News & Media

City of Charlotte, Norfolk Southern Said To Strike Deal For Red Line Commuter Rail

By Jen Wilson – Associate Editor, Charlotte Business Journal

City leaders reportedly have reached an agreement with Norfolk Southern Corp. (NYSE: NSC) that would allow a long-planned commuter rail line to move forward.

CBJ news partner WSOC-TV reports that an email from Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones confirmed a nonbinding agreement to acquire rights to use existing railroad tracks owned by Norfolk Southern. That would be a key step in advancing the Red Line Commuter Rail, which would run from uptown Charlotte to suburban towns in the Lake Norman area.

Talks on the Red Line were recently revived when Norfolk Southern — after a decade of refusing to allow use the tracks — signaled a willingness to negotiate. Jones’ email indicated the city could finalize a deal by the end of September.

This map shows a possible route for the future Red Line Commuter Rail, as of April 2024.

“The business community has continued its dialogue with state legislative leaders, and they have indicated they could support enabling sales tax legislation in the current short session,” Jones said, per WSOC. “Should a subsequent referendum pass, it would generate billions of dollars to build out our bus and rail system, as well as improve our road infrastructure. This is all possible if we can come together as a region now.”