Trains For America

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Nashville maglev plan inches ahead, more good rail news for Chatnooga

The Chattanooga Times Free Press is reporting that the preliminary study into a Nashville-Chatanooga indicates that the I-24 corridor would be the best place for a proposed maglev route linking the two Tennessee cities. The next step is to do an environmental impact study similar to what is already being done for an Atlanta-Chattanooga airport maglev link.

Joe Ferguson, who is overseeing the fast-train initiative for Chattanooga’s Enterprise Center, said the study’s results also will offer ridership projections as well as suggestions where stations may go on the route.

He said the $870,000 study is slated to be finished in late May.

Officials have said that while there’s no money to build a train, Chattanooga needs to be ready if funds become available from the federal government or private sector.

Mr. Ferguson told the center’s board the next step will be to perform an environmental impact study such as that which is in progress between Chattanooga and Atlanta.

“It’s preliminary to an EIS,” he said of the Nashville-Chattanooga study.

Wayne Cropp, the center’s executive director, said he returned earlier this month from Shanghai, China, where he rode on a magnetic levitation train that reached 280 mph.

“Maglev is outstanding technology,” he said about the train which operates on a 20-mile route.

Mr. Ferguson said the $7.9 million EIS study under way between the Chattanooga and Atlanta airports just completed its first full year and has about 18 months left.

This is great news for rail transport in Chattanooga. A city famous for its railroad heritage just might be at the center of two ultra-modern HSR projects in the coming years, bringing passenger trains back to what has been an obvious dead spot in the national system.

Filed under: Regional USA Passenger Rail, United States High Speed Rail

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April 2008