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Will ATL fans take maglev train to Braves games?


Ever wonder why MARTA’s rail line doesn’t run near the Atlanta baseball stadium where tens of thousands of fans gather 81 times a year? Me too.

Now, as my pals at Atlanta Unsheltered reported yesterday, MARTA is in early discussions with a private firm about using magnetic levitation trains to shuttle Braves fans to home games. MARTA general manager Beverly Scott gave it up Monday in response to a question from state Rep. Harry Geisinger of the Legislature’s MARTA Oversight Committee.

Scott said she was “very impressed” after taking a ride for a block or two on American Maglev Technology’s test track in Powder Springs.

Maglev trains elsewhere operate at costs that would seem prohibitively expensive for Atlanta, but AMT claims it can run maglev trains much more cheaply.

“We’re drilling into the numbers with them,” Scott said. “We’re real interested in continuing the discussion.”

Geisinger said he is also “very interested” in AMT’s proposal to run a maglev train from the North Springs MARTA station to the Windward community in north Fulton County.





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11 Responses to “Will ATL fans take maglev train to Braves games?”

  1. Some Other Mike says:

    And so, the maglev trains depart from Turner Field and spiral over the city, dropping passengers as they go…what routes are we talking about, here? ‘replace the shuttle’ sounds like 5 points – Turner field, and that would free up all those buses 81-83+ days a year. So, good deal.

    IIRC, a North Springs – Windward/Alpharetta/Roswell train line would still have to cross the river, which would require a bridge and several years of ‘environmental study’.

  2. Joeventures says:

    That’s of course not to mention the inconvenience it would mean to passengers to have to make a transfer at the North Springs station. If anyone is going to go through all the trouble of studying a north line extension, they could at least consider an extension of the heavy rail.

  3. Laurence E. Blow says:

    Let’s ask a more fundamental question: When will the AMT system be ready to run fans to Braves games or MARTA riders to Fulton County on their maglev trains? The year 2020? I can’t see it being ready much before then.

  4. Doug Monroe says:

    Mr. Walls: 40 or so years ago, Alderman and later Mayor Sam Massell suggested buying the monorail from the New York World’s Fair and using it to connect downtown Atlanta with the stadium. His idea got voted down. If he had prevailed, the mag lev would be moot. I think you edited a story on this subject almost 20 years ago by some long-forgotten traffic columnist.

  5. Jim Walls says:

    If I did edit such traffic column (and I can’t recall whether I did), I’m sure I made it better.

  6. Doug Monroe says:

    Yes, of course. Making it better. The memory can certainly play tricks as we age!

  7. Jeff says:

    I see no problem with the very quick and efficient shuttles that run in exclusive lanes from Five Points Station straight to Turner Field. It’s simple and it takes about 5 minutes…but there seem to be some people in this city who are too good to step foot on a bus for any reason…

  8. John says:

    The shuttle is fair enough. I certainly believe that a rail line of some sort from MARTA is much better. Sheesh, MARTA to anywhere new would be fantastic.

    Unfortunately, MARTA is ailing. It simply cannot afford to do diddly squat in terms of ANYTHING.

    I am of the belief that MARTA will continue to struggle while it attempts to both redefine who it is and to maintain any shred of fiscal solvency. Ultimately, I think MARTA will undergo a full-blown meltdown, forcing it to renegotiate dramatic terms with union employees and to tremendously reduce service.

    Either that or the state will recognize that something must finally be done to reign in its whopping absence in Georgia’s transit options. Parallel tunnels and elevated toll lanes throughout the region are hardly the solutions the entire region desperately needs.

    The state would be forced to play its hand and buy out MARTA from the stakeholders somehow. Or they could just let it completely fall down and die. Maybe it will be deferred collapse by some sort of Fulton/Dekalb/Atlanta funding miracle, much like the stimulus was?

    I wonder how much of an impact that would really have on Atlanta.

  9. Jeff says:

    Do you really think MARTA is ailing THAT badly? It seems to be doing much better than the original forecast predicted for this fiscal year, and in past years has done quite well. It was never meant to turn a profit OR to run without public assistance, so in my mind MARTA is doing a great job. It’s ridership numbers also support my opinion…usually the people who are most critical and who predict MARTA’s eventual failure are the exact people who have no intentions of ever using mass transit.

  10. John says:

    I do think MARTA is ailing. Unfortunately, most of these problems stem from archaic legislative rules or previous mismanagement with what they were capable of managing.

    I do think Dr. Scott is doing a respectable job considering her credentials and what limitations / challenges she faces in running MARTA.

    Though MARTA’s ridership has indeed increased meaningfully over the past year and a half, their sales tax yields have declined with the economy. This is the main source of their funding and a Georgia State University study forecasts an additional $10.8 shortfall over what MARTA itself had forecast. This is expected to continue its decline trend over the next decade with sales tax revenues stabilizing in 2012.

    SO: To say that they’re doing quite well is actually true and false. They’ve done well to maintain their services on what they’ve been handed in many respects. They have also failed to adequately maintain their buses, rail stations, appearance of their facilities, etc. because they are hoarding their Capital reserves in the event that they can use it for operating expenses. Only recently have the Fort McPherson station’s unsightly issues begun to be addressed – and there are other stations, etc.

    As a transit advocate and someone who uses all of Atlanta’s regional transit services, I can say that I am extremely supportive of MARTA. They are the contracted provider to CTRAN in Clayton County where I ride to the airport, transfer to rail and then ride to work at Peachtree Center Station. I use MARTA and GCT to hit Mall of Georgia and Discover Mills. When I must work at Cobb Galleria, I take the MARTA to Cumberland Mall.

    I think MARTA needs to be realized for how vital it is to Metropolitan Atlanta. I stand beside my opinion: MARTA is destined for failure unless new mechanisms and funding are put into place.

    This state needs political will and initiative, a clear vision and strategy, and needs to recognize that fixing the problems would be far better than not.

  11. cj smooth says:

    You all do know that Maglev has not been tested on a major scale and would need, billions, not millions, BILLIONS of dollars to do what they claim to be able to do, right? You know that?