The “S-Line is part of a broader vision to connect rail service from the northeast to the South with high-speed rail running through the region to Miami.
Construction on the new line is still years away, but the new funding secured the corridor from Raleigh to Ridgway, near the Virginia border, currently owned by freight railroad CSX, the News & Observer has reported.
“Developing intercity passenger rail service along the ‘S-Line’ corridor will improve mobility, bolster safety, and reduce highway congestion between Raleigh and Richmond,” North Carolina Rep. David Price said in a statement.
“Today’s $47.5 million federal grant to NCDOT for right-of-way acquisition is a critical step forward in this process,” he said.
Price and Rep. G.K. Butterfield, along with Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, announced the new funding on Sept. 21.
“Preserving our rail systems is crucial to future tourism and economic growth, and this funding will help ensure the S-Line in Eastern North Carolina is secure for generations to come,” Tillis said in the statement.
The new 162-mile long corridor for the high-speed rail project will run along a similar route to Amtrak’s Carolina line, running from New York to Charlotte.
While trains in North Carolina can travel as fast as 80 mph on the current tracks, the new lines will be able to go up to 110 mph or faster, James Orthner, the NDOT’s rail division director, told Spectrum News 1.
Virginia already has the property for their stretch of the line from Richmond down to the North Carolina border, he said.
“We see a corridor like this as seeing new ways for communities to connect to each other,” Orthner said.
He was quoted as saying that a new train line can bring economic development, pointing to the building boom around the new train station in Raleigh, which was completed in 2018. A new station is also in the works for Charlotte.