What’s the latest with The Brain Train between Athens, Atlanta, and Macon Georgia?

Atlanta has been talking for a while now about the Brain Train – the anticipated commuter rail line that would run in between universities in Athens and Atlanta and down to Macon (the website is under construction, but you can still view it by clicking the Brain Train link). The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) in conjunction with the Georgia Rail Passenger Authority (GRPA) have studied utilizing the 70-mile stretch of existing CSX heavy rail line for the project, which could potentially provide huge relief to Atlanta’s commuter culture.

I was shocked when I found out that one (or more) of my brother’s professors at the University of Georgia lived in Atlanta and commuted to Athens every day. What?!?! So the Brain Train could afford people the opportunity to live anywhere from Atlanta to Athens (and Macon) and conveniently travel to work along the train line. Not to mention alleviating some of the insane game day traffic that happens during UGA football season!

Map of the proposed stops along the Georgia Brain Train

Map of the proposed stops along the Georgia Brain Train

So what is the latest status of the Brain Train? Is it actually happening? Last year, the Georgia House passed HR 1631 stating that “the members of the Georgia Transportation Board are urged to help ensure that the existing plans for the Macon to Atlanta to Athens commuter rail lines are implemented with urgency.” In March 2007, they unanimously passed SR 263, urging Congress “to provide funding for the engineering, construction, land acquisition, and other necessary costs for commuter rail connecting Athens to Atlanta.” Wikipedia reports in it’s Brain Train entry (which has some good info) that in June 2008, Governor Sonny Perdue backed the Atlanta to Lovejoy section of the rail (ironic, since most of Atlanta’s traffic congestion seems to come from the north), but other than that, I haven’t come across a great deal of updated information on the project. Does anyone have more updated info?

This is one of the first public transportation projects that would have a direct impact on my life as the Brain Train would literally run through my back yard. I live on the CSX rail line and thought at first that the Brain Train would eventually replace the CSX heavy rail line until I talked to one of my neighbors. She said that no, the plan would be to build a parallel track for the commuter rail since this CSX line is one of the most active in the southeast. And since the other side of the tracks from my house is Burnt Fork Creek, that would mean the rail line would take over part of my yard. Luckily, I have a fairly large yard and would love to see action taken to relieve Atlanta’s traffic problems. Plus, it could be an added benefit to live along a commuter rail line (although right now, there’s not a projected stop close to my house).

The current CSX track that is the path for the future Georgia Brain Train. To the right is Burnt Fork Creek, so the parallel commuter rail would be built on the lefthand side (where I could wave to the riders from my living room).

The current CSX track that is the path for the future Georgia Brain Train. To the right is Burnt Fork Creek, so the parallel commuter rail would be built on the lefthand side (where I could wave to the riders from my living room).

Click here for a presentation from the Georgia Brain Train with photos and facts! (not sure what date it was published)

Some Brain Train facts and tidbits (courtesy of Wikipedia and ATL Trail + Rail blog):

  • The rail line is estimated to divert 1.8 million drivers from Georgia highways by 2025
  • As many as 8,000 individuals or more could conceivably ride the train every day
  • Potentially 5,300 cars daily could be removed from already overtaxed roadways during peak travel times
  • AAA estimates the cost of operating an automobile on a one-way trip between Athens and Atlanta (70 miles x 52.2 cents per mile) at $36.54. The cost of a one-way ticket on the Brain Train is estimated between $8.30 and $10.40.
  • Federal studies have shown that commuter rail is 25 times safer than driving
  • For every one percent of transportation shifted from the automobile to public transit, regional income increases by $2.9 million and creates 226 jobs (Miller, Robinson & Lahr, 1999).
  • Commuter rail service in the Athens-Atlanta-Macon corridor further removes more than 5.4 million annual automobile trips, and connects six commercial airports and more than a dozen colleges, schools and research centers.
View of Burnt Fork Creek as it flows south along the western side of the proposed Brain Train route

View of Burnt Fork Creek as it flows south into Mason Mill Park and Melton Park in Decatur, along the western side of the proposed Brain Train route

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Comments
3 Responses to “What’s the latest with The Brain Train between Athens, Atlanta, and Macon Georgia?”
  1. WhiskAwayNic says:

    Wow, that is so exciting! With all the transportation woes for Marta and Atlanta, I can’t believe this is actually getting support!

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  1. […] can read my previous blog about the Brain Train here, which would be the line from Athens to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Macon. Possibly […]

  2. […] is a CSX train conductor for the rail line that runs directly behind my house (home to the future Brain Train? we’ll […]



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