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Piedmont (train)

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Title: Piedmont (train)  
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Piedmont (train)

A state-owned EMD F59PH leads the Piedmont into High Point on an autumn day in 2012.
Service type Inter-city rail
Status Active
Locale North Carolina
First service May 26, 1995
Current operator(s) Amtrak,
Ridership 466 daily
170,266 total (FY13)[1]
Start Raleigh, North Carolina
Stops 7
End Charlotte, North Carolina
Distance travelled 173 miles (278 km)
Average journey time 3 hrs, 10 mins
Service frequency Twice daily
Train number(s) (73/74/75/76)
On-board services
Class(es) One class, coach
Disabled access Fully acessible
Baggage facilities Checked Baggage Available at Selected Stations
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Operating speed 79 miles per hour (127 km/h) maximum; 55 miles per hour (89 km/h) average, including stops
Track owner(s) NCRR
Timetable number(s) 73/74/75/76
Route map
Dist. Station
0 mi Raleigh
9 mi 
14 km 
26 mi 
42 km 
60 mi 
97 km 
84 mi 
135 km 
97 mi 
156 km 
High Point
131 mi 
211 km 
146 mi 
235 km 
173 mi 
278 km 

The Piedmont or Piedmont Service is a twice-daily passenger train operated by Amtrak and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) between Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina. Operation began in May 1995. North Carolina owns the rolling stock used on the Piedmont, unlike the Carolinian which uses Amtrak rolling stock.


North Carolina developed the Piedmont as a follow-on to the successful Carolinian, which had entered service in early 1990. Officials sought to add a second daily round-trip between Charlotte and Raleigh. In the fall of 1990, the board of transportation approved the acquisition of five used passenger cars and the leasing of two diesel locomotives. The board planned to have the second train enter service by early 1992.[2]

The Piedmont (as the train came to be called) faced numerous delays. Norfolk Southern, which leased the track, insisted that the state construct a wye in Charlotte for turning the two trains around. At the time, the Carolinian had continued 10 miles (16 km) south to Pineville and turned around there. In 1993, the cost of the wye plus land purchase was estimated at $200,000; by late 1994, this grew to $695,000, plus $1.5 million for a maintenance facility in Raleigh.[3][4] The Piedmont finally began operating on May 26, 1995.[5]

After delays in refurbishing the motive power and passenger cars, an additional Piedmont began operating on June 5, 2010[6][7][8] With the addition of the second train, Amtrak rebranded the route Piedmont Service to reflect the multiple daily frequencies.[6]

On March 22, 2011, it was announced that an agreement between NCDOT, Amtrak, Norfolk Southern and the North Carolina Railroad had been reached that would allow for $461 million in grants from the federal government to be used in upgrading infrastructure.[9] The money would be used to add additional double track and passing sidings, as well as reducing curves, resulting in a 13-minute reduction in travel time.[9] Improvements, and the new Raleigh station, are scheduled to be completed by 2017, and two new daily trains will be added to the route.[10][11]

Route details

The Piedmont operates over North Carolina Railroad (leased to Norfolk Southern Railway) trackage:

Rolling stock

Close-up view of two state-owned coaches on the Piedmont.

The motive power for the Piedmont has been provided by six state-owned locomotives, of which two are EMD F59PHIs, numbered 1755 (City of Salisbury) and 1797 (City of Asheville); four are EMD F59PHs, numbered 1810 (City of Greensboro), 1859 (City of High Point), 1866 (City of Durham) and 1893 (City of Burlington) originally used by GO Transit of Toronto, Ontario, Canada & rebuilt by American Motive Power.[12] NCDOT formerly operated 2 GP40PH-2's rebuilt by AMF. 1768 (City of Charlotte); originally B&O GP40 4008; it was sold to the Virginia Railway Express and became VRE V24.[12] 1792 (City of Raleigh); originally L&N GP40 3006; Wrecked in the Mebane accident & everything except the EMD 645 engine, bell, & horn were scrapped. Locomotives from Amtrak's national fleet, such as the GE P42DC, may also be used.[13]

State-owned passenger cars on the Piedmont are refurbished coach cars originally built by Pullman-Standard and the St. Louis Car Company in the 1960s for the Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific. There are four lounge/baggage cars and one coach/baggage car originally built by the St. Louis Car Company in the 1950s and used by the United States Army.

All rolling stock has been painted in special North Carolina livery (different from the national Amtrak livery). The color scheme, of blue and silver with red accents, was based on the North Carolina flag.


During fiscal year (FY) 2013, the Piedmont carried a total of 170,266 passengers, a 4.7% increase over FY 2012's total of 162,657 passengers. The train had a total revenue of $3,325,948 during FY 2013, an increase of 8.1% over FY 2012's revenue of $3,077,031.[1]

Fiscal Year Ridership Ridership Change
(year to year)
Revenue Revenue Change
(year to year)
2009 68,427 $1,119,573[14]
2010 99,873 +46.0% $1,556,873[14] +39.1%
2011 140,016 +40.2% $2,498,540[15] +60.5%
2012 162,657 +16.2% $3,077,031[16] +23.2%
2013 170,266 +4.7% $3,325,948[1] +8.1%

Station stops

Amtrak Piedmont (interactive map)
State Town/City Station Connections
North Carolina Raleigh Raleigh Amtrak: Silver Star, Carolinian
CAT Buses
Cary Cary Amtrak: Silver Star, Carolinian
C-Tran Buses
Triangle Transit: 301, 303.
Durham Durham Amtrak: Carolinian
DATA: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16
Triangle Transit: 400, 405, 700, DRX.
Burlington Burlington Amtrak: Carolinian
Greensboro Greensboro Amtrak: Crescent, Carolinian
GTA, PART, and Greyhound Buses
High Point High Point Amtrak: Crescent, Carolinian
Thruway Motorcoach to Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Hi tran(Broad Avenue Terminal), PART, and Greyhound Buses
Salisbury Salisbury Amtrak: Crescent, Carolinian
Kannapolis Kannapolis Amtrak: Carolinian
Charlotte Charlotte Amtrak: Crescent, Carolinian
CATS: 11


  1. ^ a b c "AMTRAK SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD AND MOVES THE NATION’S ECONOMY FORWARD" (PDF download). Amtrak. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "DOT approves funds for Raleigh-Charlotte train".  
  3. ^ "More delays put second Tar Heel passenger train service off track".  
  4. ^ "New train won't start on schedule".  
  5. ^ McDowell, Edwin (June 7, 1995). "Business Travel; There have been 10 billion passengers since that first commercial flight across Tampa Bay in 1914".  
  6. ^ a b Bob Johnston (May 2010). "North Carolina debuts Piedmont Service". Trains Magazine (Kalmbach Publishing). 
  7. ^ "NCDOT Announces Two Additional Mid-Day Passenger Trains Between Raleigh and Charlotte to Begin June 5". North Carolina Department of Transportation. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  8. ^ "New mid-day train boosts North Carolina's Amtrak ridership". Progressive Railroading. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "North Carolina reaches fast-train deal". Trains Magazine. 22 March 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  10. ^ Siceloff, Bruce (30 September 2013). "Rail funds will speed Raleigh's Union Station, add more trains to Charlotte". The News & Observer. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Piedmont Improvement Program". NCDOT. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  12. ^ a b List of Piedmont equipment owned by NCDOT (PDF format)
  13. ^ Amtrak Piedmont 75 arrives into Durham NC (YouTube video)
  14. ^ a b "Amtrak Sets New Ridership Record, Thanks Passengers for Taking the Train" (PDF download). Amtrak. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "Amtrak Ridership Rolls up Best-ever Records" (PDF download). Amtrak. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Amtrak-Sets-New-Ridership-Record-FY2012". Amtrak. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 

External links

  • Piedmont and CarolinianAmtrak -
  • NCDOT Rail Division
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