Norfolk Southern provides east-west freight service to the Greater Hickory Area through Catawba and Burke Counties. Passenger rail will be offered in the future to the Greater Hickory Area through Amtrak. Two other short line rail service providers are located in the region. Caldwell Railroad links Norfolk Southern in Hickory to Lenoir in Caldwell County. Caldwell Railroad starts in Hickory and runs through Granite Falls, Sawmills, Hudson and ends in Lenoir. Alexander Railroad links Taylorsville, Hiddenite and Stony Point with Norfolk Southern in Statesville.
Expanding Passenger Service to Western North Carolina
In March 2001, NCDOT adopted a phased plan to extend passenger rail service to Asheville and Western North Carolina. The plan includes renovating or building train stations that incorporate other uses. Current budgetary constraints have prompted the NCDOT to delay the return of passenger rail service to the mountains. In the meantime, the department will continue to work with communities on station renovations and rail safety improvements.