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North Carolina Comprehensive State Rail Plan

North Carolina Comprehensive State Rail Plan

The North Carolina Department of Transportation developed our Draft Comprehensive State Rail Plan in compliance with the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which is implemented and overseen by the Federal Railroad Administration. Under this Act, all states are required to develop rail plans at least every five years. The State Rail Plan is designed to transform transportation, economic, land use and other data into a thoughtful, strategic freight and passenger investment plan.

Now that the Draft Comprehensive State Rail Plan is available, we need your comments. This is an opportunity for citizens and the business community alike to help guide the implementation of the Governor’s Vision for North Carolina regarding how to invest in and develop the state’s rail system over the next 25 years.

The public comment period begins February 20, 2015 and will close on March 21, 2015.

We invite comments and input from the public through our Mindmixer page.

State Rail Plan Recommendations


  • Projects at intermodal terminals, transload facilities, or manufacturing companies that can benefit our economy by linking NC industries to the overall rail network. Generally, these projects have good benefit to cost ratios.
  • Conduct a study to identify a potential new rail intermodal site in eastern NC is recommended.
  • Fund track improvements on corridors prioritized based on rail volumes, truck volumes on parallel highways, the Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET) and connectivity to major freight activity centers.
  • Support rail industrial access and short lines through state grants to enhance North Carolina industries’ connectivity to the Class I rail system.


  • Add amenities and conveniences to existing passenger services to enhance rider experience.
  • Add more runs to the Piedmont and Carolinian (Raleigh to Charlotte) services to enhance mobility. This can help connect people to jobs and educational opportunities across regions. These additional runs have excellent benefit to cost ratios.
  • Improve stations and maintain and/or replace equipment, such as locomotives and passenger cars.
  • Pursue full implementation of the Southeast Rail Corridor, which when completed may provide a public-private partnership opportunity for operations and maintenance.
  • Implement Amtrak Thruway Bus Service to western North Carolina.
  • Plan for future expansions of rail service to western and southeastern North Carolina.


  • Continue investing in the NCDOT’s nationally-recognized best-practice safety programs through at-grade crossing improvements, Federal Railroad Administration certified State Rail Safety Inspections and BeRailSafe.


  • Encourage operators to take advantage of state intermodal tax credits where possible.
  • Support the reauthorization of federal rail, freight and passenger programs.
  • Use state and local funding and private investment to leverage federal funds.

The State Rail Plan and Governor McCory’s 25-Year Vision

The State Rail Plan and Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision logo

The State Rail Plan is a major component of Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision for North Carolina, which includes the following rail-related goals: