Amtrak says its passengers will begin using Raleigh Union Station on Tuesday, July 10, now that work on the new station's platform has been completed.
The last scheduled train of the night on July 9, the eastbound Piedmont from Charlotte, should arrive at the old Cabarrus Street station shortly after 10 p.m. Then Amtrak will make the move to the new station overnight, in time for the 6:30 a.m. Piedmont headed west on July 10.
The opening of Raleigh's new downtown train station comes more than two months after local, state and federal officials gathered in the station's great hall for a dedication ceremony on April 30. At that time, the station was expected to open in early June.
The opening was pushed back so contractors could address a problem with the slope of the station's passenger platform. The slope from the center of the platform out toward the edge was 1 percent too steep in places to meet Amtrak and federal specifications and Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, said Allan Paul, deputy director of the N.C. Department of Transportation Rail Division.
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The city said it would have the platform ready in time to allow Amtrak to begin using the station on June 27. But more than 30 workers were still putting the finishing touches on the platform throughout that day.
Now with the work completed, Amtrak has announced an opening date of July 10 on its website, www.amtrak.com/stations/rgh.
Raleigh Union Station originally was expected to be finished in late 2017. In late March of this year, when the city announced the date for the dedication ceremony, it said passengers would begin using the station in late May. At the ceremony, that date had been put off until early June.
Nearly 151,000 people got on or off Amtrak trains in Raleigh in the year ending Sept. 30, 2017, making it the second-busiest train station in North Carolina after Charlotte. With the addition of another round-trip Piedmont train between Raleigh and Charlotte in early June, 10 trains a day stop at the station now, and that could grow to 12 in two years.
A limited amount of short-term and disability parking is available for $1.25 an hour by following West Street to the traffic circle in front of the station. A larger number of long-term spaces can be found in The Dillon parking deck across West Street from the station, for $2 an hour or $18 a day. The Dillon deck takes credit cards only.