By Peter Meredith
ABOARD TRAIN 74 — The first northbound train in North Carolina’s new midday Piedmont service pulled out of Charlotte right on time Saturday, with a champagne christening, free train whistles and an army of enthusiastic volunteers to keep the passengers happy.
The addition of a midday departure to the morning and evening trains linking the state’s largest city with its capital was popular with the first day’s riders.
“It’s convenient, instead of waiting till that 5 o’clock train, to have one at midday,” said Angela Guthrie of Charlotte, who was headed for Winston-Salem.
But as Saturday’s train ride showed, the first few miles of track are a good demonstration of the problems North Carolina faces as it tackles its larger goal of offering regular, reliable high-speed passenger service.
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