Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta High Speed Trains Assessment
This application was prepared for TDOT to the Federal Railroad Administration seeking a high-speed rail corridor designation between Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta.
In December 2000, the Tennessee
Department of Transportation
(TDOT) retained the services of a
team consisting of engineering fms
ARCADIS and STV Inc. (and
others) to develop the Rail Plan for
Tennessee. As defined by TDOT, the goal of the plan
was to "provide policy, procedural and system
management guidance and assist TDOT in its efforts to
re-define its role with regard to rail system projects."
One of the major tasks of the Rail Plan was to study
the potential for intercity passenger rail service in
Currently, passenger rail service in Tennessee is
extremely limited. Though Tennessee has more than
3,000 miles of active rail lines, only 132 miles of track
are used by passenger trains. Passenger rail service in
Tennessee is completely confined to the western edge of the state where Amtrak's City of New Orleans
(Chicago to New Orleans) route provides late-night,
daily service to two Tennessee train stations.
A broad public involvement process paralleled the
development of the Rail Plan. This process included a
steering committee (Rail System Plan Advisory
Committee-RSPAC), which helped provide project
input and direction. RSPAC consisted of a variety of
elected officials, local and state governmental
agencies, Class I railroads, short line railroads, and
public interest groups.
Tennessee recognizes the importance of a strong and
viable intercity rail service. The application to extend
the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor from Atlanta
to Nashville is just one part of a larger planning effort
in progress. Eventually, high speed trains could
connect the cities of Savannah, Macon, Atlanta,
Chattanooga, and Nashville northward to Chicago.
Such a network would link the two busiest airports in
the United States, enhancing travel security in the
Southeast and Midwest.
The Intercity Passenger Rail component of the Rail
Plan (which preceded this application) was completed in early 2003. The results of that
report demonstrated that reestablishing passenger rail
service in Tennessee could have the following results:
- Provide a viable and attractive means of intrastate and intercity travel
- Help improve air quality
- Provide an alternative means of transportation for those unable to drive
- Facilitate linkages with other public transport modes
- Enhance statewide economic development opportunities
- Promote tourism throughout the state
That report concluded that the most promising (highest
benefit-to-cost ratio) passenger rail corridor in the state
was the corridor linking the cities of Nashville to
Chattanooga on to Atlanta, with eventual connection
from Nashville to Louisville, Kentucky.
- Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta High Speed Trains Assessment