Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Rome, Georgia has high speed in mind

The Rome newspaper, the Rome News, has a rather fair and generally informative story about the ongoing discussions to link Atlanta and Chattanooga by European style HSR. Memo to headline writer: quit calling it a “choo-choo.” That’s childisn and inaccurate. Trains no longer use steam generation. OK?

One more friendly reminder, taxpayers fund all public improvements and any new highway will be outdated opening day.

Here is part of a long story that is worth your time and perhaps reaction.

A route to near Cartersville and then on to Rome … maybe, as Atlanta’s main stations would still survive.

IT WOULD ALSO cut down on the certain construction chaos an I-75 pathway will cause … well, at least north of Cartersville. Are the lane closures and similar for heavy equipment access to the median from Hartsfield to near Cartersville even imaginable?

And remember, all those Atlanta area stations not only will slow the train speed but it has to decelerate, stop, let off, board passengers, start up again, accelerate. All time lost … which the super-fast last legs from Cartersville to Rome to Ringgold might help to make up.

Still, one gets the distinct impression that the “four projected routes” are there mainly in order to toss three of them away while saying “all options were considered.” If Atlanta and Chattanooga are growing into a single megapolis, then anything less than a straight-arrow route between them appears illogical.

Rome should certainly makes its case, if only for the potential convenience offered to current residents of this region. However, not to be overlooked is that such a train might also cause a form of growth not now really possible: Atlanta workers living in Rome in large numbers because they don’t have to worry about the commute. Given our lifestyle advantages over the metro, which are considerable, that’s a real likelihood.

A TYPICAL two-track configuration has a capacity (in Europe) of 15 trains per hour with 800 passengers per train, or 12,000 an hour (in each direction). If only one in 10 decided to call Rome home, that would be a lot of subdivisions (and water/sewer needs, classrooms, added street congestion and so forth).

Under current plans, the route selection will be narrowed sometime late next year and then a preferred first choice made in mid-2009. Don’t expect a Rome route to become the last man standing. But at least Rome does get to say it was “big enough to be considered.”

Nor, for that matter, does that preclude a future fast rail line from Rome to the next nearest station on the main route.

Filed under: United States High Speed Rail

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