Commuter Rail Feasibility Report Released

Public invited to comment on study results and options for moving the region forward 

DURHAM, North Carolina – GoTriangle, the region’s transit authority, seeks to provide the results of the Greater Triangle Commuter Rail Feasibility study to the public and gain input on options for a future commuter rail service identified in the report released, today. The agency is launching a public feedback campaign that includes online surveys, community meetings and public forums in Durham, Cary, Raleigh and Clayton, areas through which the system would run. The proposed Greater Triangle Commuter Rail would help provide a congestion free transportation opportunity and serve a region slated to grow by more than a million people and a corresponding 1 million cars in the next 30 years. 

The commuter rail project includes passenger service at 15 stations along approximately 43 miles of existing North Carolina Railroad corridor between West Durham and Clayton. The study found that the proposed corridor is well placed to serve affordable housing, future land use and travel markets. 

“I want to congratulate our staff, transit partners, Triangle J Council of Government and our consultants on a job well done,” said GoTriangle President and CEO Charles Lattuca. “The strategic thinking, planning, engineering and financial analysis, public outreach and coordination with our partners was outstanding and gives our elected leaders the information they need to make decisions about our transit future.” 

The feasibility study report shows: 

  • The region’s population is projected to grow by a little over a million people between 2020 and 2050, bringing about a million more owned vehicles to the region. 
  • More than 800,000 new jobs are coming to the Triangle region by 2050, and 45 percent are projected to be in or near the proposed commuter rail corridor. 
  • A robust commuter rail system can provide 12,000 to 18,000 trips each day and help relieve some of the projected traffic congestion. 
  • Significant investment in new rail infrastructure will be required to support the capacity needed for commuter service, freight service and intercity passenger service and to avoid conflicts with passenger and freight trains already operating in the corridor. 
  • The cost of building a new commuter rail system to serve the entire region is challenging and could be as much as $3.2 billion in the year of expenditure. 

The results of the Greater Triangle Commuter Rail feasibility study provide options for implementation of regional passenger rail service. Due to the high cost and technical challenges associated with delivering the full project at once, the study considered phases for staged implementation in the eastern, central, and western portions of the corridor. With costs varying for each, the three portions include: 

Eastern portion: Implementing service from the Auburn Station in Garner to Raleigh Union Station Central portion: Implementing service from the Raleigh Union Station to the Ellis Road Station Western portion: Implementing service from the RTP Station to the West Durham Station 

Out of the three phases, the western phase has considerable challenges associated with construction including higher cost and a longer implementation time frame. Due to the challenges associated the western phase is being considered for a later stage of implementation. 

The next step in determining the implementation stages is hearing from the public. Local leaders need input on which portion of the project should be considered as the first segment built. Once an initial phase is selected, planning for the second phase will occur. The second phase is planned to begin operations roughly five years after the initial phase begins service. 

The feasibility study and survey can be found at readyforrailnc.com/feasibility

Note to members of the news media: For interviews and additional information, please contact Eric Curry, ECurry@gotriangle.org or 919-632-9326.