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As Atlanta preps for Super Bowl LIII, derailed MARTA train disrupts travel to airport

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The dilemma could be resolved today, but long lines still await travelers crossing TSA checkpoints

A MARTA train at Atlanta’s King Memorial Station.
Regular MARTA riders know this rail system will teach people to be punctual.
Curbed Atlanta

Travelers who thought the federal government shutdown’s impact on lines at the world’s busiest passenger airport—and others—was the worst of their worries this week had another thing coming.

Hours-long queues still await at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s security checkpoints, but just getting there was equally a burden for people trying to fly out of Atlanta in recent days, thanks to a derailed MARTA train, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The train went off its tracks Tuesday night, and MARTA has had to summon a crane to reset the cars, which is supposed to show up this morning.

The only person aboard the train was its conductor, who walked away uninjured, and the accident reportedly only set travel to the airport back by about a half hour—no big deal to regular MARTA riders, but a lifetime for people rushing to catch a plane.

MARTA’s regularly scheduled rail service is expected to resume later today, although exactly when hasn’t been determined, according to the newspaper.

What caused the derailment is still unclear, but it’s left some people concerned with the transit agency’s preparedness for Super Bowl LIII festivities. (The Big Game takes place the evening of February 3.)

This frustration comes to light as U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson is expressing concerns that the government shutdown could cripple Atlanta’s ability to host a Super Bowl without hiccups.

Per the AJC:

“We’ve got a Super Bowl coming to Atlanta, Georgia in about three weeks. The biggest tourism event in the world this year. What if the largest airport in the world, that’s going to bring people to the largest football game in the world, goes out of business because the TSA strikes?” Isakson asked. “Then you’ve just cost millions of dollars to the United States of America, my home city of Atlanta and others.”

Stay tuned.