Why spend $20 million or more on an unproven system to run from the Southside of Chattanooga when we already have the beginnings of a system?
The question apparently has surfaced of why the Choo Choo City doesn't have a rail line. We do have a rail line with the Tennessee Valley RR Museum and their hardware. And they already make runs from the Southside to close to Enterprise South using a railroad tunnel already in existence.
No doubt legislation would need to be passed allowing them to enter the market. Improvements to meet federal guidelines would be needed. But here, locally, is where the money could be spent and the trains could be rolling. No waiting on years of planning and untold dollars on new track through the McCallie tunnels as well as purchases of right- of way through homes and business.
When commuters were done, bring on the tourists and them back to the commuters again.
Don't spend time and money on what we mostly already have. Remember we are the Choo Choo City.
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The proposal for a light rail system in Chattanooga is an exciting idea. But the proposed route system shown on the map in the CTFP did not have one route north of the river. That is a serious oversight.
A light rail system track up Signal Mountain would eliminate the need for a second highway, and remove pressure to make hugely expensive improvements to the existing roads.
Old time Chattanoogans remember when there was a popular trolley/train that went from downtown to the top of the mountain.
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The passenger rail proposal for the city of Chattanooga is exactly what it says, a proposal. Proposals are certainly open to change, alterations, additions, subtractions, etc. Nearly the entire proposed map of the system utilizes track or right-of-way which already exist, so the money would be budgeted for right-of-way improvements, upgrades of signaling safety systems, grade crossing protections, construction of stations, etc. If the rail infrastructure had not been in place, one would need to triple the current estimate.
Time and time again, light rail transit has proven to stimulate growth, encourage new development where there once was none, and provide a method of clean, cost effective, timely transit for the everyday commuter, corporate traveler or tourist.
I personally ask the citizens of Hamilton County and the city of Chattanooga to keep an open mind on this project. Share your ideas in the public forums which will no doubt take place once the grant money has been approved through the federal government for the feasibility study. In my opinion (and to my understanding), the project will start with the segment which will create the largest initial impact... Downtown Chattanooga to the Chattanooga Airport. Once the downtown-airport connection shows proof of concept, then we should consider further growth to outlying areas.
If everyone before providing their own commentary on this project, please do your research. Read up on other transit initiatives in surrounding cities such as Charlotte, Tampa, and even Atlanta (who has always shown a love for the automobile) is bringing back streetcars and light rail. If our city can support an entity such as Bike Chattanooga, for which we are the smallest municipality to host this style of bike share program, then surely we can 'play with the big boys' by looking to Chattanooga's past for a plan for the future.
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Why don’t we use the current main lines that are already in place? Tennessee taxpayers have to support Amtrak in other parts of the country. Why don’t we have commuter service? Using Norfolk Southern and CSX existing main lines, we could have service in the morning for a lot less than $20 million.
CSX lines run across the street from the airport. A self-propelled rail car could run downtown in 10 minutes and the track has access to the Choo-Choo. It could start at Graysville and stop at the airport and then go to the Choo-Choo. We could have commuters from Ooltewah to downtown in minutes and from Soddy Daisy to downtown in minutes. There is track from Rossville, Alton Park and Chattanooga Valley. A self-propelled rail car would only take minutes to clear up the main line for freight.
These tracks were used until 1971. These would be real rail jobs and not play jobs like the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum, most of their crews are volunteers. The federal government can force the rail industry to participate because of federal funding the railroads receive.
Chuck Davis, former Southern Railway and Norfolk Southern Trainman
Lookout Mountain, Tn.
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Chuck Davis, thank you. I have long advocated for regional rail and was told several years ago by a politician that it could not happen because agreements could never be secured from the freight rail companies. it just makes sense to use what we have already in place and add to that as needs grow...and we have plenty in place already.
i could even see a "regional" connection to Atlanta, while all the high-speed rail issues are being worked out. i would love to ride the train downtown from East Brainerd or other parts of the county, instead of fighting traffic everyday on I-75/24, or have visitors be able to hop on the train from the airport to downtown.