All aboard! Amtrak announces goal to bring trains to Wilmington

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Planes, trains, and automobiles. Wilmington used to have access to all three.

“The last passenger train to come through here was actually in the 60’s,” explained Railroad Museum tour guide, Kendyl Cosgrove. “And after that the Atlanta coastline ripped up all passenger tracks, they moved down to Florida.”

And after a recent Amtrak proposal, it might have access to all three again.

After President Joe Biden unveiled his two trillion dollar infrastructure plan, Amtrak reveal one of their own. One the goals involves connected a passenger route from Raleigh to Wilmington, something Wilmington Chamber of Commerce President, Natalie English, said could be good for business.

“Any investments in transportation infrastructure right now would be a great addition to our economy,” said English.

Mike Kozlosky with the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization said the city has been in talks for awhile to reinvigorate the railroad system. According to a 2005 study, a Southeastern NC railroad connected to Raleigh is feasible.

One proposed site is the abandoned rail bed behind Brunswick Street. Residents near the rail bed are split on the possibility.

“I came from Cary, so I for a long time have wanted something like this,” said UNCW graduate student, Lauren Cromi. “Wilmington really started to grow once I-40 was created, and so I think that would be really beneficial. It would help the Wilmington economy.”
“Eh. We’re kind of on the fence with it. We’re concerned with noise with the train and property values,” Jonathan Murphy, a Brunswick Street homeowner said.
According to Andrew McDowell, a new resident, “I think trains are a great way to go about. I’ve traveled extensively in Europe and trains are very important.”

Amtrak’s 15 year plan will hinge on whether Biden’s plan goes through Congress, and whether he secures necessary funding.

In response, the NCDOT stated in part:

“We appreciate President Biden recognizes the great importance of transportation infrastructure…. That includes…. welcoming new innovations, included expanded rail service. We will follow his proposal as it makes its way through Congress.”

The funding ultimately determining whether the project is derailed, or gets the green light.

According to the Wilmington Metropolitan Planning Organization, if this goes through, plans are also in the works for a transit station on the corner of Campbell and Hanover streets.

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