There is already a pretty good plan heading north of DT that was drawn up for the High Speed Rail project. Just a matter of making it happen.
Bear in mind that the south end of the Park Avenue tunnel in NYC – the end closest to Grand Central – is quite a bit below ground level. Coming out of the station, the tracks reach ground level at 98th St and are elevated north of there. Furthermore the tunnel has up to a 3% grade, which is manageable for passenger trains pulled by electric locomotives but infeasible for much heavier freight trains pulled by diesel locomotives.
Downtown Raleigh could be designated as horn-free for RR locomotives, but either the City or NCDOT would have to spend a lot of money to bring the gates and signals at every RR crossing up to the standard required to qualify for horn-free.
20 commuter trains a day to Wake Forest isn’t in the cards anytime soon. Possibly two inbounds in the morning and two outbounds in the afternoon. Even that would probably cost $75 million (today’s dollars) to build a suitable station in Wake Forest, restore the line to 79 mph for trains, and purchase the equipment. SEHSR is too speculative to assume you will already have a 79 mph RR between DTR and Wake Forest to use.
The tracks through Glenwood South will eventually look something like this once the HSR is implemented.
I’d love to see a modern version of London’s railway arch shopfronts along West street - if this actually happens…
picture for reference:
The 7th Ave Subway extension was part of the gov’t inventive plan for the HY developers. The Penn Station/Post Office plan has been in the hopper for decades and is gov’t money.