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FAQ – About the Train

Atlanta Metro Rail Map

(Source: East Lake Neighborhood)

Why does the train stop, blocking East Lake Rd and Dekalb Ave?

Today, the only train that regularly stops is the morning southbound intermodal train, which comes in between 8 and 10. This train, loaded with shipping containers, is headed for Hulsey Yard, which is near Oakland Cemetery and Cabbage Town. The train stops a few hundred yards shy of Hulsey so the engineer can climb down from the train and throw a manual track switch, lining the train up for Hulsey. Then he climbs back to his cab and moves the train forward. From stopping to starting up again, the whole process usually takes about three minutes. (Considering that the alternate routes around the train are already full of cars in the morning, it’s questionable whether turning around and taking one of those makes any sense.)

At one time, southbound trains, intermodals and other trains, would stop and block East Lake and Dekalb for interminable periods. CSX was using both four-lanes as parking lots as it worked to clear (usually congested) train traffic ahead of the southbound. You never knew when the train was going to start up and move on. A many-years-long lobbying effort brought this practice to an end. Now, the only train that comes to a stop, regularly, is the intermodal train in the morning. That’s a short, predictable stop.

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