Red Line

Red Line Project Overview

The proposed North Corridor Commuter Rail Project is a new 25-mile commuter rail system operating over existing tracks owned by the Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS) between downtown Charlotte and Mount Mourne, an area immediately south of Mooresville, North Carolina.  The rail line runs though the centers of downtown Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson and Mooresville.  Improvements to the rail line would include replacement of ties and rail, signalization, protection of at-grade crossings, and construction of up to 12 stations and a vehicle maintenance facility (VMF).

The Service would consist of 20-30 minute headways during the morning and afternoon rush hour period and hourly service during the remainder of the day.  The new service is projected to have some 5,000 commuters ride the trains daily to or from Charlotte by 2030.  The vast majority of these commuters currently travel by single-occupancy vehicle along I-77 and/or NC 115 (Old Statesville Road) or US 21 (Statesville Road).

NOTE: The Red Line Task Force (RLTF) is a standing committee established by the Metropolitan Transit Commission in June 2010 to focus on finding alternative means to finance and advance the Red Line rail project. The RLTF is currently preparing a business, funding and financing plan for the project. The information you see on this project page is preliminary engineering work completed to the 30 percent design level prior to the creation of the RLTF. New findings on the Red Line will be made available soon. 

What is Commuter Rail?

Commuter rail transit is proposed for the North Corridor. As the Charlotte region considered opportunities to improve the transit system, commuter rail and light rail were both analyzed.  The differences in the two modes of transit are often misunderstood and thought interchangeable.  In general, light rail travelers move "within" the line for work, shopping, restaurants, and business.  The stations are also located within a mile of each other.  Commuter rail travelers generally travel from outlying areas to the center city for work and stations are located 2-5 miles apart.  

A few points about commuter rail: 

  • Generally defined as passenger train service that operates on existing freight railroad tracks 
  • "Amtrak-like" trains, either with coaches pulled by a locomotive or motorized coaches called diesel multiple units or DMUs
  • Can also accommodate reverse commuters (passengers traveling to suburban areas for work) and other travel times, such as midday, evening and weekend hours
  • Most commuter rail systems are integrated with other transit services, such as bus systems, to encourage transfers throughout the region

Proposed Red Line Station Locations​

Originally, 17 potential station locations along the commuter rail alignment were identified in the Major Investment Study (MIS).   Further analysis has reduced the 17 potential stations to a maximum of 12 initial locations along the commuter rail alignment based on access, site characteristics, compatibility with surrounding development, potential development, and public comments.  All stations will be serviced by the CATS' network of feeder buses. 

Clink the link below to view the proposed station locations for the North Corridor commuter rail project. 

North Commuter Rail Stop Locations


​For examples of commuter rail transit in other cities, visit the following websites: