North Carolina has wisely been investing in its passenger rail service in recent years, a practice that us neighbors in Tennessee could learn a thing or two from. However, speed improvements, coupled with the general surge in train ridership across the nation, has put unprecedented pressure on stations such as Raleigh’s. From the Raleigh News and Observer:
Even before next year’s expansion, crowding at Raleigh’s station has forced some Wake County riders to try other Amtrak stations in Cary and Durham. Simmons lives in North Raleigh, but he drives to Durham when he has to catch a train because it’s easier to find parking there.
Meanwhile, Amtrak asks riders to catch a ride or take a taxi to the 4,720-square-foot Raleigh station.
“But that only gets us so far,” said Mike Jerew, Amtrak operations manager for North Carolina. “We don’t want to stunt our growth. We’re hoping people aren’t turned off by our current situation. We’re strapped at this facility.”
I’m sure if the Raleigh-Durham International airport were experiencing crowding to this degree, local leaders would be scrambling to expand it. Let’s hope that Raleigh politicians aren’t going to let potential customers for local businesses commute to other towns to catch the train. How about a train station the city can be proud of?