RALEIGH — North Carolina's passenger train schedule will grow on June 5 with the launch of a third daily round-trip train between Raleigh and Charlotte, leaving each city at midday.
The schedule expansion means that Raleigh residents will have the option to catch a southbound train at 6:50 a.m., 11:50 a.m. or 4:50 p.m. each day for the trip to Charlotte, which takes about 3 hours and 12 minutes.
The northbound trains will leave Charlotte's Amtrak station at 7:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. Each train also stops along the way at Cary, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury and Kannapolis.
"It's a great step forward for our program," said Pat Simmons, the state Department of Transportation's Rail Division director. "In order for passenger trains to substitute for the convenience and mobility of the personal automobile, we need to have more frequent, more reliable service with reduced travel times."
North Carolina recently won $545 million in federal stimulus grants to beef up and speed up the state's passenger rail service. Plans include faster trip times and more frequent trains, with the addition in 2012 of a fourth daily round-trip between the state's two largest cities.
One of the daily trains running through the state now is Amtrak's Carolinian, which travels from Charlotte to New York. The other current train and the new one starting in June both serve the Amtrak Piedmont route between Raleigh and Charlotte.
One-way fares between Raleigh and Charlotte are $25 and up, depending on how and when you buy your ticket from Amtrak.
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