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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Amtrak Special between Atlanta and Macon
Date: 03/07/01 08:01
Amtrak Special between Atlanta and Macon
Here's the story:
Rail trip shows problems, possibilities of new system
Kelly Simmons - Staff
Wednesday, March 7, 2001
They came from Colorado, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia to promote
The trip, however, was anything but.
For 3 1/2 hours Tuesday, rail proponents were wined and dined on a special
run of the Amtrak Crescent to Macon from Atlanta. Stopping occasionally for
passing freight trains, and creeping through urban areas, the train traveled
at speeds of up to 50 mph along the 70-mile route.
"If we could speed this thing up by two hours, we could start running it
every day," Macon Mayor Jack Ellis quipped as the train pulled into Macon.
Advocates for high-speed rail say that's exactly what they expect to happen
during the next few years.
"Eventually it will be the fast route --- there's no doubt about it," Ellis
Ellis pulled together the demonstration train ride, which began in Atlanta
Tuesday, and will continue on to Savannah today, to promote passage of the
High-Speed Rail Investment Act, which would provide $12 billion in financing
for Amtrak to develop high-speed rail corridors throughout the United
States. The Southeast high-speed rail corridor would link Houston; New
Orleans; Meridian, Miss.; Birmingham; Atlanta and Jacksonville. A second
corridor would link Atlanta with Charlotte through Greenville, S.C.
Among those participating in the trip were mayors from Denver; New Orleans;
Birmingham; and Meridian, Miss., all of them bound for the National
Conference of Black Mayors being held this week in Savannah. The conference
has endorsed the idea of high-speed rail across the nation.
Tuesday's trip was just a demonstration, with Amtrak footing the bill to run
the Crescent --- which typically operates between New York and New
Orleans --- from Atlanta to Savannah on Norfolk Southern-owned railroad
But local rail advocates used it as an opportunity to show the ease of train
transportation, and the opportunities that would be available if the rail
lines were upgraded to accommodate high-speed trains.
For example, future Atlanta-to-Macon trains likely would not run on the busy
Norfolk Southern rails that were used for Tuesday's trip. Rail officials say
they would prefer to upgrade and use a second set of secondary Norfolk
Southern tracks. In addition, the route would be double tracked through many
areas to allow two trains to safely pass.
"We should be able to deliver passengers from Atlanta to Macon in an hour,
an hour and a half," said Stan Raymond, a member of the Georgia Rail
The trip was the first time a passenger train has operated between Atlanta
and Macon since 1994, when a historical society sponsored a train to
celebrate the society's convention.
The last time trains operated regularly on the route was 1971 when the Nancy
Hanks, as the train was called, ended its twice-daily run between Atlanta,
Macon and Savannah.
Date: 03/08/01 14:39
RE: Amtrak Special between Atlanta and Macon
Just for the record,
After leaving Macon, GA, this special train proceeded to Jesup on the NS and then backed around the eastern NS/CSX interchange track onto the CSX. At approxamately 1:20 pm the train continued north on the CSX 'A' line to Savannah, GA. We had a few delays enroute, arriving at the Savannah Amtrak station at 3:15pm to a flock of TV cameras and media personnel. All mayors and passengers on board then de-trained for a press conference held inside the station. The empty
train departed at 4:00pm for a trip to Jacksonville.
The consist was new P42dc's #143 built in Feb. 2001 and the #142 built in Jan. 2001 followed by a Superliner coach and diner borrowed from the Auto-Train, and a Superliner lounge on the rear. The P42's were painted in the new Acela scheme.
This train did not follow the entire route of the late great Nancy Hanks.