Memphis Central Station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Memphis Central Station
Memphis Central 020427.jpg
Location 545 S. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
United States
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
Line(s) Illinois Central (CN)
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
Memphis Central Station is located in Tennessee
Memphis Central Station
Memphis Central Station
Location within Tennessee

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 serves Amtrak's City of New Orleans route and the MATA Trolley system. The building opened in 1914


Early history[edit]

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).

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.

Decline and renovation[edit]

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, 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]

Named trains serving Memphis Central Station[edit]

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

  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

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]

Media related to Central Station (Memphis, Tennessee) at Wikimedia Commons