Saturday, August 11, 2012

Railroad Atlanta?

Posted by Hubert and Debby Yoder, DULUTH, GA -- Atlanta’s current struggles with transportation problems are ironic given the city started as a railway hub. In the early 1800s, when goods and people moved about by railroad, Atlanta was an essential crossroad between major routes north and west from Georgia’s southern ports. Some say Atlanta’s very name is a tribute to the railway line that brought the earliest residents to the area. The legacy of this time is all around us. Pieces of the railway infrastructure have been turned into recreation facilities such as the Silver Comet Trail and the Atlanta Beltline. The Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth was created to honor and preserve another part of this history. This working museum exhibits and restores machinery. as well as operates a train that takes visitors on a tour of the grounds. In addition to a variety of train engines and cars from across the years, the museum houses buses, taxis, fire trucks and a variety of support equipment.

Interestingly, this era is so far removed from Georgia's now almost half-century-old automobile-dependent, sprawled out and congestion-ridden highway system. In fact the Atlanta area has a shamelessly sparse train-based public transportation infrastructure. What's quite ironic is that the recent push for T-SPLOST, an Atlanta regionalreferendum that would have increased the sales tax by one percent in exchange for various transportation improvement projects was soundly defeated last month. Part of the issue may have been the implied focus on highways rather than making the region more accessible to those without cars, or those who have become tired of driving on the region's car-stuffed highways through rail transit.

Hubert Yoder is currently retired after working in information systems at McDonnell Douglas, EDS, and IBM. Photography is now his work and hobby. He can be reached at Debby is his daughter and a contributor to Social Shutter, as well as a student at Georgia State University. She can be reached at


  1. Nice Debby! Great juxtaposition of Atlanta's current & former transportation capabilities.

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