Amtrak pitches adding Nashville to Atlanta passenger train

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Amtrak executives say they want to establish a passenger route from Nashville to Atlanta, with stops including Murfreesboro, Tullahoma and Chattanooga.

According to news reports, Tennessee lawmakers heard the pitch from the the federally-owned passenger train corporation during a House Transportation panel meeting this week.

Currently, Nashville has no Amtrak routes. The only Tennessee route stops in Memphis and Newbern-Dyersburg.

Ray Lang, Amtrak's government affairs director, says the idea is in the early stages because the plan would require the federal government to create a grant program for states. It also requires an deal with CSX Corp — the railroad owner — to add more passenger trains.

Lang says the Nashville to Atlanta route would take six-and-half hours and would run twice a day in each direction.

Democratic Rep. Jason Powell says he wants to introduce legislation this year to study the feasibility of Amtrak's expansion in Tennessee.