Volunteer Your Support for Passenger Rail in 2018!

  June 2018
TARP Membership Meeting
Saturday, August 18th
Casey Jones Old Country Store, Jackson, TN
Let's Get Together!

What:  Meeting of the Tennessee Association of Railroad Passengers

When:  Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Where:  The Old Country Store at Casey Jones Village, 56 Casey Jones Lane, Jackson, Tennessee.  www.caseyjones.com/oldcountrystore 

Who:  Members of TARP, RPA (NARP), and any other interested individuals.   
Who else?  We cordially invite rail passengers from Alabama and Mississippi to join us as well !  
Why:  We need to touch base and strengthen our resolve in Tennessee!

Here are some issues we need to discuss and take action on:
  • TARP's response to changes and proposed changes to Amtrak's long-distance network trains.
  • Our goal to hold a membership drive in East Tennessee in the fall.
  • Where do we go from here now that Nashville is back to square one on a transit plan?
  • Ways to promote and build Amtrak's West Tennessee footprint.
How much:
The $30 price covers the meeting space, meeting materials, and a buffet lunch in the Country Store.  Click here to pay now.   
If you are unable to attend the meeting, but want to support the meeting with a small donation, we will appreciate the help!  You can send $5, $10, or any amount you choose to help us cover the cost of advertising and publicity for the event.   
Click here to send a donation

We hope you can join us for a great time together in West Tennessee and in a famous Tennessee landmark!
The City of New Orleans has a new stop!
For more than two decades Amtrak's City of New Orleans had a major gap in service.

Prior to 1995 the train served a popular route through the northern region of Mississippi that included station stops in Batesville and Granada. 

The 1995 reroute caused the train to cover the 126 miles between Memphis and Greenwood without a scheduled stop.  Passengers who were served in the past by rail stations in Batesville and Grenada were forced to drive a longer distance to catch the train.  Ironically, this region of Mississippi has lower-than-average car ownership and very few transportation options. 

We are pleased to know that Amtrak and area civic leaders opened a new station in Marks, Mississippi on May 4, 2018.  The new station serves thousands of residents who lost convenient access to the rail system after the 1995 reroute.

This new stop is a boost for the City of New Orleans and further proof that Amtrak's long-distance routes provide a valuable service!

Here's an interesting article you should read:

When the train stops in the Delta
Memphis Trolley is back in service after a 4-year absence!

TARP is pleased to mention that the MTA Memphis Trolley is back in service as of May 2, 2018!
The four-year absence took a toll on business in downtown Memphis as the trolley system carried thousands of daily passengers who contributed enormously to the vital tourism industry that drives downtown.
The system is coming back on line in phases as the rebuilt cars are gradually reintroduced into service.
Click on the following articles to read more about it:
TARP members concerned about recent and proposed changes at Amtrak

Members of the Tennessee Association of Railroad Passengers are adding our voices of concern regarding recent and proposed changes to Amtrak's long distance routes.
Our first concern follows Amtrak's recent announcement that full service dining cars on the Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited routes will be phased out and replaced with "modern, fresh options" for sleeping car passengers.   
The new options will involve cold meal selections prepared by an outside commissary and served on board either in sleeping accommodations or in an unstaffed lounge space.
Under this arrangement, coach passengers have only the cafe in the lounge car for on-board food service.
We fully understand that Amtrak is in a difficult position.  For one, the Capitol Limited and the Lake Shore Limited operate on schedules that do not allow the respective dining cars to maximize patronage.  The Lake Shore, for example, leaves Chicago at 9:30 p.m., which is too late to offer traditional dinner service.
However, we believe that other options should be considered.  The City of New Orleans and the Cardinal are two trains that offer an abbreviated on-board meal service that meets the need of coach and sleeper passengers albeit at a lower overhead cost than a full-service dining car.
We also believe that, when the various track improvement projects in the east are completed, both the Lake Shore and the Capitol can be rescheduled to offer more attractive departure times.  These revised schedules would boost the demand for on-board food service and help sustain the traditional dining cars that already make long-distance trains more appealing.  
Our second concern involves Amtrak management's system-wide decision to close ticket offices in stations that serve less than 40 passenger per day.  This means that Cincinnati, Ohio and Meridian, Mississippi are among stations that will lose their station staff.
We are fully aware that more and more people purchase tickets online rather than in a traditional ticket office, but we don't believe that a sweeping policy is in Amtrak's best interest.  In our opinion, management should have taken a case-by-case approach and carefully considered the total value of the services provided by ticket and baggage offices.
We are following these issues very carefully and will keep everyone posted.  Stay tuned for any Calls to Action we may send in the near future. 
Anniston, Alabama proves that the south is going intermodal

The historic Southern Railway depot at Anniston Amtrak is now fully intermodal!
Greyhound recently relocated their bus service from a curbside in Oxford to the Anniston station alongside Amtrak's Crescent and the local ACTS bus service.  In the near future the station will serve as a trail head for the Chief Ladiga bicycle trail.
There's more to come:  
Raleigh, North Carolina will soon have an all-new intermodal station with easy rail and bus connections.   
Miami has a new rail station at Miami International Airport serving Tri-Rail and we hope to see Amtrak services extended there before the end of the year.   
Jacksonville, Florida is developing an intermodal station that already serves Greyhound and local transit.  The conversation to bring Amtrak into the facility is in early stages. 
Nashville transit - an issue that's not going away

There are mixed feelings about the failed transit referendum in Metro Nashville.

For starters, we must keep in mind that many of those who voted "No" stated very clearly that they are not anti-transit.

Some of the "No" votes believed that the referendum was a way to spend billions of dollars without addressing the real source of Nashville's traffic gridlock.  As one comment on Facebook reflected:  "a light rail train down West End won't solve traffic gridlock between Nashville and Franklin."

Some of the "No" voters had simply lost their confidence in the mayor who was behind the proposal and who subsequently resigned from office.

At the same time, some of the "Yes" votes were people who were not fully on board with the proposals in the referendum, but who thought that anything beats the status quo. 

All things considered, we must take note that conversations about transit in Nashville are ongoing and proposals are in the works. 

One example of both a proposal and a conversation is the project to develop a mixed-used neighborhood around the Donelson station for the Music City Star.

When the dust settles and a new mayor takes office, we believe that conversations and proposals will move forward again.  Of course, what we really need is action - action that helps ease the gridlock in Music City!
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  TARP| PO Box 585 | Cowan, TN 37318 | tarprail@gmail.com | www.tarprail.org
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