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Burlington, N.C., Amtrak station gets money for improvements

(The following appeared on the Times-News website on September 25, 2010.)

BURLINGTON, N.C. — Work to improve Burlington’s train station should begin this fall or winter, with about $685,000 worth of improvements being added there.

The station, an Amtrak hub on the Raleigh-to-Charlotte line, will get a new backup electric generator, video security system and passenger information display system. The size of the boarding platform will be doubled in length, allowing the train to stop only once to board and unload passengers.

The train currently has to stop twice in Burlington when loading and unloading, said Patrick Simmons, director of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Rail Division.

Extending the platform will cost about $345,000.

The additions are part of $43.4 million going to nine Piedmont stations this fall. The money is part of $545 million awarded to North Carolina’s railroads earlier this year for better commuter service between Charlotte and Washington, D.C. — dubbed the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor.

Construction here should be complete by early 2012, according to a press release from the rail division.

Projects in Cary, High Point and the Capital Rail Yard in Raleigh will also begin this fall and winter. Other projects in Charlotte, Kannapolis, Salisbury, Raleigh, Durham and Greensboro will be completed by early 2014.

Speeding up passenger service in Burlington and elsewhere will help the state add a fourth commuter train running daily from Raleigh to Charlotte by 2017. Part of the $545 million awarded to the state is also being used to straighten tracks and add a second set of tracks along two miles in Haw River and Graham.

The North Carolina Railroad, a private group focused on improving access and service of the state’s trains, originally paid for upgrades at Burlington’s train depot.

Monday, September 27, 2010

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