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northernbizzkit1

Tennessee Rail Service

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Have there been any more pursuits of a train service between the major cities of Tennessee? It seems as though there was a mention of Memphis-Nashville rail service a few years ago. With North Carolina and Georgia showing progress, this seems to be a project that would certainly help our state.

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With North Carolina and Georgia showing progress, this seems to be a project that would certainly help our state.

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Actually North Carolina has had intercity train service between Charlotte and Raleigh for 10 years now. Trains run twice daily between the two cities with stops at all the major cities in between. It is one of 3 state funded rail systems in the country.

More info at http://www.bytrain.org

toppiedmont.jpg

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Actually North Carolina has had intercity train service between Charlotte and Raleigh for 10 years now.  Trains run twice daily between the two cities with stops at all the major cities in between.    It is one of 3 state funded rail systems in the country. 

More info at http://www.bytrain.org

toppiedmont.jpg

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I know that. I'm not saying you don't have it. I was saying that Tennessee needs it. Or should have it.

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I know that. I'm not saying you don't have it. I was saying that Tennessee needs it. Or should have it.

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there was something in the tennessean about it a while ago. i think i might have made a post about it. memphis to bristol i believe. i think it would be an awesome idea. i'll see if i can find that article.

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If Tn gets a train system, it would be great to connect it to the NC system.  Maybe in Asheville.

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There has long been talk of a Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta line...I think it would be wonderful to connect all of the southeast's major cities through rail. It would be sooo much easier visiting relatives. :)

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Have there been any more pursuits of a train service between the major cities of Tennessee? It seems as though there was a mention of Memphis-Nashville rail service a few years ago. With North Carolina and Georgia showing progress, this seems to be a project that would certainly help our state.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

does the NC rail have two tracks or one

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It's on a shared rail corridor with freight, so in places there are multiple tracks and in other places a single rail. These are major heavy rail trains that you would not see used for intracity travel.

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It's on a shared rail corridor with freight, so in places there are multiple tracks and in other places a single rail.  These are major heavy rail trains that you would not see used for intracity travel.

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oh, i was afraid of that. See, rails should have more than one track for multi bi-directional travel. it makes for easier travel, more frequency in trains going through, and less stress waiting for the trains. Southern transit ideas design is very poor, and they always say that they take their ideas from the new yorkers and the chi-towns people, but i have yet to see it. The only thing i have seen that closely resembles something from the north, are these crappy (excuse me) trains that nashville bought for a $1 each. That shows you how much they really think about change and mass transit in the south.

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oh, i was afraid of that. See, rails should have more than one track for multi bi-directional travel. it makes for easier travel, more frequency in trains going through, and less stress waiting for the trains. Southern transit ideas design is very poor, and they always say that they take their ideas from the new yorkers and the chi-towns people, but i have yet to see it. The only thing i have seen that closely resembles something from the north, are these crappy (excuse me) trains that nashville bought for a $1 each. That shows you how much they really think about change and mass transit in the south.

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we have to take baby steps. this isn't something that a city can just jump into. this is the most cost effective way for nashville to get a rail service at this time. just be glad we're even getting one.

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Digging up an old thread... because if I had to choose only one cause to support, passenger rail would be it:

The folks at TDOT have thought and written about this in some detail, and incorporated the ideas as Task 4 of the November 2002 Rail Plan.

There are three particularly interesting maps in that Rail Plan. First, a map of all the railroads in Tennessee.

tnrailroads.gif

Note the gaping hole in the line between Nashville and Knoxville.

Next, the potential passenger corridors in Tennessee (the "long list"):

tnlonglist.gif

Being an Asheville native, I'm a bit disappointed by the lack of a Knoxville-Asheville route, but oh well! That route is slow and winding anyway.

Finally, the most promising passenger corridors (the "short list"):

tnshortlist.gif

The report suggested using the Louisville-Nashville line as a first course of action, extending the Chicago-Louisville "Kentucky Cardinal" to Nashville. Unfortunately, the "Kentucky Cardinal" was canceled in 2003 and replaced with the Chicago-Indianapolis "Hoosier State." The section between Indianapolis and Louisville was slow, rough, and therefore not well patronized, nor was the route state supported. The Kentucky Cardinal was, however, very punctual, since there was little interfering freight traffic on the line. If Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana were to cooperate and upgrade the tracks/signals, then Chicago-Nashville service just might happen. The corridor could later be extended to Chattanooga for a direct Chattanooga-Chicago train route.

the Chattanooga-Bristol and Nashville-Bristol corridor could meet with Virginia's proposed TransDominion Express for service to Washington DC and the Northeast Corridor. Memphis-Nashville service is the natural extension of the Nashville-Bristol line, so all the major cities in Tennessee can be linked to the Northeast Corridor. Direct service (no transfers) is clearly possible, but the report doesn't go into detail

One major obstacle is that part of the line between Nashville and Knoxville has been removed. The right-of-way is still intact, and it's nice because there's no existing through freight traffic to compete with the passenger trains, it adds significantly to the cost of the project, because the roadbed must be rehabilitated and tracks and signals reconstructed before the first train can roll.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope Tennessee takes the advice in this Rail Plan seriously and supports passenger rail soon!

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I'd like to see Memphis-Little Rock, and Memphis-St. Louis added to the plans as well.

The odds of any of this are zilch. It was just a week or so ago that Congress removed all funding for Amtrak, and then restored only some portion of it. I know the City of New Orleans was saved though.

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It was just a week or so ago that Congress removed all funding for Amtrak, and then restored only some portion of it.

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Not quite. Bush and his pet transportation secretary Norman Mineta called for cutting Amtrak's funding back to $0. The house appropriations committee (also Bush's lapdog) called for slashing Amtrak's funding in two, to $550 million. That would essentially cause the railroad to shut down everywhere except the northeast corridor.

But conservative ideologues aside, the full house wound up approving $1.17 billion, a mere $30 million decrease from last year. A search on Google News reveals that practically every article on the subject is portraying this decision in a positive light. 70 republicans went "turncoat" on Bush on this issue. There is even some speculation that the Senate will approve a higher figure; in that event, the issue will go to a "joint" committee, where a compromise will be reached.

In any case, this is not nearly the $1.8 billion that Amtrak requested in order to bring its infrastructure to a "state of good repair." But even $1.17 billion is enough to limp along for a year while realistic and positive reforms are contemplated, such as federal/state matching for capital projects (like FTA New Starts.)

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Not quite. Bush and his pet transportation secretary Norman Mineta called for cutting Amtrak's funding back to $0. The house appropriations committee (also Bush's lapdog) called for slashing Amtrak's funding in two, to $550 million. That would essentially cause the railroad to shut down everywhere except the northeast corridor.

But conservative ideologues aside, the full house wound up approving $1.17 billion, a mere $30 million decrease from last year. A search on Google News reveals that practically every article on the subject is portraying this decision in a positive light. 70 republicans went "turncoat" on Bush on this issue. There is even some speculation that the Senate will approve a higher figure; in that event, the issue will go to a "joint" committee, where a compromise will be reached.

In any case, this is not nearly the $1.8 billion that Amtrak requested in order to bring its infrastructure to a "state of good repair." But even $1.17 billion is enough to limp along for a year while realistic and positive reforms are contemplated, such as federal/state matching for capital projects (like FTA New Starts.)

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My point was--the funding cuts have reduced the likelihood of any new service to zilch.

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My point was--the funding cuts have reduced the likelihood of any new service to zilch.

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The chances of any new service that's not state supported is zero, you're right. The report I linked to recognizes this. If anyone in Tennessee was hoping to get a "free ride" from Amtrak and the feds on this one, they're dreaming.

However, if Tennessee did something like its neighbors NC and MO, pledging to cover the operating deficit of the trains, then new service is very feasible. If Tennessee went even further and bought their own equipment and started funding infrastructure improvements (like NC, CA, and WA) then the chances of success increase even further.

Throw in the potential for a 80/20 (or even 50/50) federal match on capital projects and it's a sure winner. Expect to see at least some debate in Congress about that over the next year, as it was included both in Mineta's Amtrak "Plan" AND Amtrak FY2006-2012 operating plan.

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The chances of any new service that's not state supported is zero, you're right. The report I linked to recognizes this. If anyone in Tennessee was hoping to get a "free ride" from Amtrak and the feds on this one, they're dreaming.

However, if Tennessee did something like its neighbors NC and MO, pledging to cover the operating deficit of the trains, then new service is very feasible. If Tennessee went even further and bought their own equipment and started funding infrastructure improvements (like NC, CA, and WA) then the chances of success increase even further.

Throw in the potential for a 80/20 (or even 50/50) federal match on capital projects and it's a sure winner. Expect to see at least some debate in Congress about that over the next year, as it was included both in Mineta's Amtrak "Plan" AND Amtrak FY2006-2012 operating plan.

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If the likelihood of Amtrak funding it is zero, which we recognize, the likelihood of TN funding it is a negative number. I was under the impression too that the transit formula was absolutely no longer the 80/20, that the 50/50 was the new law. At 50/50, TN still won't fund it. The state just threw tens of thousands of people off its TennCare rolls and is basically broke.

Tennessee's cities are broke as well--Memphis came within a vote or two last week of cancelling its LRT program, and has raised taxes to keep the grass cut. Nashville is raising taxes. None of these taxes are for new capital expenditures.

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