Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Train Fans Want Amtrak Back in Nashville

It's been nearly 30 years since the last passenger train left Union Station, but advocates of city-to-city rail hope it won't take another 30 years to get it back.

A spider web of routes takes a broad circle around the city, passing through Louisville, Ky., Memphis, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., but national rail advocates consider Tennessee to be the most underserved rail state. In a report released last week, they targeted Nashville for the expansion of passenger rail.

Trains equal less pollution and highway congestion, proponents say, but state officials say Nashville isn't populous enough to support a city-to-city route.

"It would be wonderful to say I can be in Memphis and jump on a train to Nashville, but the volume of people who would do that isn't anywhere close to what the cost would be to provide the service," said Ed Cole, chief of environment and planning with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Read the rest of this story in the Tennessean

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