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Light Rail Between Asheville, NC and Raleigh Report

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Updated: Mar 14th, 2022

North Carolina is a state situated in the Eastern part of the United States of America. According to the 2008 census data, North Carolina was recognized as the third-fastest growing state in United States as well as the state of the Mississippi River. In accordance to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total gross state product was about $400.2 billion. Thus, North Carolina is acknowledged to occupy the ninth position in wealthiest states rating based on terms of gross domestic product.

Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina. It is also belongs to the list of nine municipalities which population of more than 100,000. Due to its quality of life, Raleigh was outstandingly featured in “Top 10 Lists”, including researches and public opinion poll of Forbes, Money Magazine and MSNBC.

Asheville is estimated to be the largest city in western North Carolina, which still continues to grow. In 2007 this city was named as one of the seven places most pleasant for living. It occupied a position in top 12 must-see area sights as well. Other nominations such as “Best Place to Reinvent Your Life”, “Happiest City for Women”, “New Age Mecca” etc. only arouse people’s interest in this city.

In order to see all sights and curious places of the cities mentioned above, one has to get to those places by means of transportation. It should be mentioned that the transport system of North Carolina is presented by international and regional airports, railroads and mass transit systems that satisfy common and personal needs. It is quite evident that the development of transport system was directly connected with the economical and social development after its transition from a colony into state. Most farmers of North Carolina of the XIXth century were limited in production as all extra food could not be delivered to the nearest town. Few navigable rivers could provide speed even lower than speed of horses.

In the fall of 1830, a revolutionary new form of transportation largely developed in England made a triumphant demonstration in neighbouring South Carolina. “Railroads” married steam-powered, self-propelled machines known as “locomotives” to the rails and flanged wheel carriages used by animal-propelled tramways. At speed reaching 20 miles an hour the pace of mankind had changed forever (Coleman, 7).

Speaking about the necessity to install a light rail between Asheville, NC and Raleigh, NC, we should consider one important fact.

The dream of a westward route linking the many regions of North Carolina started in 1851 with the formation of the North Carolina Railroad (Poole, 1).

By building railroads they proclaimed God’s design for the American continent to be completed. From the other hand, railroads building had more practical level: it gave the opportunity to search better life conditions for themselves and their children in the Western part of America.

We should agree with Coleman notices that “even the fiercest competitors in the railroad industry realize that cooperation, rather than confrontation, needed to define their working relationships” (123). Railroad transport services deliver mail, travelers, express freight under one opportune roof and lower costs for all the railroad customers. Thus, the installing a light rail between Asheville, NC and Raleigh, NC would bring the huge benefit not only for those cities but for the state in general.

Unlike any other country, the United States of America is a large enough. Thus, for good industrial and informational development it needs a good system of internal transportation. There is a lot of evidences that the most important in development of transportation system in America was the railroad. The most effective in building, it became later profitable in use.

RailAmerica, Inc. which has its own sphere of influence in North Carolina declares the following: “We ship your food to the warehouse. We haul your steel to the plant. We keep your business moving”. If according to Stover, “western railroads solved the problem of distance, bringing many settlers to the new lands and opening up eastern markets for western agricultural productions” (63), why cannot we adopt the experience of XIXth century in order to make the profit in the XXIst century?

Raleigh possess a vast industrial base including financial services, electronic and telecommunications equipment, paper products, food processing, electrical and medical equipment, electronics and telecommunications technologies and pharmaceuticals. They are all efficient for the human living, comfort and welfare. Thus, the railroad between Asheville, NC and Raleigh NC would provide the industrial products for Asheville inhabitants. This, by-turn, would help Asheville become more developed and more interesting city not for only tourists seeking for “Best Place to Reinvent Your Life”, but also for investors willing to make investments into Asheville local culture and raise its achievements to the higher level through its popularization all over the country.

Raleigh is considered to be a part of North Carolina’s Research Triangle. North Carolina’s Research Triangle is one of the biggest and most successful research parks in a whole country and a main center in the United States researching high technologies and biotechnologies as well. Thus, the railroad between Asheville, NC and Raleigh NC would provide the opportunities for Asheville’s scientists to participate in Research Triangle experiments and elaboration.

In conclusion I would like to agree with the opinion of Spielvogel.

Most important of all in the development of the American transportation was the railroad. Beginning with 100 miles in 1830, by 1860 more than 27,000 miles of railroad tracks covered the United States. This transportation revolution turned the United States into a single massive market for the manufactured goods of the Northeast, the early center of American Industrialization (Spielvogel, 616).

Modern technologies and building projects facilitate the construction of the most complex projects in the most inappropriate places. It concerns the railroads installing as well. The development of transport system accelerated the development of science and progress inventions and technologies.

Today we can create paintings on our laptop computers, put the artwork on a web page, and quickly receive comments about it from all over the globe. There are toy-like vehicles driving over the terrain of Mars, analyzing its surface materials and sending back crystal clear motion pictures in color. For the average citizen, the most plausible explanation of how these things work is that they are acts of magic, yet we have come to take such technological innovations for granted (Baumol, 1).

The reason of installing a light rail between Asheville, NC and Raleigh, NC is more than convincing. This kind of transportation will be useful not only for people travelling but also for business making and obtaining financial profit which, by-turn would influence the general level of cities’ and state’s development and bring them prosperity and success.


Baumol, William J. et al. Good Capitalism, Bad Capitalism, and the Economics of Growth and Prosperity. New York: Yale University Press, 2007.

Coleman, Alan. Railroads of North Carolina. Chicago: Arcadia Publishing, 2008.

Poole, Cary Franklin. A History of Railroading in Western North Carolina. Johnson City: The Overmountain Press, 1995.

Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization: Since 1500. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning, 2008.

Stover, John F. The Chicago History of American Civilization. London: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

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