in Follow-Up, Green, Media, Raleigh, Rant

N&O makes “light rail” goof on front page

Light Rail? Umm, no.

Light Rail? Umm, no.

While we’re holding the N&O under a microscope, I tsk tsked over my coffee this morning when I read the headline that accompanied the print edition of this story…

RALEIGH — In West Raleigh and eastern Cary, government planners are laying the groundwork for the development and traffic that may accompany a string of proposed passenger rail stations.

A coalition of local governments and others has put half a million dollars toward a study of the roads between the two municipalities, aiming to improve safety and traffic flow at a half-dozen places where rail lines cross pavement.

I re-read the story again just to be sure and the conclusion is that these hearings have nothing to do with light rail. Heavy rail, yes. Light rail, no.

Heavy rail is the giant locomotive that graced the front page along with this story. Light rail is rail that can go most places that cars can go (existing road overpasses, etc). Light rail is a custom-built, closed system most often powered by electricity. Think Charlotte’s Lynx line.

Raleigh’s (and Wake’s) first dip into commuter rail will begin with heavy rail, using existing freight tracks and pulled along by diesel locomotives. That’s what these hearings are about – how to deal with the road crossings in the existing rail corridors. They have nothing to do with the entirely new corridors that light rail will require.

I’m happy that the online version didn’t commit the same mistake as the print edition but I would expect the N&O to have a better grasp of these concepts (and perhaps print a correction).
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