2.5% grade, which is quite gradual for a road. From Atlantic, it would have to rise at 6%, which is fairly steep, but is nonetheless considered “normal” and perfectly acceptable for arterial roads like this. For example, Atlantic appears to climb at a 7% grade from Capital to its bridge over the tracks.

In contrast, to be able to clear Whitaker Mill, as proposed in the route from the KMZ files, the railroad would have to climb at 2% south of Crabtree Creek. This is on the steep side for a line that carries freight traffic. It would definitely not preclude local freight service, but would certainly not be compatible with the high-speed intermodal service that was previously envisioned to share the SEHSR route. Or if such service were still in the cards, it would have to take the existing, ground-level route over the diamond at Edgeton. Or perhaps all freight trains would be expected to use the existing route, and the new grade-separated route would be passenger-only. Interesting to consider the possibilities.


It looks like the existing line would still be available for freight use as suggested by the proposed track connection between the new and old routes just south of Hodges.

In any case, the views from the train will be pretty cool on the bridge.


Another interesting thing: it appears that all the grade crossings in Youngsville will be removed (which is expected), but I don’t see any replacement bridges noted. The town is just sliced in half.

I don’t think this data shows all of the road-related work that would be required, so any proposed crossings in Youngsville might just be missing or I’m not seeing them. The retaining walls suggest that there’s going to be an elevation difference in the track and the road, and the 2015 EIS maps have a road over rail bridge on Main St, as well as several Ped only crossings, so maybe they’ll be lowering the tracks?


I also reached the same conclusion. These KMZ files only show railroad structures, not roadway structures. Youngsville appears to be getting a trench for the RR, which is the same as planned before.