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Officials seek public input for proposed high-speed Atlanta-Charlotte railway

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One day, you could board a fast train in Atlanta and get off in Washington, D.C. (and ultimately Boston.) How’s that sound?

A map of proposed rail corridors.
The three high-speed route options, illustrated.
Georgia Department of Transportation

Imagine boarding a train at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, catching a couple hours of shuteye (or catching up on work), and hopping off at a stop in Charlotte.

Years ago, that might’ve seemed like a pipe dream. And maybe it still is.

Now, though, federal and state transportation officials are soliciting public input on a plan to create such a link. And it could be just the beginning.

At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Georgia Department of Transportation is hosting an open house at its Peachtree Street office to discuss the recent Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the extension of the Southeast High-Speed Rail (SEHSR) from Charlotte to Atlanta.

Ultimately, the SEHSR is expected to stretch from Atlanta to Washington D.C., and then to the Northeast Corridor that links to Boston.

Public comments collected next week and thereafter will help inform the plans for one of three route options for the proposed rail corridor.

Per the Federal Railroad Administration, those options are:

  • Southern Crescent; following the Norfolk Southern railroad corridor that hosts the existing Amtrak Crescent long-distance service between Charlotte and Atlanta;
  • I-85; following the Interstate 85 right of way between Gastonia, NC and Suwanee, and transitioning to existing railroad rights of way in the approaches to the Atlanta and Charlotte, NC termini;
  • Greenfield; development of a new “greenfield” high-speed rail corridor between Atlanta and Charlotte, and transitioning to existing railroad rights of way in the approaches to the Atlanta and Charlotte termini.

And for readers in the Carolinas, there are open houses scheduled Wednesday and Thursday in Greenville and Charlotte, respectively.