From Georgia Association of Railroad Passengers (GARP), newsletter for April 2006:
GARP hosted the NARP Region 5 meeting in Atlanta last month. There were many interesting speakers. The most intriguing information to come out of the meeting was from Amtrak involving the future of the SUNSET LIMITED route. Talks are underway between Amtrak, and state and local officials along the route east of New Orleans to determine what type of service would best suit community needs. This may be a sign that Amtrak plans to split the SUNSET at New Orleans, running the train as it currently does, originating and terminating at New Orleans --- but there could be a separate service along the segment between New Orleans and Florida.
A group of business and community leaders along the proposed commuter rail route between Athens and Atlanta has gotten together and formed the "Georgia Brain Train Trust". This group feels that such a route would attract more passengers than the Atlanta-Lovejoy project scheduled to open by next year.
MARTA is refurbishing its cars (those dating back to the 1970's) in order to keep them running another 15 years. The first two are back in service, and more will be rehabilitated every month through 2008.
MARTA will soon be phasing in its "Breeze Card" fare system, replacing its outmoded turnstiles and tokens with automatic gates and electronic stored-value farecards. Besides MARTA, other area bus agencies will also honor the Breeze Card.
Amtrak has made changes to Business Class on the PALMETTO. Instead of a separate Business Class car, they have now put a fourth coach in its place, and moved Business Class passengers to a 15-seat section of the cafe car. This provides more seating for coach passengers, but it takes away table space in the cafe car requiring many cafe customers to bring their food back to their seats.
The CRESCENT is once again running daily down to New Orleans, following a Norfolk Southern trackwork program that had the train turning in Atlanta certain days of the week.
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