Raleigh Union Station’s Dedication

Email readers: This blog post has a virtual reality image. Read the post on the blog to see it.Dedication ceremony for Raleigh Union Station on April 30, 2018.

Dedication ceremony for Raleigh Union Station on April 30, 2018.

On Monday, April 30, 2018, a dedication ceremony was held for Raleigh Union Station. Current and former politicos, city workers, media, Raleigh city aficionados, and representatives from the railroad fandom gathered in the new station to celebrate the completion of the project.

Now that the station has been dedicated, it’ll be put to use in June when Amtrak starts operating out of the new station with 10 daily trains. (up from 8 currently) Stay tuned for a city-planned event to continue to show it off to the greater community.

Dedication ceremony for Raleigh Union Station on April 30, 2018.

Dedication ceremony for Raleigh Union Station on April 30, 2018.
360 Photo of the interior of Raleigh Union Station

The new station is wide open with an abundance of natural light. The staircases are a joy to go up with each level showing a new view into and out of the station. The second-floor mezzanine facing north shows a unique perspective of the warehouse district and the Boylan Wye, perfect for train watching.

Mezzanine level at Raleigh Union Station.

Mezzanine level at Raleigh Union Station.

View of the platform from Raleigh Union Station.

View of the platform from Raleigh Union Station.

No doubt, Raleigh Union Station should impress and is such a wonderful gateway to our downtown and city. Expect more content in the near future as the station is up and running.

Comments

‘Morning Leo — thanks for the update!
This new station is really quite a gem. I love that the old warehouse was re-purposed for the train station, and I think it will be a landmark for generations to come. I look forward to seeing it in person!

If we aren’t going to get light rail, then there really should be a dedicated BRT lane(s) down 40 to the airport and further out to RTP.

BRT could stop at Aviation or Airport, transferring people to a shuttle that run between the stop and RDU. Same with RTP; drop people off at shuttles that can run in various directions around the park.

Rail is still very much in the plans, as the goforward.org website illustrates. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a more locally-focused service than the rail and costs less in upfront capital, so that’s what is getting presented to the public first.

Seriously guys by the time we build light rail and cut the ribbon on it there will be flying taxis. Mark my comment.

Here’s a public input survey for everyone to fill out regarding BRT:

https://www.publicinput.com/waketransit

@Glen, rail will come later. Only one side of the platform at RUS will be used for Amtrak service, the other side is built for commuter rail.

Awesome article and pictures Leo! My thanks kind Sir!
You always do us, downtown Raleigh and the greater Raleigh area proud with your continued great & hard work ethic and talent!

Wake County is developing a bus system that works like light rail:

http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article210159759.html

http://goforwardnc.org/county/wake-county/the-plan/

Not sure if that is particular good news. Although a push in the right direction this could delay/cancel light rail plans.

With this plan you get a bus service to RDU (not one of the BRT links) so say your flight is around rush hour in the morning you sit +45min with the bus in traffic. A rail link to RDU should be a no brainer

Wake County passed a transportation bond last year that included a rail line from Garner to downtown Durham in addition to additional buses. I, for one, voted in favor primarily for the rail link. If Wake County has decided to drop the rail portion, then voters should revolt and demand a public explanation.

@Glen, I also think that the proposed rail is a heavy commuter rail and not a light rail.

Thanks Leo! That outdoor mezzanine “boardwalk” would be a perfect landing spot for the Wye Line IMO. *crosses fingers*

Yeah, Wake abandoned light rail about a decade ago. There aren’t any plans to put light rail anywhere in the county. The commuter rail is going to be built later because it costs a lot more money. The current transit plan only goes out to 2030, so light rail might be part of a later plan, but I really doubt it.

Saw in the news that the bus line is gonna take another 9 years and the Sir Walter Raleigh is going to stay housing for old poor people. Great job, Raleigh….

OK, what is that sloping building right next to the train tracks. I saw it being built, I see it in your photos, and I’m still not sure. is that the ramp to go under the tracks>>>

@Jeff. Regarding the Sir Walter. What an absolute wasted opportunity. Does anyone understand if this funding is just a short-term deal, meaning they could still pull it from a potential buyer? Please let that be the case. As a taxpayer, we could house these folks in much more affordable options with access to amenities without leaving that block completely underwhelming with that crappy chick-fil a, sketchy bail bonds shops etc.

The transit plan that was passed in 2016 is a 10 year plan that increases bus service first, adds BRT on 4 corridors second, and adds all day rail service from Garner to Durham third. All are currently being planned and will be fully implemented by year 10, but they are starting with the lower hanging fruit of increased bus service and somewhat easier to implement BRT.

Rail links to airports don’t create ridership at a level that justifies the expense. Even in large cities with massive airports. Toronto’s UPX is one such example.

I believe, if implemented well, the current planned mix of frequent buses, BRT and Rail could be the backbone or starter system of a well functioning regional transit system. We’ll need to add significantly to it, but it is a huge step in the right direction.

@David, It’s always been my understanding that rail links to airports have traditionally been killed by authorities representing taxis. I have to laugh that their business got stolen anyway by ride share, despite all their efforts to protect themselves.
While transferring from one sort of transit to another is never a good idea, I can imagine an airport bus shuttle at rail’s closest station to RDU, like is done with LaGuardia in NY at the end of the closest subway line.

Some interesting quotes from the N&O article regarding affordable housing in Sir Walter and Southeast Raleigh.
-Dickie Thompson on the reason to delay the projects.
“Both of these projects were pulled due to the fact that their cost per unit was so much higher than the other projects that had been presented to us.”
-Then he proceeds to say..
“I had hoped that we could provide these (Sir Walter) residents a more desirable place to live which would include larger units, ample green space and closer proximity to grocery stores, However, I have been informed by city staff that there would be no other place available for these residents to relocate due to the short remaining current lease period at the Sir Walter. I do not want to take the risk of not having a suitable place for these folks to live.”

Sounds like they were caught with their pants down. I find it funny, there’s little to no pressure from the city to have 1 of the 3 land owners in North Hills use their land to provide affordable housing.

@Drew. It sounds like they are trying to buy time for the residents in the Sir Walter. A redevelopment of Glenwood Tower could include better accommodations that will be walkable to groceries and services. I’ve never been in Glenwood Tower, but I hear it’s a dump. It won’t, however, include greenspace that’s closer than the future Devereux Meadows park.

It is absolutely mind boggling that the Sir Walter is not currently the gem of Raleigh’s downtown hotel scene. Especially if there is an actual willing developer/renovator. Fayetteville Street location. Near convention center. Awesome history and architecture. The Raleigh PTB’s need to grow up and find those residents another place to stay ASAP. It’s currently a complete waste and partial eyesore.

Who is the willing developer? Please correct me if I’m wrong but there are none at the moment wanting to convert the Sir Walter into a hotel.

It’s got 21C written all over it though we are no Durham/Louisville/Cincinnati

I thought there was a suitor to restore the Sir Walter. Apparently, the deal fell through in late 2017. Regardless, that old hotel is one of the few Raleigh city treasures in existence. It’s a crime to keep this structure for affordable housing. It was fine in 1980’s when DT Raleigh completely dead. Now, not so much. I believe if the city intervened (even with some incentives), you could find a buyer to restore as a grand old hotel. Would do wonders for downtown.

Looks like the hole in the ground at 611 West South is changing plans, going from 40 townhouses to 88 condos. We’ll see what happens but I’m glad to see the increased density.

Drone video of Kane property next to The Dillion and Union Station
http://www.newsobserver.com/homes/article207832849.html

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