If you are planning to take Amtrak from Raleigh to Atlanta, it isn’t a quick or direct route. Atlanta is on the Crescent Amtrak route while Raleigh is not, so a train transfer is required in Charlotte. See below to learn more about schedules, travel times and tips for making this rail trip.
Multiple Carolinian and Piedmont trains depart daily from Raleigh and travel to Charlotte. There are early morning, mid-morning, afternoon and early evening train departures. View the timetables for these train routes to learn more (be sure to scroll to page 3 once you click on the PDF timetable link).
Once you are in Charlotte, there is only one train each day to Atlanta, and it arrives in Charlotte in the middle of the night between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. (if no delays). If the Crescent train is running on time, plan to arrive in Atlanta before 9 a.m.
- The Amtrak train trip from Raleigh to Charlotte is 3 hours.
- The Amtrak train trip from Charlotte to Atlanta is about 4 hours.
- The minimum layover is 6 hours, which is a total trip time of at least 13 hours.
Need a faster option? The Megabus travels between Durham and Atlanta in less than 9 hours.
If you don’t want to spend a great deal of time in Charlotte, select the last departing train from Raleigh to Charlotte, which is around 5:30 p.m.
Charlotte has many museums, so book a morning train from Raleigh if you want to visit any of them (5 p.m. is a typical closing time).
There isn’t much to see or do near the current Charlotte Amtrak Station, so it is best to get a taxi, Uber or Lyft car to Uptown/Center City (only 10-minutes away via car) to eat and enjoy entertainment.
The Epicentre is a shopping mall in Uptown that is open late as one place to spend time until boarding the train to Atlanta. There you’ll find the RedEye Diner (open 24 hours) and the Studio Movie Grill for dinner and a show.
There are also several hotels in Charlotte’s Center City that will have lounges open in the evening, or you could book a room and checkout around 1 a.m.