Northbound Carolinian pulling in to High Point.
|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|Locale||Northeastern United States/Southern United States|
|First service||May 12, 1990|
Amtrak in partnership with the|
North Carolina Department of Transportation
|Ridership||870 (FY13 daily avg.)|
|Annual ridership||317,550 (FY13)|
|Start||New York Penn Station|
|End||Charlotte (Amtrak station)|
|Distance travelled||704 miles (1,133 km)|
|Rolling stock||Amfleet cars|
|Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern/NCRR|
The Carolinian is a daily passenger train that runs between Charlotte, North Carolina and New York City. The train began operation in 1990 and is jointly funded and operated by Amtrak and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. A previous iteration operated between 1984-1985. Onboard services include coach, business class, and a cafe car. The train operates over the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington, D.C. Intermediate stops in North Carolina include Rocky Mount, Wilson, Selma, Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury, and Kannapolis.
During fiscal year 2013, the Carolinian carried over 317,550 passengers, a 3.6% increase over FY2012 (306,419 passengers) and a 3.4% increase over FY2011 (307,213 passengers). The line had a total revenue of $19,841,847 during FY2013, an increase of 6.4% over FY2012.
Amtrak first introduced the Carolinian on October 28, 1984, in partnership with the state of North Carolina. It was originally a section of the Palmetto, which ran between New York and Savannah, Georgia. It ran from Charlotte to Raleigh, where it stopped at the old Seaboard Air Line Railroad station. From there, it ran to Henderson to Collier Yard south of Petersburg, Virginia. At Richmond, Virginia, the Carolinian joined the Palmetto for the journey to New York. North Carolina supported the Carolinian with a $436,000 yearly subsidy. It was the first direct Raleigh—Charlotte service in 30 years and the first North Carolina-specific service in 20 years. An early alternative name for the service was the Piedmont Palmetto. Amtrak discontinued the Carolinian on September 3, 1985, after North Carolina declined to renew its support for another year. Although ridership was higher than projected, revenues were not: most passengers traveled within North Carolina and did not continue to the Northeast. Supporters of the Carolinian blamed Amtrak and the state for not marketing the train properly.
Amtrak and North Carolina re-launched the Carolinian on May 12, 1990. Like the original, it was originally a section of the Palmetto', only this time the split occurred in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, south of Richmond. In April 1991 Amtrak made the Carolinian a full-fledged day train running intact to New York along the Northeast Corridor. While the Palmetto runs through from Richmond to Alexandria, Virginia; the Carolinian stops at Fredericksburg and Quantico before continuing on to Alexandria.
In 1995, the Carolinian was joined with a sister train, the Piedmont, a regional service which runs on the same route of this train between Raleigh and Charlotte. Until 2004, the Carolinian also had a stop at BWI Marshall Airport Rail Station.
In 2017, NCDOT began considering an extension of the Carolinian to New Haven, Connecticut. The extension would reduce or eliminate the need for NCDOT to fund the train and would provide an earlier southbound train from New Haven than currently operates.
The duration of the journey is around 13 hours 30 minutes. In its current form, the northbound Carolinian leaves Charlotte at breakfast time, arriving in Raleigh just after rush hour, passing through Virginia in the afternoon before arriving in Washington just before the afternoon rush, in Philadelphia at dinner time and New York in mid-evening. Southbound trains leave New York at breakfast time, reaching Richmond at lunchtime before arriving at rush hour in Raleigh and mid-evening in Charlotte.
The Carolinian typically operates with 4 Amfleet I coaches, an Amfleet café, an Amfleet business class car, and a Viewliner baggage car. Motive power is provided by a GE P42DC diesel locomotive south of Washington, D.C.. Service between Washington and New York is handled by a Siemens ACS-64 electric locomotive. Maximum seating in such a configuration is 346, split between business class and reserved coach.