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Talks emerge about Amtrak passenger rail linking Atlanta to Nashville. All aboard?

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Tennessee officials are reportedly consulting with the train company about changing the way we cross state lines

A picture of a blue and silver Amtrak train stopped at a station.
Avoiding traffic during trips to Music City could be in the cards for Atlantans.
Getty Images

Today, Atlanta’s only Amtrak passenger rail station allows riders to head west, toward Alabama, and northeast, toward the Carolinas.

Imagine, though, if you could board at the Peachtree Station and make a beeline toward Nashville—and maybe a pitstop in Chattanooga for lunch

That scenario could become reality, if tentative plans for a new Amtrak line pan out.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tennessee leaders are in talks with Amtrak officials about developing such a route.

A Tennessee state House representative told the publication that policymakers believe the project could be a long way out, but there’s definitely enough interest to get transit wonks talking.

Ultimately, the idea Amtrak is teasing would create a medium- and long-distance intercity network linking a web of American and Canadian cities.

Seventeen states are now under contract with Amtrak, per the publication, and ridership is on the upswing.

Plans for the rail link between Nashville and Atlanta could take some four or five years to materialize, as it’s largely reliant on Congress approving the upcoming Federal Surface Transportation bill this spring.

In other passenger rail-related news, federal and state officials have been working on a plan that could create a new high-speed railway from Atlanta to Charlotte.

Called the Southeast High-Speed Rail (SEHSR), it would ultimately stretch from Atlanta to Washington D.C., and then to the Northeast Corridor that links to Boston.