Check it out: a new high-speed rail line is going to connect two major Southern cities, Raleigh, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia, as reported by Travel + Leisure. That means you’d be able to indulge in sweets at the Videri Chocolate Factory in Raleigh, then hop on a train to chase it down with a pint from a craft brewery on the Richmond Beer Trail.
A federal grant in the amount of $58 million was given to begin engineering work on the rail corridor between Raleigh and Petersburg, Virginia, reports AP News, with plans to eventually extend to Richmond.
Such an undertaking won’t happen overnight; officials estimate that over the next three to seven years, trains capable of speeding along at 110 mph will start making stops in Wake Forest, North Carolina. The line will ultimately create intercity passenger rail service on a state-owned route that will connect underserved communities and improve on Amtrak’s Silver Meteror travel times.
This grant was part of the much larger $368 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grants program announced by the Biden administration, that funds 46 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia. ‘These investments will play a crucial role in modernizing our country’s rail infrastructure and strengthening supply chains, helping to reduce congestion and get people and goods where they need to go quickly and more affordably,’ reads the US Department of Transportation announcement.
Other grant winners included Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland; southwest Kansas; the Florida panhandle; Michigan’s Great Lakes Corridor; and the University of Delaware, which is partnering with historically-black Morgan University to create a railroad engineering degree program.
At a time when other states like California are trying to get their high-speed rail ducks in a row, this plan seems promising for updating the US’s rail travel infrastructure.