Amtrak's Peidmont runs two-daily round trips on the 173 mile corridor from Charlotte to Raleigh, North Carolina. These trains, supplemented by the state supported Carolinian that follows the entire corridor before continuing north to New York City, offer three daily round-trips on the corridor with practical morning, midday, and evening round-trips.
The Piedmont began operations with one daily round-trip on May 26, 1995 and the addition of the second midday round-trip on June 5, 2010. The train has always used it's own North Carolina DOT owned equipment. The equipment are the last Heritage coaches running on Amtrak trains and are conversions of coaches originally built by Pullman Standard and St. Louis Car Company for Kansas City Southern and the Union Pacific in the 1960s, and baggage/lounge/bike/vending cars that were original U.S. Army Hospital Cars built in 1952-1953. Each of the coaches are named after North Carolina flora or fauna (with signs explaining the reasoning for the cars name in each), the service cars are named after water features (Sounds in the Atlantic Ocean and rivers). N.C. DOT owned locomotives (named after the cities, plus Asheville, on the corridor) are also used with a fleet of 8 in used, 2 F59PHIs were built new in 1998, with 6 more F59 and F59PHI locomotives purchased used and rebuilt. The larger than needed fleet of N.C. DOT cars is partially due to expansion programs that will add to more daily Piedmont round-trips.
The train has its own extremely unique feel primarily because of the low-cost way food service is handled. Each train has 2 to 4 coaches that feel like average Amtrak coaches, except the seats are upholstered differently. Every train has a Baggage/Lounge/Bike/Vending car, these cars contain about a half section of booths, a central section containing vending machines (with soda cans - including COKE (not normally avalible on Amtrak) and Pepsi costing just a dollar), and complimentary (your ticket pays for it a sign says) coffee from a simple automated dispenser and a refrigerator containing bottled water. At the opposite end of the car is a baggage section, containing bike racks, with complimentary reservation-based walk-up bike service (checked bike service is also free on the Carolinian within the Piedmont Corridor) available at all stations. At Amtrak-staffed stations the train also offers baggage service.
In addition North Carolina has an aggressive train station restoration program so nearly all stations in the state (including those served only by long-distance trains) have been either rebuilt, built new or restored except for Raleigh and Charlotte where new stations are under construction to replace inadequate facilities. All stations are either normal staffed Amtrak stations, or staffed by NC Station Hosts that answer questions and also control access to platforms. The train also has an active Volunteer Train and Station hosts program that ride trains offering assistance and answering questions.