Cary is the suburban Amtrak station for the Research Triangle. Cary first became a stop in 1995 when the Piedmont, making a single round-trip between Raleigh and Charlotte began operating stopping at a 200-foot platform along the North Carolina Railroad Tracks. In 1996 a new brick depot opened that was at first shared with a DMV Drivers License Office. By 1997 the Carolinian also began stopping at the station, joining the Piedmont. On October 31, 2005 a new platform opened across the parking lot from the original one along the CSX 'S' Line to allow the Silver Star to also stop at Cary. The tracks for these two routes meet beyond the grade crossing of Academy Street from the station with an overflow parking lot between the tracks just before their single-tracks join each other. Growing ridership led to the conversion of the depot into a fully staffed station that reopened on September 1, 2011 complete with an Amtrak agent and baggage service. Baggage service for the Silver Star was delayed a few months while the ends of its platform was modified to allow baggage carts to turn around.
The two platforms are nearly identical and are between the grade-crossings of Harrision Avenue (western end) and Academy Street, although no legal access is from these grade-crossings. Instead the platforms are fully fenced off with two entrances that have gates that are locked when no trains are scheduled. These gates lead to walkways (and a wider area for the baggage carts) that go through a few rows of parking to reach the station house that is in the middle of the parking lots basically equidistant from its two platforms. The only amenities for waiting passengers directly on the platforms are basic black bus shelters that are black with green roofs, and have built in benches. Two are on the Silver Star Platform, B and 3 on the Carolinian/Piedmont Platform, A.
The station house itself is a modern brick building originally built in 1996 with a silver roof that contains a clock tower. The current configuration opened on September 1, 2011 after a $2.2 million renovation. Inside is a waiting room with white walls and wooden benches (with armrests to avoid sleepers). The walls are decorated nicely with some railroad themed photographs. At one end of the station is the Amtrak ticket office and baggage check area where the rear wall is painted blue with a modern Amtrak logo. Attached to the depot is a small bus waiting area that leads out to a wide porch area along the southside (that is the closest thing to the front of the depot) of the depot along Hillsboro Street that is a through driveway through the station. Here and a bus shelter across the street is the hub of Cary Transit, the local bus service provider. Triangle Transit Regional Routes also serve the station with service to Raleigh about hourly Monday through Saturday (service ends at 7:00pm) and direct connecting service to Durham and Chapel Hill during rush hours only.
Photos 1-20 taken on 15 July, 2014; 21 & 22: 16 July, 2014