Todd DeFeo

Atlanta-to-Chattanooga high-speed train seems unlikely

Amtrak at Winter Park, Fla. An Amtrak train pulls into Winter Park, Fla. (Photo by Todd DeFeo / (c) 2012)

Pardon me, boy. Is that a high-speed train? Apparently, that would be a no.

A high-speed rail link between Atlanta and Chattanooga appears to be off the tracks because of a lack of money and political will, Chattanooga’s mayor told a newspaper last week.

“Any kind of intercity rail doesn’t happen without large-scale federal investment,” the Chattanooga Times Free Press quoted Mayor Andy Berke as saying. “It’s pretty clear that the federal government is not in a position right now to do large-scale infrastructure investments.”

State and federal officials have long discussed building a high-speed passenger rail connection between the cities of Atlanta and Chattanooga and have spent millions studying the feasibility of such a line. In addition to a passenger rail connection, officials have at times discussed the possibility of a maglev train connecting the two cities.

But, without the community support and the identified funding source, the project is not likely to happen.

“It only works if the community is behind it,” Berke said, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press report. “It’s a real investigation as to whether it’s economically feasible and there’s enough community support to make it realistic. And if there’s not, we shouldn’t do it.”

Meanwhile, and in an unrelated project, officials in Chattanooga, a town made famous by the railroads, are debating a citywide light rail network. The City Council has agreed to a $690,000 study to examine whether 23 miles of existing railroad tracks can be converted for use with an electric light rail system, Nooga.com reported.

About Todd DeFeo
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.