North Carolina’s Passenger Rail Service Breaks Record for Ridership

A blue passenger train stopped at a station.
NC By Train

Governor Roy Cooper says more people rode the N.C. 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.

The Carolinian and Piedmont trains handled 48,488 passengers last month, which marks an increase of 32% 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,” Governor Cooper 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.”

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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.

“Riding the train is an affordable, easy way to travel across the Piedmont,” says Eric Boyette, secretary of the N.C. Department of Transportation. “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.”

NC By Train has a lot of offer its passengers, including large seats, free WiFi outlets and large windows so passengers can witness the beauty of North Carolina.

Another popular feature are the special stops the passenger train makes in October for folks headed to the Lexington Barbecue Festival and the North Carolina State Fair.

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 travelers 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.

Visit NCByTrain.org for more information and to buy tickets.