Though the light rail may be dead, not all is finished with transit development in Orange County. With state funding secured, Hillsborough is beginning to progress its plans for its own train station — aiming to expand local access to regional transportation.
Hillsborough sits in the center of Orange County, roughly equidistant from Amtrak train stations offering passenger services in Burlington and Durham. According to Town Planning Director Margaret Hauth, the train station has been an object of discussion for almost 10 years, but in recent years, the town has secured $8.1 million in funding from the N.C. Department of Transportation, from the Orange County transit tax and from the town itself.
“(The funding) is still under development because there is some interest in doing some improvements to the rail lines,” Hauth said.
Hauth said due to a curve in the rail lines, the North Carolina Railroad (NCRR) would like to adjust the rail alongside any construction for the station itself. She said she thinks the amount of funding will increase as curve realignment plans are added to the discussion.
NCRR owns the tracks around which the station would be built, and it has partnered with Amtrak and Norfolk Southern to operate passenger services and freight transportation, respectively, along the statewide corridor. Amtrak would offer two passenger routes providing daily routes between Charlotte, Raleigh and New York City.