Chattanooga Choo Choo Reprise

Monday, January 6, 2014

Let's make passenger trains part of our future as well as part of our past. 

The excellent current series in Chattanoogan.com reminds us of our incredibly rich railroad legacy. It also brought back personal memories for me. My father rode the train when he was a student at Emory University in Atlanta. My high school class trip to Washington, DC in the mid-1960s departed from Terminal Station. 

When I lived in Oregon, I was a big fan of Amtrak Cascades, a passenger train route from Eugene through Portland and Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia. They have recently added two new Talgo trains with features like fast wi-fi, large windows and a bistro car for meals. The Oregon and Washington state DOTs are two major funding partners, recognizing how the almost one million riders per year relieve the congestion on Interstate 5.  

Why can't we figure out a way to have a passenger train from Chattanooga through Atlanta to Orlando (so we can ask Disney to be one of our funding partners)?  As in the Northwest, we would work out an agreement with the freight lines to use their existing tracks. Of course, this arrangement would also make it easier for folks from the south to visit the wonderful city that Chattanooga has become.  

Unlikely, yes. Impossible, no. Who would have thought 10 years ago that Chattanooga would have the fastest internet speed in the western hemisphere? 

Helen Burns Sharp

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