North Carolina passenger rail service ridership breaks record

Ridership increased in September more than any previous month in the history of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s intercity passenger rail service.

N.C. Department of Transportation locomotive

Credit: N.C. Department of Transportation

It has been announced that more people rode the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s intercity passenger rail service in September than any previous month in the 32-year history of the NC By Train service.

Record ridership

The Carolinian and Piedmont trains handled 48,488 passengers during September, which marks an increase of 32 per cent over the average pre-pandemic monthly ridership levels from 2014 to 2019. The service is operated by Amtrak.

“It’s great to see record ridership on North Carolina’s passenger rail,” Roy Cooper, Governor of North Carolina, said. “A strong and growing state needs efficient transportation options and it’s clear that more people are choosing NC By Train. We should continue to invest to connect our communities with high-quality passenger rail.”

Passenger demand

NC By Train provides multiple trains throughout the day between Raleigh and Charlotte with stops in Cary, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury, and Kannapolis, as well as daily service connecting Charlotte, Raleigh and New York via the Carolinian. The service has operated since 1990. NC By Train offers a lot to its passengers, including large seats, free Wi-Fi outlets and large windows so passengers can witness the beauty of North Carolina.

“Riding the train is an affordable, easy way to travel across the Piedmont,” Eric Boyette, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation, said. “If you don’t have access to a vehicle or you don’t want to worry about getting behind the wheel, you can remove the stress and take the train.”

To meet the increasing demand, NC By Train launched a fourth daily round trip between Raleigh and Charlotte in 2018, making passenger rail even more convenient for travellers seeking transportation options. NCDOT is also planning to expand its passenger rail service along the S-Line, a high-performance passenger rail corridor being developed between Raleigh and Richmond. That line will better connect rural and urban communities and increase passenger rail services with shorter travel times between North Carolina, Virginia, and the Northeast.