High-speed rail could whisk passengers from CLT to ATL in 2 hours


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — That ride from Charlotte to Atlanta might get less stressful soon. There are talks of a high-speed rail being put in between the two major cities. 

The Federal Railroad Administration, in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Transportation, is seeking public comment on Thursday on the development of a high-speed rail line from the Queen City to Atlanta that would begin at the Gateway Station transportation hub now under construction in uptown. 

Three possible routes are under consideration, although The Charlotte Observer notes there is currently no federal or state construction funding. The three alternative routes under consideration have estimated costs of between $2 billion and $15 billion.

Alternative 1 – Southern Crescent; following the NS railroad corridor which hosts the existing Amtrak Crescent long-distance service between Charlotte, NC and Atlanta, GA;

Alternative 2 – I-85; following the I-85 right of way between Gastonia, NC and Suwanee, GA and transitioning to existing railroad rights of way in the approaches to the Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC termini; and

Alternative 3 – Greenfield; development of a new “greenfield” high-speed rail corridor between Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC and transitioning to existing railroad rights of way in the approaches to the Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, NC termini.

A recent study showed if made a reality, the high-speed rail could connect Charlotte to Atlanta at speeds of up to 220 mph and in as little as two hours’ travel time. Typical drive-time between the two cities on I-85 take more than four hours. 

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, the exact alignments and routes for the termini of the alternatives have not yet been finalized and will be further defined in the future; however, each of the alternatives will include service to downtown and airport stations in both Atlanta and Charlotte. In particular, the project will consider connectivity between a downtown Atlanta passenger station and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, and between the proposed Charlotte Gateway Station and Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.


The local Charlotte meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 24 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Metrolina Transportation Management Center, 2327 Tipton Drive. 

Comments can also be filed online by clicking here

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