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

Vehicle Emissions Testing Causes More Pollution Than It Prevents

While a noble cause to make sure vehicles are operating efficiently with the minimum amount of pollutants, a simple analysis makes it somewhat evident the VET program in Chattanooga causes more pollution that it prevents.  Though I don't know how many vehicles are tested on an annual basis, if you assume an average round trip of 10 miles to the nearest testing station (five ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Abolish Bail For Poor

Our terribly overcrowded Hamilton County Jail may get some help from an unsuspected corner – the Obama administration is tackling the fact that right now over 450,000 people are in our country’s jails because they are too poor to pay for bail. It is a violation of the Constitution to “punish people for their poverty.” As the Eighth Amendment provides, “… excessive bail ought not ... (click for more)

City Council Approves $2.19 Million Purchase Of Body Cameras For Police Officers

The City Council on Tuesday night voted unanimously to approve the $2,191,544 purchase of body cameras for city police officers. Councilman Chip Henderson, who heads the council's public safety committee, said the purchase was already included in the budget. The city will get some help from the federal government in the form of a grant for almost $300,000 toward the expense. ... (click for more)

Fire Lieutenant Who Caught Baby Dropped From 3rd Floor Of Burning Building Has To Give Up Career Over Incident

A Chattanooga Fire Department officer who was hailed as a hero after catching a baby dropped by the mother from the third floor of a burning building lost his career as a result of the incident. City officials said after Lt. Vernon Lane caught the 10-month-old baby boy that the mother then jumped and landed on him. He suffered severe injuries and has been unable to work ... (click for more)

Top-Ranked Bradley Uses Fast Start To Beat Baylor

There’s no question that the Bradley Bears are ranked first in the initial state wrestling poll and they proved they deserve to be in that top spot following a 43-30 victory over the Baylor Red Raiders. Baylor is ranked fourth in that first poll and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in Division II as the season progresses, but the Bears are head and shoulders ahead after ... (click for more)

Run-And-Gun Tyner Shoots Down Red Bank 71-33

Tyner opponents better batten down the hatches if the Rams ever iron out their half-court offensive struggles. Even without that weapon showing up Tuesday night, the Rams showed they have a run-and-gun assault that can bury an opponent under an avalanche of points. And their defense is as tenacious as ever. Tyner outscored Red Bank 15-0 to start the second quarter ... (click for more)