Central Station (Memphis)

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Memphis Central Station
Memphis Central 020427.jpg
Central Station
Location 545 S. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Coordinates 35°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 by Memphis Area Transit Authority
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 2

MATA Main Street Trolley

MATA Riverfront Loop
Parking Yes
Bicycle facilities Yes
Disabled access Yes
Other information
Station code MEM
Opened 1914
Rebuilt 1999
Passengers (2013) 76,171[1]Increase 4.2%
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
toward New Orleans
City of New Orleans
toward Chicago
  Former services  
Illinois Central
toward New Orleans
Main Line
Terminus Memphis – Louisville
toward Louisville
toward New Orleans
Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad
Main Line
toward Greenwood
Memphis – Greenwood Terminus
Rock Island Line
toward Tucumcari
Tucumcari – Memphis Terminus
Location of the Memphis Amtrak Station.
Location of the Memphis Amtrak Station.
Location within Tennessee

Memphis Central Station, referred as Grand Central Station prior to 1944, is a passenger terminal located Memphis, Tennessee, along Main Street and G.E. Patterson Boulevard, south of the downtown business district. The station is currently served by Amtrak's City of New Orleans route as well as Memphis Riverfront and Main Street trolley cars.


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).

Memphis Central Station was owned by Illinois Central Railroad and the station was also used by Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad, St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, and Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway. 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.

Named trains serving Memphis Central Station[edit]

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

Decline and Renovation[edit]

Today Central 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, nearly all passenger trains in the United States were handed over to Amtrak, which began operating a single train through Memphis, 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 Memphis 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 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.

Role during Hurricane Gustav (2008) evacuations[edit]

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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2013, State of Tennessee" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  2. ^ Tom Charlier (2008-08-30). "Amtrak bringing hundreds of storm evacuees to Memphis". Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2008-08-30. 

External links[edit]