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VentureForth

The return of the Nancy Hanks?

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Local radio in Savannah this morning had on Carl Gilliard, state representative in Atlanta from Savannah. He said they are going to initiate a study on the return of the Nancy Hanks. Now, like all good studies, this could go the way of the FEC Jacksonville to Miami studying, or even the Crescent star study from almost 20 years ago. But, hey. If people are talking about it...

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I would think commuter rail is needed more than a Nancy Hanks operation in Georgia [where there's lots of talk and no action, apparently].

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Enough money has been spent on passenger rail studies in Georgia to have begun service 10 years ago. This one stands the same chance as all the other ones. A major obstacle in this case is the track configuration in Macon.

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Enough money has been spent on passenger rail studies in Georgia to have begun service 10 years ago. This one stands the same chance as all the other ones. A major obstacle in this case is the track configuration in Macon.

I have a friend that works for NS. He says that the rail along that route is like 116 lb vs 136 lb which is preferred by Amtrak. Or something along those lines. I don't know the correct numbers off hand.

 

Looking at a 2008 timetable, MAX speed (for freight obviously) is 49 MPH.

Edited by VentureForth

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A major obstacle in this case is the track configuration in Macon.

Did the route of the Nancy Hanks parallel the SW edge of the Central City Park in Macon?

Edited by niemi24s

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The Nancy Hanks was a Central Georgia Railroad train that ran from Savannah , though Macon and terminated in Atlanta. The trip was 6 hours in length. The large stone terminal station in Atlanta was demolished but the station, head house and train shed in Savannah are largely intact and used as a museum.. The old Central Georgia shops and freight station are next to the old passenger station are now museums as well.. I believe most of the line is still in use for freight service but it difficult to determine if there is a demand for intercity rail in Georgia. If the Nancy Hanks ever comes back it will probably be a state owned line and not Amtrak train.

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6 hours by train vs. 4 by car. The intermediate stations may not provide many passengers. However one point if this train could use the old C of GA and not SOU Macon - ATL then a stop at Forest park would only be surface transportation to ATL airport. Macon air service is pitiful.

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6 hours by train vs. 4 by car. The intermediate stations may not provide many passengers. However one point if this train could use the old C of GA and not SOU Macon - ATL then a stop at Forest park would only be surface transportation to ATL airport. Macon air service is pitiful.

That where a commuter rail line would go, but it won't happen in our lifetime. As I noted, the other problem with this is that the CoG entry into Macon has been taken up and there is no connection to the former SOU to Savannah.

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Depending on who buys what from CSX, there's a chance, albeit very slim, that NS could buy the old Georgia railroad, and run on the old Savannah and Atlanta as a more direct Atlanta-Savannah intermodal route. Could run passenger service to Augusta, then down to Savannah. Not nearly as much intermediate traffic, but it'd certainly make this lifelong Georgia road fan very happy!

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Man of War to Columbus makes more sense to me. CoG ran 2 roundtrips daily. I think Columbus is larger than Savannah not to mention huge population at Fort Benning. Maybe 1 stop in Newnan. Last time I looked there was only a van service available to ATL from Columbus - not even Greyhound. The large van ran pretty much hourly all day so there's plenty of traffic.

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I don't believe Georgia will ever do anything. I remember a demonstration train Atlanta-Macon-Savannah run with Amtrak equipment (Amfleet and an F40) in 1980. I was there at its departure from the former Terminal Station site, and the clipping from the Atlanta Constitution might still be in my files.


There are two directionality problems in Macon. The bridge used by CofG trains to enter the Macon station from the north has been removed. If a train runs south on the ex-Southern from Atlanta, it's pointed in the wrong direction to continue to Macon. These problems can be mitigated with a lengthy detour through the Brosnan Yard leads, but the better answer is reinstalling the bridge. Of course, to do that and to bring the ex-CofG up to 79 mph would cost $200+ million.


Yes, running a train Atlanta-Augusta-Millen-Savannah is theoretically possible, but then politics comes into play.


Note that almost all of the ex-CofG between Macon and Savannah is dark territory at 49 mph. Bringing it up to 79 mph would cost another nine figures. Also, although the ex-CofG station in Savannah is still standing, over half a mile of track has been removed to access it. And surely Amtrak would use the current station in Savannah, which is reachable from the ex-CofG.


There is also a question of the Atlanta station. I am 99.99% sure that NS would not allow an additional passenger train to use Peachtree a/k/a Brookwood Station and tie up its mainline more than Amtrak already does. This would force the issue of a new station for Atlanta... which has also been a topic of endless discussion without action.

Edited by xyzzy

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The only way I could see anything competitive and useful would be a new ROW along I-16. It would be prohibitively expensive with very little gain. The greater Atlanta Metro population is around 5M. Macon has 400,000, Savannah, around 350,000. Savannah does get a lot of tourists from Atlanta. But I don't think the population centers would support it. All the other little towns that the S-Line goes through between Macon and Savannah are tiny towns in the single thousands - or less. No tourism to attract, though a great potential for residents to go "into town".

 

On a positive note, half of the S-line between Savannah and Macon already has PTC because they carry hazmat.

 

They tried running Essential Air Service for like $80pp in a Cessna Caravan for a few weeks, but that operation has long since disappeared.

 

If they could work out a commuter to Macon first, then I think there would be a slight chance they could extend to Savannah. But probably not on the existing rails. Georgia would have to buy the track - which I'm sure NS would LOVE to do like they did in NC, but Georgia doesn't have a clue what they are doing with pax rail.

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Georgia would have to buy the track - which I'm sure NS would LOVE to do like they did in NC

 

In NC, it's other way around. The State built the North Carolina RR (Charlotte-Greensboro-Raleigh-Selma) and retained ownership. It leases the RR to NS. The State did sell off its Western North Carolina RR (Salisbury-Asheville) to a predecessor of NS. The State has never purchased RR from NS except for corridor preservation.

Edited by xyzzy

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