Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


rookzie last won the day on May 19 2016

rookzie had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

2735 Excellent

About rookzie

  • Rank
  • Birthday 09/11/1951

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Nashville, TN
  • Interests

Recent Profile Visitors

3415 profile views
  1. Yinz two cracked TF outta me, you did! My physical distancing has slowly come to include social distancing almost neck and neck. So I needed that freakin' laff!
  2. At my current age, 10 months from turning 70...., ...if Swami Ronnie's crystal ball holds, then I just might make it to AT LEAST SEE an ambitious transit plan passed ─ even if nothing else. But I surely won't be the kind of fool to hold my breath on it..
  3. I’m pretty certain that was Third National Bank. Indeed Third National did have a number of branches built of that post-modern, limestone-and-granite-clad design during the 1950’s and maybe into the early’60s— I don’t know for sure. Their rectilinear styling, reminiscent of Egyptian Revival, was a signature of The Third. I used to visit that particular branch during high school years in the mid-to-late ‘60s, as well as others on Charlotte (blt. In the ‘50s near 46th Ave.); on 21st in Hillsboro Village; on Hillsboro Pk at Green Hills S.C. (before and after the s.c. became a mall); and the one which notoriously was razed “kinda” recently on 3rd Ave S near Lafayette. Third National Bank became SunTrust during I believe the early or mid ‘90s, which so far seems to have avoided repeated name changes through mergers, unlike other banking institutions.
  4. The land bridge to which markhollin has referred was formally proposed in 2016 by Metro, as a component of the Gateway to Heritage Walking Improvements initiative. This particular land bridge would be in addition to another land bridge at 16th/17th Ave. (also within the 2016 proposal), which is based on a concession once offered by the state during the interstate construction. Although the rationale is to restore a small portion of lost street connectivity, my honest opinion is that the land bridge(s) alone constitute mere piecemeal "pet projects, a practice typical of what Metro has undertaken to this point in time. They really should be incorporated into a much more practical proposal for continuity and revitalization of Jefferson Street by incorporating land bridges as a transit corridor proposal and planning, in order to make any significant and meaningful improvements and transformations of mid- and upperJefferson Street.
  5. Nice looking ride, Nathan! Of all the MG series that I had seen and ridden during my growing-up years in the 1960s and early adulthood during the '70s, the GT was by far my favorite. I never owned one, but a neighbor of mine in North Nashville owned an orange one. I used to look out the window of my home and ogle at that thing, when he took off and shifted gears. During my years in Greater Boston I also used to see them pretty regularly (1969-72). While I never owned an MG, I did own two cars related to it ─ both being model Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII (BJ8). They were built when the British Motor Corp. (BMC) was still extant, before the Leyland takeover. Nearly everything mechanical or electrical had the Lucas, Girling, and SU branding. I got my first Healey slightly used in spring 1968, during the latter part of my junior year in high school. That one I got rid of before I returned to Tennessee in late 1972. The 2nd one I got in 1977 from a guy in the Glengary district in SE Nashville, and I finally sold it in late 2015 (pic below). While the BMC / British Leyland stuff was pretty straight forward to work on, those cars could be temperamental as Hell, during damp weather, primarily because of their moisture-prone contact-point distributors ignition. My first one used to embarrass the Hell out of me, when I drove through a puddle and the car would stall out. I'd then have to manually unclip the cap and wipe it dry, until I got wise and applied silicone sealant to the cap seat and to the cable boots. I don't believe the '78 GT's were offered with the optional overdrive unit ─ not sure ─ but both my Healeys had the electro-hydraulic Laycock unit attached to the rear of the gearbox. Anyway, enjoy!
  6. Thanks for the feedback. Actually in part many urban and state jurisdictions utilized the funding resources provided by the Acts, at a two-fold goal: 1) As a "remedial"measure to "restore" expedient access to the central urban core, specifically the central business district, in response the claim that these areas were declining economically; and 2) As an exploitative means to justify and to fund "urban renewal", without the actual "renewal" portion. One has to also be mindful of the status quo during the 1950s and '60s, the primary planning periods for the urban Interstate segments. White flight was rampant, in all American cities as a rule, and Nashville as you are aware was no exception. Indeed there were even Federal laws in place that prevented blacks from purchasing property in white neighborhoods, and it wasn't until my early teens 1964 that the first civil rights bill began to change that government policy. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 addressed segregation primarily (to which I had been accustomed, as I traveled the trains back and forth between the South and a few slightly more liberal locales in the North). The Civil Rights Bill of 1968 addressed discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race (et. al.), and the 5-year span from the 1964 bill made a highly noticeable difference, as whites made mass exodus to the suburbs, which by then were primarily the pre-1963 unincorporated areas of Davidson County, as well as to towns immediately bordering the county. This "phenomenon" (as it were), had been a common and predictable occurrence throughout the U.S. ─ Interstate or not. But the fact that the demographics began to change dramatically within the inner-core sub-districts particularly those closest to the CBD, historically the less advantaged and the income-poor, constrained by cost of living and mobility, became the new primary occupants of the older, more established neighborhoods. While some of the worst-maintained housing often was found in the inner-core districts, arguably blighted and neglected to an extent (but not necessarily), many such districts had been well maintained by occupants who formerly would not have been allowed in such housing. It had been primarily these sub-districts which had become adversely affected ─ directly or otherwise ─ with the advent of the urban expressway. It was economically much more tenable for the State to condemn property and raze structures where these "lesser-valued" groups of contiguous land parcels were located. Unfortunately this also meant the state and the city often encountered much earlier, highly organized, and usually fierce opposition from land-owners within the more wealthy areas than that within within the "lower" mean-valued areas. It also must be noted that authorities often worked without fair disclosure to those stakeholders who would become most affected by the construction of an urban expressway segment. While some whites united with blacks educators of Fisk, TSU (then-recently renamed from Tenn. Agricultural and Industrial State Univ.), and Meharry Medical College to support the claim that the agencies had failed to include them on final planning of the expressway, which literally would fracture North Nashville, it was a matter of too little too late, according to the district court, once the "preferred"route had been finalized. And the thing is, it was the State which pre-empted the planning process ─ not the city of Nashville, which typically deferred most of its autonomy to the state during the Beverly Briley administration of the early-mid-to late '60s when the planning was finalized and construction began. Although the I-40/I-265 (now I-65) construction through North Nashville did not affect my family-owned property directly, nevertheless it did have an immediate effect on my teen-age living, and mobility, primarily with the massive permanent disruption of so much surface connectivity. The lack of connectivity within near-core neighborhoods, such as the portion of North Nashville dissected by the interstate highway system fifty years ago, form a significantly less seamless transit access to job centers. The long-demise of commercial and recreational activity along Jefferson Street and the lack of roadway connectivity are symptoms of discriminatory policy issues stemming from measures undertaken nearly 2/3 a century ago. This pretty much sums it up, as far as the benefits of the urban expressway is concerned to the urban-core dwellers being overshadowed by the purported value of accessibility for those primarily who only pass through those same areas. Highways, which were peddled as redevelopment and progress, were actually ripping through poor ethnic neighborhoods, without actually providing the funds necessary for the redevelopment promised. The only portions of North Nashville which have undergone relative recent resurgence are the more gentrified and primarily white-inhabited sites of Germantown, Salemtown, Buena Vista, Hope Gardens, and along the North Midtown Charlotte Ave Corridor (each of these having racial exceptions) , while pockets of redevelopment have begun to show along a few other sites unrelated to those sub-districts. The North Capitol district was generally more industrial than residential, except the portion formerly referred to as "Hell's half acre" immediately north of and west of Capitol Hill. However, as a whole, the decimation of North Nashville by I-40 has never recovered for the black community, which actually was rather bustling until around 1968, the year I became a senior in H.S.
  7. Thanks for this. Detailing in a capstone paper and bibliography for Lipscomb's Leadership and Public Service program during the 2018-'19 academic year, I submitted a proposal, rationale, and bibliography for a high-capacity transit proposal as a keystone component for the revitalization of an "extended" Jefferson Street Corridor, from TSU Main Campus to the Riverfront commuter-rail station. That was prior to the "crash of 2020". Therefore the capstone proposal has become a moot issue. I made references to such systemic racism, action of which stems from as far back as the late 1940s ─ the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944, and particularly the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 and that of 1968. State highway departments (prior to modern-day DOTs) undertook this action in nearly every city, USA of significant size, and much of the proponent movement can be attributed to the aggressively progressive ideology of New York's infamous Robert Moses. You name it. Some of the worse cases of this are seemingly forever vilifying Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Nashville, Memphis, Baltimore, Boston, Twin Cities, New York (particularly the Boroughs of Queens and the Bronx), Atlanta, Bay Area, Chicago, Gary, Louisville, Indy, and New Orleans ─ and almost any other region where the motive was to connect the CBD with the proposed Interstate highway system via urban expressways. Historically urban blacks, as well as other socio-economic groups (including whites) considered marginalized and income-poor had tended to be concentrated in the older urban-core districts closest to the heart of cities. It virtually wiped out all of would-be historic SW Washington DC, where I attended elementary school during the very early 1960s. These districts were sliced through like melted butter, while elimination of thousands of residential dwelling units (without replacement or equivalent standard-of-living value); disrupting existing residential walkability and the overall surface transportation network in general; redrawing and fracturing of local school district boundary lines; and commercial viability. A detailed analysis submitted and published as a master's thesis of Hubert J. Ford at UT Knoxville (1970) of the planning and construction of I-40 through Nashville, chronicles a rather woeful illustration of forces in power and their wanton disregard for the predictably long-term results and the effects on those stakeholders whose properties and communities were affected at-large. The minority sub-districts of North Nashville have not recovered from the devastating toll of I-40, including those of I-65 (including the segment originally designated as I-265) , I-24, Ellington Pkwy, and to a great extent the land acquisition and permanent disruptions of I-440. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1970 had included an amendment to withhold funding unless new housing was found for persons displaced by eminent domain for the purpose of Interstate highway construction. In the case of the I-40 planning, it eventually was conceded that a proposal for a "neutral", nearly direct path of the Interstate approach into Nashville from Memphis, as originally suggested by a hired consulting firm, was amended by the State Highway Dept. (later the Tenn. DOT) to be realigned through North Nashville. The decision to realign the path for a completely different "corridor" was based primarily on "land values", with no regard for or consideration of long-term negative effects on the communities involved. Several "minor" concessions were offered by the Highway Dept. aimed to compensate for a portion of lost surface-road connectivity would have required removal of additional private property for frontal roads, but the pervasive perception of distrust by community leaders against the racially lopsided authorities forestalled any efforts of purported support from those authorities.
  8. Well, I'll just say it’s not for us to like or not, although each is entitled to open opinion. One thing I will agree with (at least) is that they need to change from the Chicago Metra identity of the gallery bi-levels, which are going away anyway, after replacements put into service. The color scheme on the Star's cars is not original but is actually Metra's original color scheme, applied during the 1990s. The existing bi-levels shown were constructed of Cor-Ten steel by the Pullman Standard Co., but it's a shame that the RTA, now under the unified WeGo branding, has allowed them to fall to neglect and rust, since the service began in Sept. 2006. And, it's not just the exterior of the train either that shows corrosion. According to some unidentified employees at TSG (Transit Solutions Group) which maintains the cars at the Lebanon TN facility, the old gallery cars are literally rusting away on the insides, and the cars are now almost not repairable. The car interiors are basically unchanged since going into operation on the C&NW (Chicago & Northwestern RR) commuter trains more than 50 years ago. They will be scrapped upon retirement. Refurbished bi-levels (built by the Edward G. Budd Co. for the former Chicago Burlington & Quincy RR) were finally approved by Metro City Council for purchase from MITrain, the branding for Ann Arbor–Detroit Regional Rail, that basically got put on hold (if not scuttled). They've been delivered but have yet to be placed in service, and their all-stainless-steel bodies will be better suited for whatever color-scheme branding the agency chooses. I don't know specific details on any matching purple-and/or-grey stripes to be applied to the replacement gallery cars, but I'm told that that's likely to occur before the cars are deployed. The 7 replacement cars were delivered early last Feb. and currently are undergoing some color application. While not my personal favorite ─ purple-grey-and-white ─ Nashville does need its own identifying color scheme association with its equipment, especially as it gets expanded to other corridors. The paint as delivered on the Star in 2006 is looking really terrible, projecting a shabby image for the agency and Nashville. Stainless-steel replacement cars in tow on the CSX Henderson [Ky.] Sub-division to Nashville 02-04-2020 [photo - © Jim Pearson]
  9. Regrettably, the recent plea for a consortium on Middle- Tennessee regional planning won't help urban Metro Nashville and Davidson County, in terms of garnering some kind of consensus on sustainable funding to address local transport alternatives. At best that "might" effectuate some commitment among jurisdictions, with shared commuting paths. But then that is not unique to Nashville, and it also becomes exacerbated by Metro GSD and USD coverage and the perceived vs. actually proportion of accountability among the population's sentiment. As far as Atlanta is concerned, I'm thinking that a lot of the polarity among the exurbs also was a result of lingering distrust from mismanagement and scandals during past administrations. That has made it even more difficult, particularly when the state itself has not contributed measurably to dedicated capital funding of the agency. It was conceded from the start that the Nashville-to-Lebanon start-up of the Music City Star (MCS) was more opportunistic than needed, one reason that ridership never surged as what would have been expected with more densely traversed corridors. For that same reason, the long proposed second commuter-rail initiative ─ the Northwest Corridor ─ would be in part "exploitive", since much of the proposed preferred alternative would have the alignment follow much of an existing right-of-way, owned by the same non-CSX-owned entity hosting the current MCS operation (R.J. Corman Group). But that pales in comparison to the regional corridors which would need it the most. I resolve to side with grilled_cheese, with his strong retort, and I have said all along from failure after failure, that it might have to end up as a blessing in disguise for congestion to turn into a total quagmire, before anything is done materially to offer transport options in the city or in the region.
  10. I concede that this is how I feel as well. You can only put so many shades of eyeliner and lipstick on a pig. I've gotten so frustrated that I now just SMDH and walk away. And yes, KJHburg is correct. In this day and age, that's the only way that Kansas City (MO) finally got off to a start, after previous more ambitious efforts were thwarted ─ even though it currently only is in the form of a modern streetcar. The KC Streetcar has gained popularity and has prepared for an extension, the Main Street extension to UMKC. The planning for this extension has not been without bumps, and one application for an FTA grant failed to meet a 2019 deadline. But political will and teamwork among committed partners has forged a momentous movement towards meeting the requirements of a resubmitted application by the annual deadline for the competitive federal program. The projected total cost of the project has increased by 10% in less than 12 months, but the local funding was increased by 8%, approved recently by the recently created Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD) of 2018, in the form of a 1-cent sales tax. KC already had created the Downtown Transportation Development District in 2012, to fund the development of the initial 2-mile streetcar start-up. Overall it has taken STARTING LITTLE, along with legal wrangling to counter opposition and to finally get it off the ground in KC. Charlotte seems to have performed better in this respect, but it also had a few elements of advantage, unlike what KC had. Nashville simply has Zilch in place to even begin to kindle for small.
  11. Back in July 2004, I did get to ride the original vintage streetcar, restored in mid-late 1990s, prior to the construction of the LYNX Blue Line light rail line. It ran on a former branch of RoW acquired from the Norfolk Southern RR. Nº 85 had been the last trolley to run when Charlotte was a streetcar city in the 1930s. This RR spur later became part of what is the current Blue Line. Unlike with the later Gomaco-built reproduction cars which are air-conditioned, car Nº 85 had a trolley pole, instead of the more modern application utilizing a pantograph overhead electric pickup. While not "original"-looking as trolley poles, pantographs eliminate "de-wirements" common with poles. Nº 85 had been discovered on a condemned piece of property before special interest took over and the car had been brought back to life. I believe the car actually had served as a makeshift apartment in the rear of that property on which it was discovered. The Gomaco A-C replica cars, later used on the CATS Lynx Gold Line have served well, but they don't actually represent light rail by definition. In fact, the Gold Line actually is a streetcar line rather than actually light rail, so their transit purpose is different from that of a light rail line, as with the BLue Line. They actually were built to be streetcar circulators, just as with the ones in Tampa (TECO) and the streetcars of Little Rock's Rock Region Metro, and the non-airconditioned Gomaco's in Memphis (MATA). Replacing the Charlotte replica streetcars with modern ones will increase the capacity, just as with those of Atlanta. Nº 85 was the streetcar "Seed" which helped garner support for Charlotte's first light-rail line, the current Blue Line Car Nº 85 being trucked along Interstate 85 and hoisted onto temporary track at the NC Transportation Museum, at Spencer
  12. Having a rail rapid from downtown to the airport highly likely would affect the volume of vehicular traffic ─ measurably. Nearly every U.S. city has experienced increased patronage on rapid transit connecting to airports ─ surprisingly even to an extent for the "remote" SBN (South Bend International), as an alternative to ORD and MDW. Denver's RTD A Line railroad-type electric multiple unit trains to the airport (DEN) also have seen an increase, despite overall drop in ridership system-wide (mainly due to reliability of on-time performance). The RTD A Line is similar in technology to that of Philadelphia's SEPTA Regional to PHL. And Cleveland's Red-Line "Rapid", which had became one of the nation's first direct airport (CLE) connection to the CBD (one-seat ride), also has performed reasonably well, given the budget constraints of the agency (GCRTA). That was completed around 1968. It has been stated by several sources that having the Red-Line rapid in place (Hopkins Airport to Windermere), likely had been instrumental in helping Cleveland endure its hard-knocks from the '70s through much of the '90s. Finally, Buffalo Metro Rail (NFTA) has been having serious discussions to extend its Light Rail to BUF, also operated by the NFTA. It may seem to be mostly tourists who utilize BNA, but those consistently full economy parking lots suggest that it's far more than just they utilizing BNA. And that discounts the multitudes who Kiss-n-Ride with drop-offs and pick-ups. Since air travel has been the assumed "norm" for most interstate (domestic travel), in addition to the elimination of other attractive commercial options for regional intercity travel, many old timers such as I, resident of Middle Tennessee (and to an extent Ky, and Al.), took to the air long ago for most long-distance trips, before many on this forum were even born (or "thought" about being hatched). In short, an airport rapid would be in order ─ not necessarily as a permanent standalone, but perhaps as a branch from another radial line. A light rail line corridor from downtown to Antioch could be a game changer to the southeast county, a route separate from a possible FRA railroad commuter line, in conjunction with Amtrak service along a limited stop railroad corridor to Murfreesboro, Tullahoma, and beyond. That actually would fulfill a separate transport need, as must of us might assume.
  13. CSX always has owned the tracks. (see below) Amtrak service is never necessarily DOA, if political will can be mustered. Volsfanwill said it. I really can't confirm the clause about no new routes being created, but that definitely was and would have been a moot point in any event back in those days when non-Amtrak-joining railroads had to run all their existing passenger trains for 5 years. Several Amtrak trains nationwide were discontinued during the period 1971-1979, and additional trains eventually were cancelled during the '80s and even into the late 1990s. Intercity passenger service in the U.S. had been on a steady decline following the end of WW-II. Actually the peak of such travel occurred during the 1920s (prior to the Great Depression), and many routes and scheduled runs existing before the Depression were never restored. The establishment of the Federal Highway network during the late 1920s helped to diminish that service, as roads became paved and connected throughout the states. That's how highways such as US-70, -31, -41, and the famous US-66 were formed. World War II created a great demand and therefore a resurgence in passenger travel. That too began to decline following WW-II and the Korean War, although many routes were still popular and profitable during most of the 1950s. Toward the end of that decade, passenger train travel had declined at a more accelerated rate, as airline travel and the Interstate highway system construction had taken a stronghold following the Federal Highway Act of 1956. Automobile manufacturers, particular General Motors, had successfully orchestrated a master business model, and, in conjunction with related industries and the Federal Govt., private ownership and driving of and automobile had become much easier than ever. All passenger train equipment and service was privately owned and operated by the railroads themselves. From the 1950s and even into the late 1960s, some railroads even had city ticket agencies in some cities, along with advertisements for their then-luxury trains. Most of that practice had been left over from the days when passengers had choices among more than one rail carrier to a destination (e.g. from Washington DC to Cincinnati, via the Baltimore & Ohio or the Chesapeake and Ohio; or from Chicago to St.L. via the Illinois Central or the Gulf Mobile and Ohio or the Wabash). Back when I was a child and teenager, many choices still existed. By the early-mid-1960s, domestic passenger train travel was still mainstream, but it had taken a dramatic plunge, as the expressways access continued to forge on, and airlines began to offer special discounts previously unheard of ─ rates which overnight made ground travel a less attractive option even for single travelers, who otherwise would have taken a train or a bus for distances of 200 miles or greater. Before the U.S. escalated its efforts in the Vietnam conflict in 1964, railroads had regularly petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to allow discontinuance of a passenger train, since the ICC regulated all train cancellations at that time. Most of the U.S. mail had been transported by rail throughout first half of the 20th century. The Post Office Department (reorganized to become the U.S. Postal Service in 1971) had contracts nationwide making mail handling and transport on special head-end cars of passenger trains rather lucrative for the railroads, all private carriers in the U.S. The handling of mail was so lucrative for the railroads that it often offset the operating-cost losses that had become the norm among scheduled train runs, as passenger losses continued to mount. Passenger train operation took a precipitous turn for the worse, as the Post Office Dept. almost abruptly cancelled contracts with the railroads during late summer 1967. At that point, most mail handling cars (except for certain types of containerized mail) had been removed from existing trains. Operating costs soared, and train-off petitions also skyrocketed. Railroads, which by then had long begun to expand technology and to establish high profit margins with enhanced freight service, contributed to the vicious circle of poor reliability and on-time performance of passenger trains. Many mainline routes which previously had been double-track, were reduced to single-track with passing sidings, as railroads instituted Centralized Traffic Control to more efficiently remotely manage the operation of trains and reduce the perceived need for double track. In turn, passenger trains often were downgraded in priority deferred to freight trains. Service amenities were eliminated, such as dining cars and sleeping cars, and schedules were reduced to the point of rendering passenger trains no longer desirable by patrons as a means of transport, almost overnight. Equipment had become shabby and often in disrepair. The private railroads simply could not afford to or justify maintaining the existing remaining passenger trains. By mid-1968 the ICC recognized this and began to give in almost generously, up to a point where service had diminished to a skeletal remnant of what it had been even the previous year. I can tell you some stories of some rides from back in those days ─ accounts which would discourage anyone from ever considering a train. Thing was, for all domestic rail carriers which still had passenger trains held in place on the timetables during the formulation of the National Rail Passenger Act in 1970, the ICC basically withheld granting any additional passenger train cancellations, in anticipation the creation of the National Rail Passenger Corp., in May 1971. All the U.S. railroads which did still had passenger trains on the timetables were given the choice of enjoining or not enjoining this agreement. By agreeing, a specific carrier would turn over all its passenger operations to the NRPC (rebranded as AmTrak), and contribute some amount of existing passenger train equipment. Those rail carriers who opted to not join would be required to maintain operation of all their then-existing passenger service for a period of 5 years from the date of official inception of Amtrak (May 01, 1971), a period after which they could discontinue those trains or join Amtrak. All but 3 carriers elected to join Amtrak. The only rail carrier with passenger trains then operating in middle Tenn. at the time was the L&N (Louisville and Nashville RR). It joined Amtrak, which in turn decided to drop 4 of the 5 then-remaining passenger trains systemwide on the L&N (only three passed through Nashville ─ Cincinnati - New Orleans; Chicago- Florida [via Indianapolis, Louisville, Montgomery and Dothan, but NOT via Atlanta]; and St. Louis - Atlanta [via Belleville IL, Evansville, Hopkinsville, Murfreesboro, Tullahoma, and Chattanooga]). The only train that was retained throughout Nashville's service by Amtrak was the Chicago - Florida route. No service ever was retained or had been restored between Nashville and Atlanta. The ICC was terminated in 1995 and replaced with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB). ____________________________________________________________________ With that background on U.S. passenger train travel and its timeline from the 1920s, I'll be more brief on the Amtrak service through Nashville. Almost from the start, the "South Wind", later renamed the "Floridian", was doomed. For one, the train had to traverse the rails of up to 4 separate companies; it had to travel an unreasonably circuitous route between Chicago and Jacksonville, where the train was split into two sections to run to Miami and to St. Petersburg, respectively. Second, poor conditions of trackage existed indefinitely on the portion of the run between Louisville and Chicago; the train underwent at least four periods of separate and indefinitely detours, in most cases losing some of its valuable ridership market (Indianapolis). A number of very costly derailments also occurred during the train's 8-1/2 year troubled existence. The "Floridian" became one of Amtrak's biggest money-losers, operating at a yearly deficit of $11 million, on-schedule roughly 6 days in 10. The Floridian was one of the trains which had been targeted For cancellation at least three times since 1971, therefore Nashville Amtrak service ended in October 1979 in part because President Jimmy Carter had been unmerciful with typically money-losing long distance passenger service. As mergers transpired, the L&N became a part of the Seaboard System, which merged with the Chessie System to become CSXT. The tracks through Nashville and extending to Chattanooga and to Atlanta, as well as to Memphis, Birmingham, Evansville, Chicago (via Evansville, Vincennes, Terre Haute), and Cincinnati (via Bowling Green and Louisville), always have been owned by CSX Transportation or by its predecessors, all private enterprise. Amtrak never had a route from Nashville to Atlanta, and the route which had been served by L&N trains No. 3 and 4 (The "Georgian"), was cancelled immediately before the official start of Amtrak. The trains, discontinued on April 30, 1971 were allowed to reach their destinations in St. Louis and Atlanta on the morning of May 01. Also, Amtrak initial agreements do not include the mandate of "grandfathering". Theoretically any route can be proposed and implemented, if the stakeholders can agree on terms (the hosting state, the hosting carrier railroad, and Amtrak). One separate and notable case was the cancellation of service in Las Vegas just prior to the start of Amtrak and allowed to run to destinations on May 02. Against the grain of concurrent discontinuances, a new run was started in 1979 named as the Desert Wind, Amtrak trains No. 35 and 36. between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. That service ended in 1997. Much more recent brand new service from Norfolk to DC was started in Dec. 2012 and from Roanoke to DC in Oct. 2017 respectively, but neither of these passenger train routes had existed during previous Amtrak years (although Roanoke had been served by two separate previous but short-lived routes between 1975 and 1979). The current Norfolk and Roanoke service routes have become highly popular and seem to represent the current trend in regional passenger rail. Last train to Nashville (before the Amtrak takeover), L&N Nº4 the "Georgian", prepares to depart Chattanooga for the final time, 8:45pm, April 30, 1971, after having departed Atlanta Union Station in the early evening. The train consisted of a single locomotive unit, a baggage car, and a snack-bar coach. At 11:45pm the train would depart Nashville for Hopkinsville, Evansville, for a mid-morning arrival at St. Louis Union Station. The station and platforms shown in the photo were razed shortly thereafter, becoming the site of the current main public library.
  14. I caught that as well. During the last couple of years or so, city officials in Memphis had suggested that a second train be instated to provide additional service between Memphis and Chicago, to offset the inconvenient schedules at Memphis of both current once-daily north- and southbound runs (Nº58 Nº59 respectively) of the Chicago-NOLA "City of New Orleans" trains. I have ridden that train several times ─ both originating or terminating at Memphis and passing through Memphis. A second train pair would run only between Chicago and Memphis. Memphis has had Amtrak service since Amtrak's inception in May 1971. It never lost service as did Nashville in 1979, although the Newbern stop replaced the one formerly at Dyersburg. The "City" always was swarmed with passengers at the Memphis station, every time I rode it, and with a good deal of parking space at Central Station, along with a police precinct occupying a portion of that building at platform level, I always have felt secure there. CSX can be bought, as long as it can gain from the deal to handle its own congestion. This was done by the legislature in Florida just over a decade ago, for use primarily with the SunRail commuter rail system. A couple of weeks ago, it was announced that the State of Virginia and CSX had agreed to a $$$$ deal to acquire several key assets of the CSX. The deal will add an entirely new 2B$ bridge over the Potomac River to carry Amtrak and VRE (Virginia Railway Express commuter rail) from DC to Virginia. This new bridge will transfer passenger trains from the old CSX-owned bridge, which CSX will renovate for its own freight traffic. The state also will purchase 225 miles of north-south track and 350 miles of north-south railroad right of way from CSX for $525 million, including half the right of way between Washington and Richmond. Virginia also will acquire from CSX nearly 200 miles of east-west track, between Doswell and Clifton Forge. What this plan does is to vastly increase the capacity for passenger trains statewide, allows for a new connection passenger route lost during the 1970s, and assists CSX by creating increasing mainline capacity to allow freight alongside dedicated passenger track, in the Mid-Atlantic region already bursting at the seams for additional capacity. Virginia is a primary gateway for much freight and for all passenger service south of DC. The VRE Fredericksburg commuter line, which runs 8 round-trip trains each weekday, will add 5 new round-trip trains during the weekday rush hour and introduce 3 round trips on weekends. Amtrak already runs 5 trains to Richmond, and it anticipates 6 additional daily round trips to Richmond and two extended trains to the Hampton Roads area (1 added to each route ─ to Newport News and to Norfolk). This 10-year vision would not be feasible were it not for this deal, which really is "on the cheap", considering the vast potential it affords for the state. Back to Nashville, a Nashville - ATL twice-daily service also could connect at Chattanooga with Bristol-Roanoke, Charlottesville, DC, with a connection at Charlottesville to Richmond and Hampton Roads (via Virginia's purchase of the east-west branch). This Chattanooga connection would be provisional, based on a proposal also in long talks to extend Amtrak service west of Roanoke (DC-Roanoke), service to which began just over 2 years ago. That east-west service proposal actually would extend service from Roanoke to Memphis, connecting Memphis and Chattanooga directly to DC, since the cancellation of such passenger service in 1968.
  15. Thanks to all. Needless to say, I had all cohort fellow students beat in age, and some had grandchildren. I even had the Provost and the President beat, and they taught 2 of the 10 courses, so if I learned nothing else, then it's that I ain't no spring chikkin! I'll have to miss the next 1st-Saturday meet yet again, since I'll be traveling back from rural South Central PA that day, weather permitting.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.