Tennesseans have a new Thruway Bus Connection

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

lepearso

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
317
I just got an e-mail from a friend at Amtrak.

Amtrak and Greyhound have put together a new Thruway Bus connection that serves Nashville and Clarksville, Tennessee; Paducah, Kentucky; and Evansville, Indiana via the St. Louis Gateway Station.

The bus schedules are already loaded on Amtrak.com and there should be press release from Amtrak in the next day or so.

This new arrangement should connect these cities to and from the Texas Eagle, the Lincoln Service, and the Missouri River Runner.

Stay tuned for an official announcement!
 

eblkheart

Service Attendant
Joined
Jul 30, 2013
Messages
124
Good to know. I'm thinking about moving to Nashville and that would my decision believe it or not. I was stunned a few months back to see that there wasn't any service to Nashville. Bus or otherwise.
 

TN Tin Man

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 10, 2010
Messages
71
Thanks for heads-up.

I booked a trip to Seattle for late March From Birmingham. ( I live in Southern Mid-Tennessee )

Checking the same date now using Nashville (BNA) doesn't allow a final destination of Seattle. I can do multi-city and get there. But the options are bus rides to St. Louis or Chicago.

Why wouldn't they try to connect to stations closer to BNA? Memphis, Birmingham, and Atlanta come to mind.

I guess some service is better than no service.
 

PaulM

Conductor
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Messages
2,268
Checking the same date now using Nashville (BNA) doesn't allow a final destination of Seattle. I can do multi-city and get there. But the options are bus rides to St. Louis or Chicago.
This is a new variation of the published route bug (feature). Supposedly, all connections must be entered into the system manually, and those responsible assume no one would want to go from Nashville to Seattle, or MSP for that matter.

Many AUer's believe that this is in order to prevent odd ball, round about, rail fan only AGR awards. Your situation is another counter-example. Nashville - STL - CHI - SEA is about as direct as you will find with Amtrak. On the other hand the more round about Birmingham to Seattle via DC or Charlottesville is a published route.

Incidentally, I think NVL is the Amtrak code for Nashville.

Why wouldn't they try to connect to stations closer to BNA? Memphis, Birmingham, and Atlanta come to mind.
If you are asking about Nashville to Birmingham, etc, I think the answer is that these would be all bus and not involve Amtrak.
 

TN Tin Man

Train Attendant
Joined
Jan 10, 2010
Messages
71
Checking the same date now using Nashville (BNA) doesn't allow a final destination of Seattle. I can do multi-city and get there. But the options are bus rides to St. Louis or Chicago.
This is a new variation of the published route bug (feature). Supposedly, all connections must be entered into the system manually, and those responsible assume no one would want to go from Nashville to Seattle, or MSP for that matter.

Many AUer's believe that this is in order to prevent odd ball, round about, rail fan only AGR awards. Your situation is another counter-example. Nashville - STL - CHI - SEA is about as direct as you will find with Amtrak. On the other hand the more round about Birmingham to Seattle via DC or Charlottesville is a published route.

Incidentally, I think NVL is the Amtrak code for Nashville.

Why wouldn't they try to connect to stations closer to BNA? Memphis, Birmingham, and Atlanta come to mind.
If you are asking about Nashville to Birmingham, etc, I think the answer is that these would be all bus and not involve Amtrak.
Thanks for the correction on Nashville being NVL. I've been getting lazy by using airline codes.

The OP's point was new (bus) service from Nashville. I was pointing out that the new bus service involved long bus rides to STL or CHI. I was wondering why the service didn't connect to AMTRAK stations closer to NVL.

As an example, when mock booking, I used NVL to NOL . The new published route is by bus to CHI then the CONO to NOL. Instead of a short bus ride to Memphis to catch the CONO. Or a short bus ride to BHM to catch the Crescent.

As for my trip. I wanted the most bang for my AGR buck. So I opted for the BHM - SEA.

Crescent to the Sunset to the Coast Starlight two zone bedroom.

$2,888 value for 40,000 points.

This also is a published route.

I hope this clears up my last post
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,778
I just got an e-mail from a friend at Amtrak.

Amtrak and Greyhound have put together a new Thruway Bus connection that serves Nashville and Clarksville, Tennessee; Paducah, Kentucky; and Evansville, Indiana via the St. Louis Gateway Station.
Cool. Some questions came to mind immediately:

Is this one connection or two? It doesn't seem like Paducah and Evansville are on the same route from Nashville to St. Louis.

(Poking at the reservations website, it appears to be two buses a day, one on each route. Westbounds are 8313 via Paducah and 8303 via Evansville. Both stop in Clarksville.)

Also, is there a connection to the CONO? (It looks like there isn't.)
 

TVRM610

Conductor
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
1,664
There is a Nashville to Memphis greyhound that allows plenty of time to catch the northbound city.

The one catch is you have to get from the greyhound terminal near the Memphis airport to downtown Memphis. There are city bus lines but I personally used Uber.
 

Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,512
What does it take for Amtrak and Greyhound to set up a joint Thruway service? There are quite a few stations shared by Amtrak and Greyhound (or other intercity bus services) including BOS, BTL, KAL, MKE, NOL, STL, SYR, WAS, and many others. But most have only a few Thruway connections at best. I guess I'm just wondering what is involved in the process of turning an existing intercity bus schedule (not modifying it at all) into an Amtrak Thruway service.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
835
There is a Nashville to Memphis greyhound that allows plenty of time to catch the northbound city.

The one catch is you have to get from the greyhound terminal near the Memphis airport to downtown Memphis. There are city bus lines but I personally used Uber.
I agree, bus to St. Louis (about 7 hours) only makes sense if you're heading to KC and points west or the TE. Otherwise Nashville to Memphis is a much shorter (about 3hrs 50 min) bus segment if you're heading to Chicago and points beyond.

For that matter why not also have Birmingham to Memphis (3'30") bus to connect CONO and Crescent. That would provide one night service from Atlanta to Chicago rather than two via Washington or New Orleans. Both would be especially attractive if they were an Amtrak chartered bus rather than greyhound. Can't imagine a 'normal' person making that Memphis airport shuffle. At the least, Amtrak should get Greyhound to make a Memphis station stop. Or, how about working with an outfit like Bolt bus that does make random stops in the city. Sort of like getting in bed with the enemy.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
T

twa904

Guest
There is a Nashville to Memphis greyhound that allows plenty of time to catch the northbound city.

The one catch is you have to get from the greyhound terminal near the Memphis airport to downtown Memphis. There are city bus lines but I personally used Uber.
I agree, bus to St. Louis (about 7 hours) only makes sense if you're heading to KC and points west or the TE. Otherwise Nashville to Memphis is a much shorter (about 3hrs 50 min) bus segment if you're heading to Chicago and points beyond.

For that matter why not also have Birmingham to Memphis (3'30") bus to connect CONO and Crescent. That would provide one night service from Atlanta to Chicago rather than two via Washington or New Orleans. Both would be especially attractive if they were an Amtrak chartered bus rather than greyhound. Can't imagine a 'normal' person making that Memphis airport shuffle. At the least, Amtrak should get Greyhound to make a Memphis station stop. Or, how about working with an outfit like Bolt bus that does make random stops in the city. Sort of like getting in bed with the enemy.
If you are going to do and Atlanta-Chicago trip via the Crescent and the CONO, with the timing of the arrival in Birmingham, aren't you going to have a long layover somewhere. if a chartered bus left B'ham at around 12:30 to 1 PM, you would be in Memphis by 4 to 4:30, and the CONO doesn't depart Memphis until sometime after 10P.

Now, headed southbound with the early morning arrival in Memphis a ride down to B'ham would not leave you with that long of a layover. But then with the condition of the station in B'ham, I'm not sure I'd want to wait to long there.
 

Palmland

OBS Chief
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
835
Hope that means going to plan train route to Nashville
I hope you're not holding your breath waiting for the state of TN to start intercity rail service to/from Nashville.
Not a remote possibility of that. Even back in the day, NC&StL City of Memphis was not very popular. Best we can hope for is a thruway bus connection. Nashville to Memphis would be a good start, in addition to the one discussed by the OP.
 
B

Bus Nut

Guest
I'm sure that they are doing Nashville to STL because a) it's a service that doesn't yet exist (as noted above you can get a bus to the closer cities from Greyhound) and b) STL offers far more departures (regional destinations) than Memphis, TN.

Why wouldn't they try to draw more customers into their regional service? This is a very logical move.

I doubt this is a pitch for more LD riders although some of you do seem to be considering it! Just ignore NPRC and take the 'Hound to Memphis to ride the CONO--nobody's stopping you. ^_^

I'm glad Amtrak is pursuing this Thruway strategy, looking for opportunities to do something similar to what has been accomplished with Thruways on the West Coast.
 

lepearso

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 23, 2004
Messages
317
A Nashville-Memphis Thruway Bus seems logical, but it's really not cost effective. Because the Amtrak and Greyhound stations in Memphis are so far apart, and because the existing Greyhound schedules don't coincide with Amtrak, it's not practical to work out a shared ticketing arrangement with Greyhound.

So, the only alternative is to charter a dedicated bus to operate between the two. The problem with that scenario is the early morning - late evening departures and arrivals in Memphis that would make ome of the Nashville bus times unattractive. And here again lies another problem...the buses would only be serving one train at a time, which limits ridership on the bus and thus making the bus service a greater financial burden.

In most scenarios, a dedicated Thruway Bus needs to connect more than one train in more than one direction in order to be cost effective.

The Nashville-St. Louis Thruway is a winner in two respects. One, it uses existing Greyhound schedules that already connect with existing Amtrak schedules. Two, the buses connect with more than one Amtrak train in more than one direction. Aside from that, these buses serve other reasonably large cities that are now connected to Amtrak. Clarksville, Tennessee, for example, is the Volunteer State's fifth largest city and is near a major military base.

My contact at Amtrak says that the next inevitable Thruway Bus connection will be Nashville-Birmingham as soon as the new Birmingham Intermodal Station is finished in 2016. When it happens, the existing Greyhound schedules will connect with the Crescent coming and going in both directions. These buses already serve Huntsville, Alabama. It will be possible to board a bus in the morning hours, connect to the train at mid-day, and arrive in New Orleans by mid-evening.
 

justinslot

Service Attendant
Joined
May 25, 2014
Messages
132
Has anyone taken this bus yet? I am not a bus person myself...I'm trying to determine the least horrible way to Nashville from Philadelphia that does not involve flying. I've kind of decided it's going to be driving but am open to other ideas.

In the three or four years I've been traveling by train Nashville is the least accessible destination I've encountered, btw.
 

abcnews

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
786
I was wondering if a bus connection with the Crescent in Charlottesville would work. It's a long bus ride, but it would be overnight an the passengers could sleep. The Crescent arrives in Charlottesville, VA at around 9 PM. The bus could connect and run non-stop to Nashville (which is all Interstate highway), and it could arrive around 7:30 AM. It gives Nashville a connection to the Northeast corridor, and the heavy population metro areas of DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York. And with easy connections to New England.
 

Carolina Special

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
347
Greyhound already has a bus from Charlottesville that leaves at 9:40 PM and gets to Nashville at 8:35 AM (not non-stop). In theory that might work as a connection. Return trip could connect to the NB Crescent or the Lynchburg NER depending on arrival time.

Is an overnight trip really that popular enough for Amtrak to spend the bus connection money on, though?
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,944
Has anyone taken this bus yet? I am not a bus person myself...I'm trying to determine the least horrible way to Nashville from Philadelphia that does not involve flying. I've kind of decided it's going to be driving but am open to other ideas.

In the three or four years I've been traveling by train Nashville is the least accessible destination I've encountered, btw.
How about taking the Crescent from Philly at 3:55 PM, arrive Atlanta at 8:13 AM; leave Atlanta on Greyhound at 8:45 AM, and arrive Nashville at 12:50 PM?

If that connection seems too tight, there is another bus from Atlanta at 12:45 PM, arriving Nashville at 4:55 PM......

Check for any updated schedules before using the times I quoted.....
 

jebr

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
3,914
You'd have to do the 12:45 PM bus out of Atlanta unless you get really lucky and took a cab. The stations are about a half-hour apart by bus and train (one transfer) and Google estimates 14-24 minutes for the drive that time of day.
 

justinslot

Service Attendant
Joined
May 25, 2014
Messages
132
Thanks for the replies, guys.

Even though it takes longer--perhaps the simplest route is the most obvious one: Philly to Chicago, Chicago to Memphis, pick up a rental car in Memphis. Super long layover in Chicago but I don't mind super long layovers in stations with lounges and that are, you know, located in major cities.
 
Top