It Just Might Work: Commuter rail for the Triad

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by Brian Clarey

Not everyone travels fluidly between the nearby cities of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem — those who do we deem “citizens of the Triad.”

The way some people talk about the measly 30 miles or so between South Elm and Trade streets — just a fraction more than a marathon! — you might think that there was some sort of obstacle between them, like a passport check or a bridge with a troll under it.

But I think more people would move between the poles if they could take the train.

If you’re not from around here, you likely already know that train travel, especially between short distances, is the way to go. The track between Greensboro’s Douglas Galyon Depot and Winston-Salem’s Union Station is already laid, with a brief stopover in Kernersville. The whole trip in a slow-moving commuter train would take half an hour, tops, with no traffic.

True, the PART bus runs the loop between Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point, but there’s a couple of problems with it.

For one, it’s the bus. People aren’t into it.

A reliable connection between the cities on existing rail lines builds cross-pollination between the cities.

And for another, it’s not convenient for those of us who don’t restrict our travel between the third- and fourth-largest cities in the state to business hours. The PART bus doesn’t run past 7 p.m. That’s barely enough time to stop for a drink or a bite after work.

There’s an Amtrak run, too, that is also woefully inadequate, running twice a day between Greensboro and High Point.

A reliable connection between the cities on existing rail lines builds cross-pollination between the cities. It would make more sense to live in Winston-Salem and work in Greensboro, or come into Greensboro from Winston-Salem for the evening. It encourages inter-city dating, discourages drunk driving and solves a huge logistical problem once Business 40 shuts down for two years around 2016.

That gives us just enough time to line up a commuter train between Greensboro and Winston-Salem and get people in the habit of riding it.

  • GamerFromJump

    And how, exactly, do people get around once they get to Greensboro or WS. Overpay for cabs or ride the bus that doesn’t go anywhere you want?

    • fax

      I’d rather be able to get to winston by train than not.

  • fax

    This is a fresh idea. Some friends and I were just talking about this last week. Greensboro, Winston, and High Point would be a lot more “alive”, if there was a commuter train

  • Carol A Scippio Taylor

    I think that they should get one because it would create more jobs and more people will move here also more students will come to the surrounding colleges and it just makes good sense to do so.