Madison Avenue Line (MATA Trolley)
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|Madison Avenue Line|
Downtown view at Danny Thomas Station
|Locale||Memphis, Tennessee, United States|
|Operator(s)||Memphis Area Transit Authority|
|Line length||2.2 mi (3.5 km)|
|Track length||4.5 mi (7.2 km)|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The Madison Avenue Line is a line of the Memphis Area Transit Authority trolley system. The trolley line began operating in 2004, and cost $56 million to build. Currently, it operates 2.2 mi (3.5 km) of double track along Madison Avenue with six stops stretching into Midtown Memphis. The line was built to connect the Main Street system to the Medical District just east of Downtown Memphis, though there are currently no connecting routes between the two lines. The line is the first stage of a master plan to build a light rail link to the Memphis International Airport.
Beginning at the intersection of Main Street and Madison Avenue, the line heads east. After passing Autozone Park, the trolley crosses over Danny Thomas Boulevard on two rail-specific bridges on either side of the Madison Avenue bridge. The line continues through the Medical District passing through University of Tennessee Health Science Center campus before crossing over I-240 and heading into Midtown. The line terminates abruptly just after Cleveland Street in the Crosstown neighborhood.
As stated above, this line is the first portion of a light rail line running from Downtown Memphis to the Memphis International Airport. There are currently two options available. The first one would be to extend the line east along Madison Avenue to Cooper Street, south to near the Cooper Young neighborhood, and continue south along Airways Blvd. The second option is to branch off of the existing line at Pauline Street, going south to Lamar Avenue, and then traveling southeast to Airways. In the event that either of these lines are constructed, the trolley cars would be moved to the Main Street/Riverfront lines and be replaced with modern light rail vehicles.
Action has been stalled due to funding issues and lack of public interest. MATA is looking at utilizing express routes for buses as a temporary solution. Any construction of a light rail line would cost around $400 million.