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Memphis Central Station, referred to as Grand Central Station prior to 1944, is a passenger terminal in Memphis, Tennessee. Located along Main Street and G.E. Patterson Boulevard in Downtown Memphis, it currently a service stop for Amtrak's City of New Orleans route, and is also served by the MATA Trolley system. The building was opened in 1914.

Memphis Central Station
Memphis Central 020427.jpg
Location545 S. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
United States
Coordinates35°07′56″N 90°03′34″W / 35.1323°N 90.0594°W / 35.1323; -90.0594Coordinates: 35°07′56″N 90°03′34″W / 35.1323°N 90.0594°W / 35.1323; -90.0594
Owned byMemphis Area Transit Authority
Line(s)Illinois Central (CN)
Platforms1 side platform
Tracks2
ConnectionsMATA Main Street Trolley MATA Riverfront Loop
Construction
ParkingYes
Bicycle facilitiesYes
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeMEM
History
Opened1914
Rebuilt1999
Traffic
Passengers (2017)73,637[1]Increase 2.09%
Services
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
toward New Orleans
City of New Orleans
toward Chicago
Location
Memphis Central Station is located in Tennessee
Memphis Central Station
Memphis Central Station
Location within Tennessee

Contents

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

 
Train 22, the Cherokee from Tucumcari waiting at Memphis Central Station on April 16, 1962

Central Station was built on the site of a former station known as Calhoun Street Station. Both stations were owned by the Illinois Central Railroad or its predecessors. Construction of Memphis Central Station began in September 1912, and the station was opened for service on October 4, 1914. The track design included five stub-end tracks (station tracks 1-5), and five through tracks (station tracks 6-10).

The station was also used by Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad, St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, (also known as the Frisco) and Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway (also known as Rock Island Railroad). Between April 1, 1964, and November 30, 1966, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was also a tenant, during the time that Memphis Union Station was closed.

Lavender v. Kurn, 327 U.S. 645 (1946) was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States dealing with a negligent wrongful death case against a railroad employer under the station. The relatives of the switchtender sued for negligence under the Federal Employers Liability Act and the Supreme Court upheld the claim.

Decline and renovationEdit

 
Today the station has just a single platform

Like other large stations across America, the rapid decline of the passenger train network in the 1960s made Memphis Central Station an aging, nearly deserted monument to an earlier era. Rock Island passenger train service to Memphis ended in November 1967, and Frisco train service ended a month later, leaving Illinois Central as the sole occupant of the station.

On May 1, 1971, Amtrak took over nearly all passenger trains in the United States. Amtrak cut back service to a single train, the City of New Orleans, and large sections of Central Station were closed off and abandoned. Illinois Central offices were moved from the station, and it appeared that the station would eventually be razed, facing the same fate as Union Station.

After falling into disrepair, Memphis Central Station gained a reputation as one of the worst stations on the Amtrak system. The property was eventually acquired by Memphis Area Transit Authority, and a massive renovation project was undertaken. Much of the former waiting room area of the station would become a public meeting area, the Illinois Central office space on upper floors was converted to condominiums, and Amtrak retained a smaller presence in the former midway area of the station. The station renovation, which was completed in November 1999, helped to speed the renovation and redevelopment of this once deserted area of downtown Memphis.

Presently, this is one of only two Amtrak stations in Tennessee, the other being the Newbern Depot.

Role during Hurricane Gustav (2008) evacuationsEdit

In anticipation of the landfall of Hurricane Gustav, the city of New Orleans began evacuating residents without the means to leave the city, starting on August 30, 2008. One thousand twenty-four evacuees arrived in Memphis via Amtrak.[2]

Named trains serving Memphis Central StationEdit

A partial list of named trains in the pre-Amtrak period that served Central Station:

  Former services  
Illinois Central
toward New Orleans
Main Line
TerminusMemphis – Louisville
toward Louisville
toward New Orleans
Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad
Main Line
Terminus
toward Greenwood
Memphis – GreenwoodTerminus
Rock Island Line
toward Tucumcari
Tucumcari – MemphisTerminus

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2017, State of Tennessee" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  2. ^ Tom Charlier (2008-08-30). "Amtrak bringing hundreds of storm evacuees to Memphis". Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2008-08-30.

External linksEdit