GA DOT Studying High-Speed Train Routes

The Georgia Department of Transportation (GA DOT) is looking at three possible high-speed train routes between Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga, TN.

According to the GA DOT’s study, the best route would follow Interstate 75 with 8 stations over 128 miles. The route would take 88 minutes one-way—the fastest of the three possible routes.

The idea of a high-speed train connecting the two cities has been on the table since 2007, with series of studies being conducted by the GA DOT in the process.

Georgia Senator Jeff Mullis has been campaigning for the creation of such a train since 2009 when he proposed legislation for a high-speed “plane train” running directly from Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport to the Chattanooga Municipal Airport.

Sen. Mullis and many others believe that a high speed train in between the two cities will increase intercity mobility and economic growth, reducing traffic congestion and encouraging travel between the two cities.

The GA DOT has scheduled 3 upcoming public meetings about the project. The meetings are set for Nov 15 in Atlanta, Nov 16 in Chattanooga, and Nov. 17 in Dalton, GA.

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augusta52
augusta52

I would assume that any such line would have to be on a new route, certainly not on either of the CSX or Norfolk Southern lines that connect the two cities. Aside from the numerous curves on both routes, both carry heavy volumes of freight traffic, not surprising given the large amount of agricultural and manufactured goods traffic that comes here from the Midwest. Back in the 1990s there was a study done on a proposed Amtrak line between Chicago and Florida (which still remains an obvious gap in their national system), but the opposition of both major rail companies… Read more »

Teri
Teri

I would lock in a guarantee it won’t happen on the CSX lines. That conversation has been happening in fits and starts for years and as it’s one of CSX’s busiest corridors it’s highly unlikely they’ll share with commuters. Plus, because it’s so busy with freight, there’s an element of schedule unpredictability that doesn’t comport with a commuter rail schedule. BELIEVE ME, I would love to see commuter rail down that corridor, but I don’t see it happening.

gt7348b
gt7348b

Actually, one wrinkle is that CSX doesn’t own this corridor. It is leased from the State of Georgia and the lease is up in 2019. However, I agree it is not a good corridor for even conventional rail as it has too many curves limiting speeds.

Noway2016
Noway2016

Quick question and maybe too basic but are there enough commuters between these two cities to make this idea worthwhile or is it someone’s political dream?

Raleigh
Raleigh

The projection I read said the daily volume was projected to be around 11,700 per day. It did not say how they arrived at that figure…

gt7348b
gt7348b

If you read the document, this has been going on since 2007. They even still list as contacts for GRTA and MARTA Jannine Miller and Beverly Scott – neither of whom have been at those agencies for years. Draw your own conclusions about the seriousness of this effort. Also, this is geared towards intercity customers, not commuters and a desire to have a reliever airport to Hartsfield. I honestly think the best corridor is Atlanta-Charlotte for the following reasons: * The cities are large enough to have significant business and leisure travel between them * You’ve got Greenville and Spartanburg… Read more »

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

I understand the Tier I DEIS for Charlotte-Atlanta will include a greenfield alignment alternative.

Georgia and SC are working on the Jasper port together, which will have a large rail element, since it will be necessary to get NS to the SC side of the Savannah River to serve that port. Perhaps cooperation will carry over into the HSR sphere.

chefdavid
chefdavid

6-9 billion dollars would buy a lot of plane tickets.

chefdavid
chefdavid

Before it was estimated the cost would be $50 one way. I don’t see many commuting at that cost.

Teri
Teri

You might not pay it – but a business commuter would. It’s an easy business expense to justify as you’re buying time, and any employer would much rather have their employee working rather than driving.