A Wilmington to Raleigh rail service? Officials meet to discuss the possibility

A Wilmington to Raleigh rail service? Officials meet to discuss the possibility
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 6:55 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Big changes could be on the way for how people choose to travel across the state.

Right now, North Carolina has 16 rail service stations across the state and the closest one to Wilmington is 80 miles away.

That’s why officials from across the state are hoping to establish a rail service station from Raleigh to Wilmington. The route would be just one of the twelve corridors that could come about in the future.

“We’re developing a network and Eastern North Carolina is incredibly important to that network. Wilmington and the whole region here in Eastern North Carolina is growing, and intercity passenger rail provides an opportunity for folks visiting here who work here who live here to connect to that network more efficiently,” said Jason Orthner, the director of NCDOT Rail Division.

On Thursday afternoon leaders had the opportunity to sit down and learn about the possible benefits of more corridors across the state. One of the main topics of discussion is the Raleigh to Wilmington route, which would help connect the capital city to the coast.

“This could mean a whole new chapter and expansion of people and goods being moved around the state of North Carolina through the state of North Carolina. This is a huge is a huge deal,” said New Hanover County Commissioner Rob Zapple.

A final decision on where the federal funding for infrastructure will go is expected to be made by November. Money for the Wilmington to Raleigh project would come from a $66 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed back in 2021.

“If all move forward just tremendous economic mobility, jobs, really just tremendous opportunity for folks across the state,” said Nicole Bucich, vice president for Network Development at Amtrak.