Imagine being able to travel from downtown Atlanta to Chattanooga without getting in a car, sitting in traffic, or paying for an expensive flight — and in just over an hour, too!
That hypothetical could become reality if a proposed maglev (as in magnetic levitation) or steel rail train is built between the two cities, according to The Chattanoogan. Georgia DOT has released the results of a nine-year study, identifying three possible routes for the system.
The study shows that a rail corridor along Interstate 75 would be the least expensive to build, coming in at a cost of approximately $8.76 billion. That proposed line would feature eight stops and could initially handle an expected 11,725 riders daily along the 128-mile route, which would allow for an end-to-end trip in 88 minutes — about half an hour faster than the drive without traffic.
Speeds could reach up to 180 miles per hour, so this hypothetical train must be lingering a while at each stop.
Two potential alternatives include a line veering off to service Rome to the west, or Chatsworth (huh?) to the east. Given the cost, environmental impact, and expected ridership of each line, the I-75 route is considered the preferable option. No surprise there.
In addition to serving the airport and both cities’ downtown areas, the proposal puts stops at two stations in Cobb County — Cumberland Mall/Galleria and Town Center. Other stops would serve Cartersville and Dalton.
Of course, as of now, no real funding sources have been identified. But given the growth along the I-75 corridor and the potential for the system to also serve metro commuters, it could be worth exploring further.