Passenger Train Service Pipe Dream? - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

2.11.04

Passenger Train Service Pipe Dream?

     The World's newest "bullet train" has made its first public appearance. It's in South Korea, although the train itself was made in France, which has had high-speed rail service for decades. So has Japan. The new Korean train lops a full two hours off the travel time from Seoul to Pusan--a distance of 205 miles. It carries 900 passengers at 186 miles an hour.

     Why am I telling you all this about a passenger train in Korea? Because we have no passenger train service at any speed from Wilmington to anywhere! We speak grandiosely of creating an inter-modal transportation center in Wilmington which would concentrate access to all methods of getting from here to there, including trains, in one building! Without laying new tracks, if--and that's a big "if"--we ever see passenger train service return to the Port City, to go from Wilmington to Raleigh, the intrepid train traveler would have to go West-by-Northwest to Hamlet, (122 miles), and then head North-by-Northeast to Raleigh (another 100 miles-plus). That's more than the distance from Seoul to Pusan. And that's a shame, especially for Wilmington, which was once home to one of the country's premier railroads, and had a fine back-in train station on North Front Street.

     Those were the days. Now there's only half-heartedly supported Amtrak, and it's a hundred miles away--half the distance from Seoul to Pusan.

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