Charlotte, NC (CLT)
Located northeast of downtown in a busy rail yard, the station was built by the Southern Railway in 1962 to house passenger service functions and railroad division offices.
1914 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28206
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 178,749
- Facility Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
- Parking Lot Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
- Platform Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
- Track Ownership: Norfolk Southern Railway
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Located approximately two miles northeast of downtown in the busy Norfolk Southern rail yard, the current Charlotte station was built for the Southern Railway in 1962 to house passenger service functions and railroad division offices. A new station was needed due to a grade-separation project that required the relocation of various railroad facilities.
Designed by local architectural firm Walter Hook Associates, Inc., the structure was meant to be quickly erected and therefore included the use of an exposed precast concrete framing system. A mail building (freight depot) and boiler house were constructed to the northeast as part of the station project.
In addition to the framing components, the exterior incorporates dark brown brick and large, angled precast concrete panels covered in pebble-dash. Interspersed with these heavy, solid elements are walls of glass, which coupled with clerestory windows beneath the roof, allow ample natural light to flood the waiting room. Due to the clerestory windows, from a distance, the roof almost seems to float above the building.
In keeping with the aesthetics of mid-century modern architecture, the station has minimal applied ornamentation. Rather, the materials themselves are the main decorative elements, with the textured pebble-dash panels featuring prominently in the design of the exterior and interior. Inside, terrazzo floors are durable yet elegant, appropriate for a high-traffic area.
By the late 1990s, a strong partnership between Amtrak and the state resulted in enhanced passenger rail services that led to increased ridership. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and Amtrak expanded the Charlotte waiting room in 2002 and added an additional ticket window; new benches later replaced the original wood furniture.
The city has long considered the construction of a new, centrally-located intermodal facility in Uptown Charlotte at the intersection of West Trade St. and Graham St. Known as Charlotte Gateway Station (CGS), it would bring together Amtrak and commuter rail, CATS and intercity buses and the LYNX light rail. The CGS would also link into the Mecklenberg County greenway system to promote access for pedestrians and cyclists. Planners expect the CGS to spur private investment through mixed-use, transit oriented development in the surrounding area. The station would be paid for through a combination of federal, state and local funds, and is expected to be operational by 2020.
NCDOT began acquiring the CGS property in 1998, with a 17-acre acquisition completed in 2004. Interestingly, the block held the old Southern Railway station until it was demolished in 1962 and passenger services moved to the current site now used by Amtrak. In late 2012, the NCDOT selected Hines, an international real estate firm, to serve as the master developer for the CGS. Working with the NCDOT, city, county, Amtrak, regional transit system and other stakeholders, Hines will create a master development plan for CGS and the adjacent area. Once the plan is approved by stakeholders, the project can move into additional planning and design phases before construction begins.
In 2015, Charlotte and the NCDOT won a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the U.S. DOT to support completion of the CGS, including the removal of existing track infrastructure, construction of bridges and retaining structures, and installation of station tracks and signals. The track reconfiguration project will reduce conflict between passenger and freight trains and enable additional arrivals and departures at the planned station.
Charlotte, located in Mecklenburg County, is the largest city in North Carolina. The area was first settled in 1755 when Thomas Polk, uncle of future United States President James K. Polk, built a residence at the intersection of two American Indian trading paths between the Yadkin and Catawba Rivers, the north south route being part of the Great Wagon Road leading from Pennsylvania into the North Carolina foothills. Charlotte was named in honor of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Streilitz, who had become Queen Consort of King George III of England the year before the city’s founding in 1768; today, the city is well-known by its nickname—the “Queen City.”
Until the 1848 California gold rush, Charlotte was a center of gold production, as rich veins of gold were found throughout the area in 1799, the 1800s and even into the 1900s. Coincidentally, Charlotte is now a major U.S. financial center and the nation’s second-largest banking hub. More than 270 Fortune 500 Companies are also represented within the Charlotte metropolitan region, with companies such as Duke Energy and the Bank of America Corporation headquartered in the city.
Charlotte is also a major center for the U.S. motorsports industry. Visitors can attend a race or visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Opened in 2010, it includes popular rotating and permanent exhibits, such as a display of famous race cars from various eras.
The state-owned Piedmont and the state-subsidized Carolinian are primarily financed through funds from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Amtrak provides ticketing and checked baggage services at this station, which is served by eight daily trains.
Station Building (with waiting room)
- 10 Short Term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park for the day only, not overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
Accessible platform is a barrier-free path from the drop-off area outside the station to the station platform.
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
Baggage storage is an area where passengers may store their bags, equivalent to "left luggage" in Europe. A storage fee may apply.
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- High Platform
A high platform is a platform at the level of the vestibule of the train, with the exception of Superliners.
Self-service lockers are available in select stations for passenger baggage storage.
- Long-term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Parking Attendant
- Pay Phones
- Shipping Boxes
- Ski Bags
- Wheelchair Lift
Wheelchair lift is a platform-mounted lift for loading passengers from low platforms onto trains that do not have onboard ramps.
For passengers who cannot walk far or at all, we offer a wheelchair to move the passengers around within the station. At some stations this may be a battery-powered people mover. The wheelchair or other types of movers must not leave the station or be moved onto the train.