Mar 5, 2021 - Partners

How to ride the train in Charlotte right now


This content was produced in partnership with NC By Train

Two major state-supported trains connect Charlotte to other cities around the state.

If you’re itching to travel but don’t feel comfortable flying or straying too far from home, the train is a great alternative for day trips or close-by vacations.

Trains are one of the safest modes of transportation. Plus, you can walk around, read, or even work while you ride. Plus, you get to sit back and watch as you pass traffic on the road.

Pro tip: one-way tickets are only $5 for kids aged 2-12 this summer.

Ready to catch a train? Here’s what you need to know. 

Where can I take the train from Charlotte?

There are three lines in Charlotte: the Piedmont (runs from Charlotte to Raleigh), the Carolinian (runs from Charlotte to New York) and the Crescent (runs from New Orleans to New York). These lines connect Charlotte to cities across the state, like:

  • Kannapolis
  • Salisbury
  • High Point
  • Greensboro
  • Burlington
  • Durham
  • Cary
  • Raleigh
  • Rocky Mount
  • Wilson
  • Selma
  • Gastonia

How fast does it go?

Pretty fast. Trains in North Carolina reach a top speed of 79 mph. To put that in perspective, the trip to Raleigh takes 3 hours and 11 minutes vs. 2 hours and 30 minutes driving time, which doesn’t include bathroom breaks and other stops. The trip to Durham takes about 2.5 hours vs. about 2 hours driving time.

How much does it cost?

About as much as gas. The shortest trip you can take (Charlotte to Kannapolis) is $6 one way while the longest trip in NC (Charlotte to Rocky Mount) is $43. Your ticket price will vary depending on the seat or cabin you choose and the level of flexibility you want.

What can I bring with me?

More than you can take on a plane. You’re allowed two personal items (25 lbs. 14 x 11 x 7 inches each) and two carry-on items (50 lbs. and 28 x 22 x 14 inches each). Each additional bag will cost $20.

 Bikes are allowed on board as long as you reserve a spot in advance. Cost varies from $0-$20 depending on the route.

Pets are also allowed as long as they’re well-behaved, weigh less than 20 pounds with a carrier and meet other requirements. The cost is $25 and you must make a reservation in advance.

How do I buy a ticket?

Online or on the Amtrak mobile appthose are the easiest options because you can scan it on your phone the day you travel. You can also buy them at the station, over the phone, or on the train (cash only).

Where is the Charlotte train station?

Off North Tryon Street just outside of Uptown. The exact address is 1914 North Tryon Street.

The station has ticket offices, restrooms, vending machines, and an ATM. It’s recommended you get there 30 minutes in advance (60 if you’re checking a bag). Parking is onsite and free.

What’s the train like?

Like an airplane, but with more freedom. You’re free to move about the train, so you can stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, and go purchase food whenever you want.

There’s free WiFi and food available for purchase, including snacks, coffee, sandwiches and even alcohol (except for Piedmont trains). There are also outlets by the seats, so it’s an ideal setup if you’re hoping to get some work done.

Note: the dining seating is currently closed so you have to eat at your own seat.

Has COVID-19 changed things?

Yes. Masks are required unless you’re actively eating and drinking. The number of bookings on each trip is limited to allow for social distancing and NC By Train has amped up their cleaning routine and filtration systems.

Learn more about traveling NC By Train and purchase tickets here.

This content was produced in partnership with NC By Train


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