Union Station: Raleigh's Multi-Modal Transit Center

Last updated Jun. 13, 2016 - 3:30 pm
  • Aerial View
  • Canopy at Martin West
  • East from Ticketing
  • Lower Entry
  • Platform Arrival
  • Plaza Stair Entry
  • Public Plaza
  • West to Ticketing

Raleigh Union Station is a joint initiative of NCDOT’s Rail Division and the City of Raleigh, with assistance from GoTriangle. The project is among many improvements to the railroad corridor between Raleigh and Charlotte that will increase capacity, efficiency, and safety.

“Our administration is committed to investing in infrastructure and transportation to help connect all regions of North Carolina with jobs and opportunity,” Gov. McCrory said. “Breaking ground on Raleigh’s Union Station is one more example of how the state is working with cities and local communities to achieve this goal. This multi-modal transit station will create jobs and connect people throughout our state for generations to come.”

Scheduled to open in 2017, the new passenger rail station will replace the existing Amtrak Station on Cabarrus Street, which routinely experiences overcrowding and lacks the adequate platform size to serve longer trains. Raleigh Union Station has been contemplated in planning documents since the 1990s and is a significant component in the City’s draft Downtown master plan. Raleigh Union Station is anticipated to stimulate additional development in the city’s Warehouse District on the west end of Downtown.

“The Union Station project stands to change the economic development potential of the Warehouse District,” Mayor McFarlane said. “The station will replace what is currently an underutilized collection of warehouses and vacant land with a new city landmark that will not only serve as a multi-modal transportation hub but also a civic space with potential for special events and expanded dining and entertainment options Downtown.”

Current Activity

At the March 3, 2015 Council meeting, the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) team was authorized to proceed with bidding and finalization of a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) not to exceed $44,737,870.

In July and September of 2015, bids were received on the project which exceeded the estimate. The bid yielded a GMP of $60,000,000, which yielded a project gap of $15,300,000 when compared to the March estimate. Value engineering and steel rebid resulted in project savings, lowering the GMP to $54,700,000, leaving a $10,000,000 gap. Project partners have addressed the funding gap by identifying scope reductions totaling approximately $2,900,000. Remaining additional funding of $7,200,000 is required.

Various options were presented to Council at the Work Session on Oct. 20 and at the Nov. 3 City Council meeting, full funding, no scope reduction for Raleigh Union Station was approved with gap funding of $7,200,000, and a revised total project budget of $54,700,000.


The total budget for the Union Station project is $79.8 million, with an additional $1 million held in reserve. The City’s total contribution to the Union Station project will be $18 million to $19 million. The State’s contribution to the project will total $9 million. The remaining balance will be funded by the Federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and two grants totaling $38 million from the USDOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.

25 Year Vision

Raleigh Union Station fits within Gov. McCrory’s 25 Year Vision for North Carolina by supporting the expansion of mass transit options in the central region. Understanding that demographic changes are already occurring, the 25 Year Vision outlines solutions which support expansion of mass transit in high growth areas such as Raleigh to address congestion and land development concerns. Ideally, future phases in partnership with Triangle Transit and others will accommodate additional transportation modes.


On March 3, the Raleigh City Council authorized proceeding with a modified scope and funding package for the Union Station Project. The recommended plan meets the City’s goals and maintains many of the elements included in the “full-build option” presented to the Council on January 20. The plan increases the funds available for contingencies, and retains the project’s signature design elements, retail and civic spaces, and higher efficiency equipment. The plan reduces the scope of some elements, including overhead utility work, revised platform material choice and construction method, and a modified stormwater garden.

It is estimated that the project will create 143 short-term jobs, generating $4.08 million in short-term salaries. The project should also create a “multiplier effect” of an additional $5.53 million in indirect impacts resulting from household expenditures within the region. Based on conclusions from other studies regarding the economic impacts due to construction of private transit-oriented development (TOD), the project has the potential to create a total of 44,500 short-term and indirect jobs over a 10-year period.

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