WASHINGTON – The North Carolina Department of Transportation and Amtrak announced today an agreement to continue operating the Piedmont and Carolinian trains beyond Oct. 1, 2013. Federal law enacted in 2008 required both parties to agree to new terms to continue the operation of the state-supported passenger rail service.
The Piedmont operates two daily round trips between Raleigh and Charlotte. The Carolinian operates one daily round trip between New York City and Charlotte, with the state supporting the service between Charlotte and Washington, D.C.
“I want to thank Amtrak and our NC rail team for working together to keep this vital transportation line going for our citizens,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “Our rail lines help spur job growth and keep people connected to healthcare, education, economic centers and tourism destinations.”
“North Carolina recognizes the importance of Amtrak service to the state, and we are pleased these vital services will continue to help the communities grow and prosper,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman. “The North Carolina supported service connects to the Amtrak national system that provides mobility, connectivity, economic development and jobs to the state. We are proud of our partnership with the state of North Carolina.”
The agreement between North Carolina and Amtrak is part of Section 209 of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA), a federal law that requires Amtrak to work with the 19 affected states to establish a consistent cost-sharing methodology for the 28 corridor routes of less than 750 miles in order to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all states.
Starting in late 2010, Amtrak and the Section 209 State Working Group, comprised of representatives from California, Maine, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin, developed a cost-sharing methodology that ultimately received approval for implementation by the Surface Transportation Board. With North Carolina’s announcement, at this time Amtrak has agreements with 12 of the19 affected states.
“With this agreement allowing us to continue operations, NCDOT will continue to strive for ways to make our service more efficient and effective” added Rail Division Director Paul Worley.
North Carolina and other state-supported routes continue to lead the way in ridership growth. For the month of July, the Carolinian ridership increased by 3.9 percent over July 2012, with revenue increasing by 7.9 percent. Ridership for the Piedmont increased by 2.4 percent, with revenue increasing by 7.3 percent.
Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. Amtrak and its state and commuter partners move people, the economy and the nation forward. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. In FY 2014, nearly 31 million passengers traveled on Amtrak on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter (@Amtrak) and check out our blog at blog.amtrak.com.