Raleigh Union Station

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Raleigh Union Station is an intermodal transit station in Raleigh, North Carolina, United States. Train service began the morning of July 10, 2018. Its main building serves as an Amtrak train station, while a future adjacent building will serve as the bus terminus for GoTriangle. The station is located at the Boylan Wye, a railroad junction used by CSX and Norfolk Southern, and adjacent to the Depot Historic District in downtown Raleigh.

Raleigh Union Station
Amtrak inter-city rail station
2018.05.02 Union Station Tour 01.jpg
Signage above the West Martin Street entrance
Location510 West Martin Street
Raleigh, North Carolina
United States
Coordinates35°46′38″N 78°38′50″W / 35.7772°N 78.6472°W / 35.7772; -78.6472Coordinates: 35°46′38″N 78°38′50″W / 35.7772°N 78.6472°W / 35.7772; -78.6472
Owned byCity of Raleigh
Platforms1 island platform
ConnectionsBus interchange GoRaleigh: 13, R-Line
Structure typeAt-grade
ParkingYes; pay
Bicycle facilitiesBicycle racks [1]
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeRGH (Amtrak)
OpenedJuly 10, 2018 (2018-07-10) [2]
Passengers (FY2018)157,153[3][4]Increase 4.13%
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
toward Charlotte
Carolinian Selma
toward New York
North Carolina State Fair
toward Charlotte
toward Charlotte
Piedmont Terminus
toward Miami
Silver Star Rocky Mount
toward New York

As of 2018, it is the seventh-busiest station in the Southeastern United States, behind Richmond Staples Mill Road, Lorton, Alexandria, Charlottesville, New Orleans and Charlotte.[5]


Progress on the new Union Station, as seen mid October 2017

On April 23, 2010, the City of Raleigh proposed an extensive multimodal transit center a few blocks west of the site of the 1890 Union Depot to serve the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor, conventional Amtrak trains, future commuter rail over the North Carolina Railroad, as well as Capital Area Transit local, Triangle Transit regional, and Greyhound intercity buses. The name of the project, "Union Station," pays homage to the former Union Depot, which was commonly referred to as Union Station; the original depot operated from 1890-1950.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

On June 29, 2011, North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) proposed a cheaper plan that would relocate the Amtrak station to an abandoned industrial site, known locally as the Viaduct Building, within the Boylan Wye, some 800 feet north of Amtrak's then-facility from corner to corner. [13][14] The plan focused on Amtrak's needs, with provisions to add commuter rail and SEHSR later.[15][16][17][18]

Station and track design began in 2013 and was completed in late 2014. The environmental assessment was approved on March 12, 2014. On March 3, 2015, the Raleigh City Council approved full funding for the station, $88.8 million (Local $25.9M, State $9M, Federal TIGER/ARRA $53.9M); additional funds of $21.6 million (State 5$5.1M and Federal $16.5M) were also provided for supporting project costs.[19] A ceremonial groundbreaking followed on May 9, while actual start of construction began in January 2016.[20][21][22][23][24]

On April 30, 2018, a dedication ceremony was held at the station with various city and state officials, including Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane, U.S. Representative David Price and State Senator Nelson Dollar.[25][26]

Predecessor stationsEdit

Union DepotEdit

Postcard of Union Depot

Opened in 1890, the Union Depot (also referred as Union Station) was constructed by the Raleigh and Gaston Railroad, a predecessor of the Seaboard Air Line, at the corner of Dawson and West Martin streets. It also served the original Norfolk Southern Railway and Southern Railway, with a total of four tracks. The station was reached by trackage from the nearby Boylan Wye where the North Carolina Railroad (operated by Southern), the original Norfolk Southern, and the Seaboard converged.[27]

Being a stub-end station, Union Depot was inconvenient to operate, especially as passenger trains became longer and obstructed the Boylan Wye. Seaboard left the station in 1942 and Southern in 1950, by which time the original Norfolk Southern had discontinued its passenger trains.[28][29][30]

The head-house of the 1890 Union Depot survives as an office building, minus its tower. The former platform area and viaduct were subsequently redeveloped as industrial property.

Seaboard stationEdit

Opened in 1942, the Seaboard station was located north of downtown at 707 Semart Drive, adjacent to Seaboard's freight yard. Seaboard merged with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad as the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. In 1971, passenger operations were taken over by Amtrak, which leased the station from SCL. The station's ownership passed to CSX Corporation when SCL's parent company, Seaboard Coast Line Industries, merged with Chessie System.

In 1985, CSX abandoned its S-Line (the former SAL main line) between Norlina, North Carolina and Petersburg, Virginia. Amtrak was forced to reroute its trains between Raleigh and the Northeast through Selma. The Seaboard station could not easily accommodate the reroute, so Amtrak moved all operations to the smaller Southern station. The Seaboard station was subsequently repurposed as a retail space and a restaurant.

Southern stationEdit

1950 Southern station

Opened in 1950, by Southern Railway, the Colonial Revival station was located at 320 West Cabarrus Street, two blocks south of the current Raleigh Union Station. In 1964, Southern withdrew its trains from Raleigh and closed the station. The station was repurposed for storage, leaving the old Seaboard station as the sole passenger rail station in Raleigh for the next 21 years.

In 1985, CSX abandoned the S-Line between Norlina and Petersburg. Amtrak opted to move its services to the smaller Southern station, which was better suited for the new route that ran through Selma. That year, the North Carolina Railroad acquired the station from Norfolk Southern (formed three years earlier as a merger between Southern and N&W) and renovated the station, then leased it to Amtrak. Passenger rail service resumed in 1986.

At 10:14pm, on July 9, 2018, the Piedmont #78 was the final train to arrive at the station; the following day, all passenger rail service was relocated to the Raleigh Union Station and the former Southern/Amtrak station was officially closed.[31] Demolition of the Southern station was completed on August 1, 2018 in order to relocate the NS main freight track.


Operated by Amtrak, the station is served by ten trains per day.

  • The Carolinian, with one train heading toward New York after the morning rush and one heading toward Charlotte during the afternoon rush
  • The Piedmont (northern terminus), a regional companion of the Carolinian that runs three round-trips to and from Charlotte.
  • The Silver Star, with one train heading toward New York during the morning rush and one heading toward Miami in the evening.

The facility is open daily at 6:00am-11:00pm, which includes a ticket office, passenger assistance, baggage service and a civic hall (waiting area).[32][33][34]

Short-term and disability parking is available at the front of the station (meter, two-hour limit). Long-term parking is located in The Dillon parking garage at 223 South West Street. The garage is open 24-hours and accepts payment only by credit/debit card.[34][35]

Two routes of GoRaleigh pass near the station.[36] Route 13 runs near the station from 6 am to 6:55 pm, seven days a week.[37] The R-LINE downtown circulator, a free ride, runs near the station although the location of the stop changes between daytime and evening.[38]

Station layoutEdit

Tickets and Baggage Check-In
Station platform

The station has four levels identified as Street, Main, Lower Mezzanine and Upper Mezzanine. It has 26,000 square feet (2,400 m2) of building space, with 9,200 square feet (850 m2) of passenger rail space. The island platform is 920 ft (280 m) long, offering level boarding and is fully ADA compliant; it is the first high-level platform in North Carolina,[19][39] and the only high-level platform between Washington and West Palm Beach.[40]

Station layout
S Street Level Exit/Entrance
M Main Level Amtrak ticketing, Civic Hall (waiting area), exit/entrance, restrooms, vending machines and future tenants
Concourse To tracks 1 and 2
LM Lower Mezzanine Future tenant
UM Upper Mezzanine Future tenant
P Track 2      Silver Star toward Miami (Cary)
     Carolinian toward Charlotte (Cary or NC State Fair)
     Piedmont toward Charlotte (Cary or NC State Fair) →
Island platform (Platform A)  
Track 1      Silver Star toward New York (Rocky Mount)
     Carolinian toward New York (Selma)
     Piedmont terminates here


The station is designed for significant future expansion. A second island platform and third track, along the Norfolk Southern H-Line, are planned to serve the under-development Durham-Wake commuter rail line. A northern concourse, with a new island platform and station track, on the CSX Aberdeen Subdivision is planned for the future Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor, dependent on reestablishment of the CSX S-Line between Norlina and Petersburg, VA.[14][41][42]

Phase IIEdit

On the southwest corner of West Street and Hargett Street, GoTriangle plans to build a bus terminal, referred to as Raleigh Union Station Bus (RUS Bus) on a 1.77-acre (0.72 ha) site. While the layout and cost of the bus station have not been finalized, preliminary plans include a mixed-use development with ground floor retail, as well as a parking garage, and offices above the station. Once completed, the facility will serve as a secondary Downtown Raleigh hub for GoRaleigh, and GoTriangle, supplementing the existing GoRaleigh Station at Moore Square.[43][39]


  1. ^ "Bikes on Board". NCDOT. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  2. ^ "Raleigh Union Station Open for Business with Amtrak Train Service Underway" (Press release). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Transportation. July 10, 2018. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  3. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2018, State of North Carolina" (PDF). Amtrak. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2017, State of North Carolina" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  5. ^ "State Fact Sheets". Amtrak. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  6. ^ "The Official City of Raleigh Portal". City of Raleigh. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
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  11. ^ Burns, Matthew (September 4, 2013). "Raleigh transit hub gets federal grant". Raleigh, NC: WRAL-TV. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  12. ^ "Raleigh Union Station". Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  13. ^ "Great Rail Starts at the station". Planning Magazine (Subscription). May 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Proposed Raleigh Union Station - Phase I and Associated Track Improvements" (PDF). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Transportation. March 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  15. ^ Geary, Bob (June 30, 2011). "DOT: We got yer Raleigh rail transit right here ..." Indy Week. Durham, NC. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  16. ^ Garfield, Matt (June 30, 2011). "Building could save rail hub - Real Estate News". News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  17. ^ Garfield, Matt (September 21, 2012). "Federal official pledges more support for Raleigh train station". News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  18. ^ Siceloff, Bruce (November 9, 2012). "NC DOT advances plans for new Raleigh Amtrak station". News & Observer. Raleigh, NC. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Raleigh Union Station Fact Sheet" (PDF). City of Raleigh. April 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  20. ^ "Officials Formally Kick Off Construction of Raleigh Union Station". City of Raleigh. May 8, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  21. ^ "NCDOT Rail Division The Rail Report, April 2016" (PDF). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  22. ^ "NCDOT: Raleigh Union Station". Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
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  24. ^ "Unlocking Raleigh's New Front Door". Triangle Business Journal. January 11, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "Raleigh Union Station Dedication Ceremony to be Held April 30" (Press release). City of Raleigh. April 24, 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
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  27. ^ "1938 Aerial of Wake County, NC (Index 14-21)". USDA Historical Aerial Photos, UNC University Libraries. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
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  29. ^ "Five North Carolina Railroad Stations and Other Railroad and Traction Structures in". Piedmont and Western Railroad Club. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
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  36. ^ "Bus Service to Raleigh Union Station". Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  37. ^ "Route 13 - Chavis Heights". Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  38. ^ "R-LINE Free Downtown Circulator". Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  39. ^ a b "Raleigh Union Station, Phase I + II" (PDF). October 2, 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  40. ^ Kevin McKinney (November 28, 2018). "North Carolina's Successful Alternative Approach to Rail". Passenger Train Journal.
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External linksEdit