Georgia Rail Passenger Program

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The Georgia Rail Passenger Program (GRPP) is a set of plans, as yet unbuilt, for intercity and commuter rail in the U.S. state of Georgia.

Commuter Routes[edit]

Seven commuter routes were proposed to serve the Atlanta suburbs and nearby cities.

Athens to Atlanta ("Brain Train")[edit]

The Athens, Georgia route will connect nine of Georgia's colleges and universities, including Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Emory University, Georgia Gwinnett College, and the University of Georgia. Furthermore, the commuter rail will link the Centers for Disease Control, the new Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences, as well as the emerging BioScience Corridor along Georgia State Route 316.

The route is estimated to divert 1.8 million drivers from the highways by 2025.[1] As many as 8,000 individuals or more could conceivably use the system every day, and it could remove 5,300 cars daily from already overtaxed roadways during peak travel times. Also, previous studies have indicated that commuter rail is 25 times safer than driving.

The Georgia Brain Train Group is a non-profit organization with the goal to educate the general public about the opportunities surrounding commuter rail. The group is made of community activists, business leaders, and professionals from every county and city along the proposed route. The group is led by self-described entrepreneur, re-developer, and former Georgia state representative Emory Morsberger of the Morsberger Group.[2] Morsberger projects have previously included the revitalization of downtown Lawrenceville.[3]

As currently proposed, the route will cost $383 million as determined by a 2005 estimate. This price projection includes construction, rail stations, and rail cars. While tickets sales alone will not fully fund the $5 million in operating costs, it is important to note that no mass transit system in the United States operates without some form of government subsidies. Transit advocates often interpret transit subsidization as parallel to road building, which is typically totally subsidized, although ongoing operating costs may be lower.

Atlanta to Lovejoy and Macon[edit]

The Atlanta to Macon route was, as of 2006, seen as the first line ready for implementation, primarily because the railroad owner, Norfolk Southern had shown more interest than had CSX, the owner of the Athens line. In addition, the Clayton County Commission had offered to fund much of the operating costs of the line, over $106 million in funding was available from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and environmental assessment had been completed.[4]

Funding Delays[edit]

In April 2006, a line was slipped into the state budget forbidding the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) from spending any funds on commuter rail without direct approval from the General Assembly. Rail advocates saw that as a last-minute sabotage of the program, as the General Assembly only meets for 40 days once a year.[5] In addition, the Clayton County Commission in January 2007 withdrew its commitment to fund the operating costs of the line.

Revived Interest in 2008[edit]

There has been revived interest in the Lovejoy line in 2008 and the governor backed it in June.

In January 2008, a delegation of GDOT members visited Philadelphia and Chicago to see how commuter rail systems in those cities was implemented. They also visited the LYNX light rail line in Charlotte.

In early June, that delegation passed a mostly symbolic resolution urging state leaders to pass a transit policy.

In June 2008, under intense pressure from businesses and Atlanta residents along with other politicians, Governor Sonny Perdue backed the Lovejoy line and said he wants it to be pursued aggressively. This may have been partially spurred by a visit the Governor previously had to rep. David Scott's office. David Scott warned that the deadline for acting on the federal dollars would run out soon.[6]

Bremen to Atlanta[edit]

The Southern Railway operated this line heading west toward Birmingham, Alabama. The line continues to be used today for Amtrak's Crescent. Into the mid-1960s, the line had local service provided by the Frisco/Southern joint Kansas City-Florida Special and the Southern's #11/#12 train.[7]

Canton to Atlanta[edit]

This line of rail will run from Canton and connect into the Western and Atlantic Railroad line that runs from Atlanta to Acworth, then continue along the Western and Atlantic through Marietta, Smyrna, Cumberland, Vinings, and then the Bolton district of Atlanta, the Bankhead "West midtown" district of Atlanta (near Georgia Tech), then connect into either midtown via Atlantic Station or continue to Five Points, or both. Outside the city limits of Atlanta along this route, city populations total over 200,000 people if the high-density Cumberland district of Cobb County is included. Additionally, outlying areas would bring even more commuters.

A funding mechanism has been found for build up to Marietta from Atlanta by using future years' revenue from CSX to pay back the initial costs of a quick build-out. [1]

Gainesville to Atlanta[edit]

This line included a commuter operation until the early 1930s. It continues to be used by Amtrak for daily passenger service with the Crescent. Into the 1960s the Southern Railway ran this and other trains such as Piedmont Limited, Peach Queen, Southerner, daily along this same route. The Norfolk Southern Railway operates freight service on this line.

Atlanta to Social Circle[edit]

Traditionally, this was the Georgia Railroad main line heading east towards Augusta.[8]

Atlanta to West Point[edit]

Traditionally, this was the Atlanta and West Point Railroad, heading southwest in the direction of Montgomery, Alabama. Trains such as the Southern Railway's Crescent and Piedmont Limited made stops at West Point and some of the intermediate towns en route.[9]

North Georgia Commuter Rail (NGCR)[edit]

The North Georgia Commuter Rail is a new proposed commuter rail network composed of seven lines.

Gainesville Line
LACMTA Circle Red Line.svg
Atlanta Amtrak Station.jpg
North Georgia station, a major stop on the Gainesville line
Overview
TypeCommuter rail
SystemNorth Georgia Commuter Rail
StatusProposed
LocaleAtlanta
Fulton County
DeKalb County
Gwinnett County
Hall County
TerminiFive Points
Gainesville
Stations16
Operation
Operator(s)North Georgia Commuter Rail
CharacterGrade-separated and At-grade street running
Depot(s)Inman Yard
Rolling stockDiesel-Electric push-pull locomotives
Technical
Line length53.06 mi (85.39 km)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Route map

Amtrak
to New York
Gainesville
Amtrak
Westside/Lee Gilmer Airport
Oakwood
Flowery Branch
Rest Haven
Buford
Sugar Hill
Suwanee
Duluth
Pleasant Hill Road
Norcross
Chamblee
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
Brookhaven
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
Lenox
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
North Atlanta
Amtrak
Rome Service/Tallapoosa Corridor
to Rome and Tallapoosa
LaGrange Line
to LaGrange
Georgia Tech
Macon Service
to Macon
Five Points
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
Athens Line/Covington/Madison Line
to Athens and Madison
Bus interchange Bus connections at some stations
Tallapoosa Corridor
LACMTA Circle Blue Line.svg
Metrolink F125 905.jpg
The EMD F125, one of the two locomotives proposed for NGCR
Overview
TypeCommuter rail
SystemNorth Georgia Commuter Rail
StatusProposed
LocaleAtlanta
Fulton County
Cobb County
Douglas County
Carroll County
Haralson County
TerminiFive Points
Tallapoosa
Stations14
Operation
Operator(s)North Georgia Commuter Rail
CharacterGrade-separated and At-grade street running
Depot(s)Inman Yard
Rolling stockDiesel-Electric push-pull locomotives
Technical
Line length61.98 mi (99.75 km)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Route map

Amtrak
to New Orleans
Tallapoosa
Bremen
Temple
Villa Rica
Douglasville
Kellogg
Lithia Springs
Austell
Mableton
Cooper Lake
Scott's Crossing
Rome Service
to Rome
Knight Park
Gainesville Line
to Gainesville
LaGrange Line
to LaGrange
Georgia Tech
Macon Service
to Macon
Five Points
Metro interchange
Athens Line/Covington/Madison Line
to Athens and Madison
Bus interchange Bus connections at some stations

Intercity Routes[edit]

Routes proposed for intercity transportation include:[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Finding of No Significant Impact - Athens to Atlanta Commuter Rail Project
  2. ^ Morsberger Group
  3. ^ Horton Team Real Estate: October 2007
  4. ^ GDOT 2006 Fact Sheet - Lovejoy to Atlanta Rail Line
  5. ^ Georgia Rail Passenger Group Blasts "Great Train Robbery"
  6. ^ At last, Gov. Perdue on board for commuter rail
  7. ^ Southern Timetable, April 1964 http://streamlinermemories.info/South/SRR64-4TT.pdf
  8. ^ Official Guide of the Railways, Georgia Railroad section May 1945
  9. ^ Official Guide of the Railways, Atalanta and West Point section, May 1945
  10. ^ "Intercity Rail Program". Archived from the original on 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2008-02-17.

External links[edit]