Railway Plan Gathers Steam

Railway Plan Gathers Steam

Goldsboro City Councilman Charles Gaylor says it could be “transformative” for Goldsboro. The Chairwoman of the County Board of Commissioners calls it “an integral building block for the future of not only our county but the entire southeast region of North Carolina.”

It’s the idea of rail service between Wilmington and Goldsboro.

The County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution this morning calling on the state of North Carolina to consider bringing rail service back to Goldsboro. Goldsboro’s Union Station greeted passengers from 1909 to 1968. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Still, the plan faces challenges. Not the least of which is the condition of Union Station itself.

It was stabilized and windows were covered up by the North Carolina Department of Transportation in 2008, which briefly owned the property. The city now owns the station, according to city documents. The Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority operates a bus terminal adjacent to Union Station.

Wayne County Commissioner Williams notes that the old Union Station, which is in his district, is not up to code, but the station is physically stable. He remembers taking a tour of the inside a few years ago and notes it was safe enough to walk through. Having a working railway station near the bus terminal is logical.

Williams points out that at least 27 miles of track have been removed in the corridor.

City and County leaders are pushing for the North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division to open up passenger and freight service from Wilmington, through Goldsboro, and on to Raleigh. Rail service elsewhere in the state is economically successful, especially the Charlotte to Raleigh Piedmont Corridor. The county resolution notes 900,000 passengers to the trains in North Carolina in 2016. The Morehead City to Charlotte corridor carries 60 freight trains and 10 passenger trains daily.

This is not a new idea. Commissioner Williams says lots of people have advocated for this in the past but the project never gained steam. There are lots of groups including state and federal lawmakers who would need to come together to make it happen.