The Times-Herald of Forrest City, Arkansas ran a story last Thursday, It raised some insights on a study of rail service from Memphis to Texarkana. This is the old Cotton Belt and is definitely fast track.
One issue we run into out here is the Union Pacific practice of directional running. The Eagle operates on such a route between Poplar Bluff and Fort Worth. My understanding is that this line runs in the opposite direction. To state the obvious, this means that a passenger train would run opposite the flow on one of its scheduled runs.
Here is what the paper said, in part.
While the state Legislature has authorized a feasibility study for a high-speed rail from Texarkana to Memphis, people probably shouldn’t start looking for such a train any time soon.
More to the point, if there was a high-speed rail line, and even if it was routed through this area, could people in the Delta expect it to so much as to slow down on its way through? No one really knows at this point, because the realization, if it happens at all, is years in the future.
The point is that conventional rail service would be a big improvement to the quality of life out in the Arkansas Delta. This particular line serves many towns that have no transportation connections at all, most notably Pine Bluff. Other towns include Brinkley, Fordyce and Stuttgart.
So community leaders are right to ask and the answer is that the trains would stop. One imagines that such a service would continue to Fort Worth. The connection with the Eagle could happen at Texarkana, but that is up to the professionals to figute out.
Steve Harrelson is an important Arkansas lawmaker, lives in Texarkana, and is on the side of intelligent transportation policy.