Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Tennessee has a push for HSR and Maglev

Tennessee has been, until now, not much discussed in the HSR  developments. Since my base of operation in Little Rock is so close to Memphis, that seems a shame. Today, the statewide paper, The Tennessean ran an editorial that contained plenty of good info.

The element that makes for “high-speed” rail is the use of magnetic levitation technology where rail cars float just above the guide rail, drawn in motion by magnets, in a process known as “mag-lev.” Such a line could move up to 310 mph. An Atlanta-to-Chattanooga line would alleviate crowding at the large Atlanta airport, would be a 54-minute ride and would cost an estimated $5 billion. A Nashville-to-Chattanooga line would be a 52-minute ride and would cost $5.4 billion. The estimated cost of a round-trip Nashville-to-Chattanooga ticket would be $75.

The development of conventional fast trains would be appreciated. Let’s be futuristic. How about a Memphis-Nashville-Knoxville-Asheville-Charlotte train to make connections with the Crescent and the northeast corridor?

Or a Memphis-Fort Worth corridor serving dozens of smaller towns?

These things are possible with a little determination and leadership.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, United States High Speed Rail

4 Responses

  1. netdragon says:

    The Knoxville to Asheville to Charlotte part is a waste when you can connect to Atlanta instead through Chattanooga, which is a lot closer.

  2. Anonymous says:

    TDOT put out a document titled “I-81 Corridor Multi-State Meeting,” dated Sept 23, 2004.

    There were basically 3 things to take away from that document:

    1) A plan to reestablish a rail link between Nashville and Knoxville

    2) A stated need to improve rail movement on parallel to the Bristol-Chattanooga road corridor

    3) A Memphis-Brisol passenger rail corridor would have a benefit/cost ratio >1; a Chattanooga-Bristol corridor would have a ratio of .67; a potential Louisville-Nashville-Chattanooga corridor was unscored

    A Memphis-Nashville-Knoxville route would make sense on its own; a Bristol terminus would probably only make sense as a connector to the proposed TransDominion Express (and vice-versa, which means that VA/TN cooperation is likely necessary).

    Louisville-Chattanooga is an important link on any Chicago-Atlanta run, but may not be feasible on its own.

  3. Allan says:

    There is a lot of work to be done for a Memphis to Bristol route. Look at the current rail lines. Tracks need to be built or straightened.

    At 310 mph, it won’t take 52 minutes to go from Nashville to Chattanooga!

  4. Art says:

    High-speed rail within Tennessee has the potential to make an unbelievably positive change in how Tennesseans and visitors travel and live their lives. Currently, the state’s geography and intercity distances discourages travel and commerce. For example, the 3-hour time for an auto trip from Knoxville to Nashville is just enough to discourage casual travel. Imagine the intercity commerce and leisure travel that would be promoted by a fast rail link: arts and entertainment, sports, and enhanced state government connections, not to mention the obvious business travel.

    A Memphis-Nashville-Knoxville-TriCities line that continued into VA to tie into the northeast corridor as a travel option would change everything for Tennessee.

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