Amtrak blowing more smoke for Atlanta - Nashville ?

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Amtrak blowing more smoke for Atlanta - Nashville ?
Posted by blue streak 1 on Friday, January 17, 2020 9:14 PM

The announcement of Amtrak talking to Tennessee legislators about ATL - NVL service probably daytime service had me puzzled.  After looking at L&N services the 6:15 between the two cities seemed fairly good .

The CHA - ATL SOU RR non stop Royal Palm route was ~:20 minutes longer where as the L&N route had stops at probably the Georgia stops.  The SOU route stopping at Dalton, Rome, Adairsville,  would probably add another :20 - 30 minutes .  Note: Dalton is where CSX and NS cross at grade and a station and last time I looked had a slow speed connecting track ? 

All and all would expect ATL <> NVL route can be run under 7 - 1/2 hours.  That would probably require an assistant engineer and 2 conductors each way? Running CSX and going to Amtrak Peachtree station will require a wye in the NE quadrant from CSX to NS at Howell interlocking.  

At first thoght wondered about the storage of an overnight train on the Steel spur in ATL but then said why not make the train an split of the Crescent ?  Since ATL - NOL is a low traffic route most of the year why not split the Crescent at ATL with 2  or more coaches, Lounge or dinner, Bag - dorm, to start service ? Maybe even a sleeper ?

That way no additional cars needed at first but maybe an extra coach or 2 NYP -ATL that could be added to split or be cut off cars at ATL.  That would almost certainly require a switcher and crew at ATL that could be road qualified in case of a major hickup on the 3 routes out of ATL ?

This would provide a easier route to / from Tennessee to the Carolinas and VA middle or east coast by way of Carolinian. Add in the NEC as well.  Neither locations are a joy to drive I-40 and some for I-81 if business is major reason to travel.

Have heard talk of why not connect east TN ?  The state of TN is unique as it consists of three distinct geo locations. East, middle, west.  West is agriculture and firmly in confederacy camp, middle ambivalent, east firmly in Union side, witth those differences even to toay. State constitution is even splits up government on these lines.    You will find that puts Nashville in the Georgia , Carolinas, camp.


EDIT.  When I considered the below link about Nashville persons' 1st choice is a train to CHI the not so  obvious came up.  Extend the ATL - NVL train to Fulton to connect with the City of New Orleans.  Unfortunately that would require restoring abandoned tracks and rebuilding the rest.  However that might be a long range plan ?  Not the quickest of legacy train routes to from CHI but much better than nothing.  That would not require any more equipment. 

It is doubtfl that running Nashville - MEM could have reliable connections to the CNO.  + that route is # 7 on Nashville population desires.  Remember middle and west tenn ambivalence.

What is more any passengers from Carolinas - ATL and on can connect both ways to CNO at Fulton and go towarda Memphis and CHI.


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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, January 18, 2020 10:00 PM

Depending probably on what CSX says on their existing line you might want to check out the alternate which is the now Nashville and Eastern (ex-Tennesee and Central line).    Always been a dream in Tennessee to relay the rail that was torn up and re-establish East-West rail service.    The portion East from Nashville to Lebanon is in pretty good shape, I believe the line  is run much further East by Nashville and Eastern to a sand mining operation (Ashland, TN?) they would probably have to relay the rails between there and the NS connection to Knoxville (is it still Crossville, TN?).

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, January 18, 2020 11:31 PM

The old Tennessee Central route from Nashville to Harriman junction was slow znd veery crooked. 120 air miles, 144 I-40 miles, and over 200+ miles by TC.  Over 6 Hours TC   Then the SOU RR route from Harriman Junction to Knoxville was also slow.  2 hours to go 50 miles, 

Many year ago there was a Bristol - Nashville thru Pullman that ran the routes from Nashville to Knoxville.  Later it was determine that SOU from Knoxville to Chattanooga and L&N to Nashville was faster .  That reroute sunk the TC passenger service.

Knoxville - CHA 2:45 CHA -NVL ~ 3 hours.

I-40 Knoxville - NVL  180 miles.

I cannot imagine the cost of a NVL - KNX rail line .  I-40 does have a lot of curves and several steep grdes. 




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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, January 19, 2020 8:42 AM

It is hard to imagine that there is sufficient demand for a service that would be competitive with I 40.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, January 19, 2020 5:02 PM

Nashville-Memphis is technically possible BUT it involves running down a long stretch of obligate single track (ex-L&N) -- isn't it faster by way of Bowling Green? -- that is still fairly trafficked with freights, then south via IC/CN to Aulon, only from the west main on a line now dispatched left-hand-main, then down Broadway to a 'relaid' switch into Central Station, presumably to the 'other' track from the arriving CNO.  Far from being 'competitive with I-40' you'd be lucky to get acceptable ride quality at about a third the speed.

If the question is connection to the CNO, there's a lot to be said for going to Fulton (and optimizing the connection from Chicago southeast through Nashville/Chattanooga and Atlanta) and, if you seriously want northbound connections to Bristol, etc. connecting to run back up from Chattanooga via the ex-Southern as indicated.  The problem there is that Nashville to Chattanooga to Atlanta is heroically graded and VERY busy with comparatively slow freight traffic now.  I cannot imagine 'pathing' Amtrak trains at reasonable speed through that, even with PSR enhancements.

I don't think there's any hope of restoring practical service via the Tennessee Central line.  You can see a route parallel to I-40 a long way up to the Plateau ... but it's a 2% or greater grade, with little alternative use.  Harriman is quite a spot, but it sure isn't a convenient way to route trains from Nashville to Knoxville quickly. (If you have driven I-40 you will know what is 'in between'!)

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Sunday, January 19, 2020 7:37 PM

Here is a series of Blogs  from Memphis on Amtrak service  now and future. 

The above Blog notes the absence of anything about Georgia.  However the CSX line (ex L&N, ex NC&SL, ex Western and Atlantic of civil war fame )  CHA - ATL is all owned by the state of  Georgia with a lease to now CSX.  That may allow for Ga to put various pressures on CSX to accept the train(s) both in Ga and maybe Tn ?

Ga might be interested to put skin in the game by upgrading the line ?

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Posted by Gramp on Sunday, January 19, 2020 8:10 PM

Time waits for no one. It's passed for rail travel among these cities. It's not going to be competitive. It would take a groundswell of interest and support, and new, modern construction. Better to offer luxury travel on the interstates.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Monday, January 20, 2020 10:23 AM

[Copied from the above link: Titled:" Waltzing in Tennessee"]

"...First, it was the first time Amtrak has named a specific route that fits the criteria that Anderson and Gardner have been talking up.


That route would link Atlanta and Nashville, but Lang also talked about extending a pair of Midwest corridor trains to Memphis.


Second, it offered concrete proof that Amtrak expects state and local governments to pay for its vision of the future of rail passenger travel.


It is not clear why Amtrak chose Tennessee as the opening act for what promises to be lengthy process.


Perhaps Amtrak has quietly sounded out other states on their interest in ponying up money for new rail passenger service and we just haven’t heard about it.


Or perhaps Amtrak projects the Tennessee routes as among the most likely to succeed..."

I sent a copy of the TRAINS NEWSwire article on this topic to a friend, who currently  is an engineer on the Ill Transportation paired CHI-CDL ...He is doubtful of it happening....

I can't speak to Nashville/Atlanta being an AMTRAK route; freight traffic and terraine would seem to be major issues for that to happen.  

Fifteen years ago there seemed to be much interest in the Atlanta Chattanooga route [roughly paralles I-75, and at that time it was mostly just a standard bi-directional 4 lane road.  The' talk' then was a movement to try and get an HSR link in that corridor... CSX was not too welcoming at the time.

A Memphis/Birmingham/Atlanta link is pretty much' dead' with the compleation of US-78/I-20 as an Interstate quality limited access road.

AMTRAK may be too late to the party..BUt never,say never.Whistling






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Posted by Overmod on Monday, January 20, 2020 12:07 PM

A Memphis/Birmingham/Atlanta link is pretty much' dead' with the compleation of US-78/I-20 as an Interstate quality limited access road.

In my opinion it makes very little sense to have Memphis-Atlanta without Nashville.  The railroad involved to Birmingham is the ex-Frisco, which is largely single track and relatively heavily trafficked; I believe a considerable part of this is presently either very low or no superelevation on the large number of curves.  

Birmingham to Atlanta of course already has Amtrak service ...  and it's less than half an hour longer than the nominal drive on I-20.  So a Memphis-Birmingham train is likely to be an accommodation train only, something of a 'way around' to reach either the Florida or New York markets.  It would be interesting to consider timings and schedules to coordinate, say, the southbound Crescent (at Birmingham) with the northbound CoNO (at Memphis) which allows about 10 hours for the northbound leg (all essentially in daylight) from 12 noon in Birmingham.  Southbound from Chicago you would be leaving Memphis at just after 6:00am ... again this leg would be all daylight, but I don't think that's enough time to allow one trainset to service the route safely. 

And it still leaves Nashville out.

I don't think the planners have looked at the Fulton vs. Memphis connection carefully enough.  We had a thread here a couple of years ago about the perennial 'feasibility studies' for an HSR corridor north of Atlanta; extending this past Chattanooga to Nashville seems wholly logical.  The question then becomes whether Memphis needs a HSR connection to Nashville (as opposed to a segment from Birmingham or Chattanooga via ex-Southern or ex-Frisco respectively) or whether it might make sense to connect to a MEM-CHI corridor further north and then take advantage of that existing service to reach Memphis formally from the east...

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Posted by oltmannd on Monday, January 20, 2020 3:18 PM

I think this is a bad idea.  Atlanta to Nashville is 4:00 by car.  A 6:30 train schedule won't cut it.

Even if you could coerce CSX and NS to cooperate without a boatload of money, You are still dealing with 19th century alignments that have had scant upgrading in the 20th Century.  They are still basically "laid on the dirt" and haven't had a lot of the improvments the lines in the northeast had that make them suitable for passenger service. 

It would be much better to save your money for a "greenfield" HSR alignment in the rural areas of this route.  GA has studied this many times as far as Chattanooga -even as a Maglev train.  

An Atlanta- Chatt - Nashville - Louisville - Indy - Chicago service might work.  Lots of good sized O-D pairs.

-Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else?

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