Steamguy73 wrote:The TC is taken up for about 30 miles between Crab Orchard and Monterrey TN, and while there’s been proposals to reinstate the trackage, the issue if the line does eventually return is Crossville, because there it passes right through the town and there has been a bit of development. Possible, but unlikely at best.
Tracing out the route against a topographic relief map, it seems the removed section between Carb Orchard and Monterrey is on a plateau where the grades appear relatively gentle. Additionally, the route seems to cross I-40 near both ends of the removed section. I wonder if the route could be realigned to follow I-40 through this area, possibly in the wide median. The way I see it, it would provide a significantly straighter alignment, which would boost average speed, and avoid issues with development encroaching the old ROW through the center of Crossville.
Another issue is the station in Nashville. The line from Knoxville currently terminates at the Riverfront station, which would be completely inadequate as a hub for trains in Nashville. Although Riverfront is well situated in downtown, it is a tiny facility that is awkward even for the 2-car Star commuter trains. Additionally, it lacks good track connections to other lines entering Nashville, requiring circuitous routing and reversing moves to access from most other routes. The direct line to Knoxville would need a connector to reach the area of Union Station.