WJHL – April 5, 2023 | By Josh Smith, Jayonna Scurry
BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) — The Bristol, Tennessee City Council offered a show of support for a 150-year-old landmark in downtown Bristol.
Council members formally endorsed a fundraising campaign for the historic Bristol Train Station.
“There’s a lot of effort in this region to be welcoming and to encourage the rail service to come back, not just into Virginia but also through Tennessee and beyond,” said Vice Mayor Mark Hutton.
The building built by Norfolk & Southern in 1856 was a hub for passenger rail service through 1971, according to the city resolution.
Now, the Bristol Train Station Foundation is raising money to make improvements at the station in anticipation of the return of rail service to Bristol.
The Federal Rail Administration recently approved Virginia’s statewide rail plan that calls for passenger rail service from Washington D.C. to Bristol.
“This resolution is meant to really send a clear message to anybody and everybody involved in this whole decision making that both sides of Bristol want this here,” Hutton said. “And it’s a great opportunity for our cities to work together on something that’s really powerful that has great implications for the future of our city.”
The wording of the resolution reveals the city’s hope that, after years of discussions but no action, passenger rail service through Bristol is a real possibility.
“As Council is aware, it was recently announced that passenger rail service will be returning to the twin cities,” the resolution states. “In preparation of this event, the Bristol Trainstation Foundation is undertaking a campaign to renovate and improve our iconic train station for the benefit of the community and the many visitors who enjoy the many cultural and natural treasures in our region.”