Research Triangle Commuter Rail Studied

A 37-mile commuter rail line under study in North Carolina could connect cities Raleigh, Cary, and Durham in North Carolina, but the system will cost a pretty penny, and it will have to succeed where light rail previously failed.

January 15, 2020, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Interstate Research Triangle Park North Carolina

Interstate 40 in North Carolina. | Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) / Wikimedia Commons

Richard Stradling reports: "A commuter rail system running 40 trains each weekday between Garner and Durham would cost $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion to build and carry 7,500 to 10,000 passengers a day, according to preliminary estimates from the regional transit agency GoTriangle."

According to the feasibility study released by GoTriangle last week, the 37-mile route studied by GoTriangle would require 34 miles of new tracks to connect Raleigh, Cary, and Durham. Another three miles would use an existing corridor currently owned by the N.C. Railroad.

"The feasibility study from GoTriangle provides the most refined details to date about the commuter rail system proposed by transit plans in both Durham and Wake counties," according to Stradling.

Casting a shadow over the potential of the project to win the financial and political support necessary to succeed is the recent—March 2019—demise of the Durham-Orange Light Rail project.

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