Trains rule, ya'll. I'm telling you. Sure, they're slower. In exchange, you get a load of room, you can plug in your electronics and actually use them, there's a snack bar that sells alcohol (you can't drink and drive, but you can drink and ride) and there's even a dining car for mealtimes. Plus, there's none of the hassle you get at the airport. You don't have to pay for parking at Charlotte's current train depot. There aren't long lines. You can actually watch your luggage as it's loaded onto the train. And, let's face it, the people watching is wonderful.
Because I love the train so much, I was happy to read this headline: Charlotte-Raleigh train traffic up 200% in the Charlotte Business Journal.
Here's a snippet from the Journal's article, by James Gallagher:
Ridership on trains between North Carolinas two largest cities climbed from 5,258 in June 2009, to 15,426 in June 2010. Amtrak officials credit the surge to the new mid-day trains, which started running June 5. The new service added two more trains to the four already running. Three of the trains run from Raleigh to Charlotte; the others run from Charlotte to Raleigh.
The new service, which takes just over three hours to complete and includes stops in Cary, Durham, Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury and Kannapolis, is expected to attract 43,000 riders in its first year.
Seriously, trains rule. And, as things go, I'm not the only one who thinks so. As I was working on this post, the Catawba Riverkeeper without any prompting from me mentioned the train on Twitter:
So, I asked him how much he paid. While I waited for his response, I looked up the cost of a round-trip ticket from Charlotte to Raleigh: $50! That's it. And that's not even including discounts from AAA or for veterans, or what you'd pay for parking in Raleigh. What a deal. Just wait until we have high-speed trains. You'll love it.
Now, if only we could ride trains all over the region ...
By the way, here's David's (a.k.a. our Riverkeeper's) response from the train: