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Emory University Seeks to Join Atlanta to Get Rail Line

(Photo by dbking)

Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.

University in Search of Rail Transit Asks to be Annexed to Atlanta
Emory University is located in Atlanta, according to the United States Postal Service. According to the political map, however, it isn’t. It’s in an unincorporated area of DeKalb County, just west of the city.

Because of this, Emory can’t get the rail transit connection to the city that it very much wants. So, as CBS46 reports, it’s asking the city of Atlanta to annex its campus area so it can be considered for future MARTA expansions.

Emory filed a petition with the city on June 27 seeking annexation. Should the city approve it, the likely next move would be for MARTA to proceed with plans for a light-rail line running in the Clifton Road corridor from Lindbergh Station in Buckhead.

A Clifton Road line would not only serve Emory but also two other large employers in the area, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. The CDC has also petitioned the city to annex it in order to be able to tap into transit and other city services.

The impetus for the annexation is the half-cent sales tax Atlanta voters approved last November, proceeds from which go to MARTA. As the sales tax is being levied only in the city, MARTA can use its revenue only for service improvements in the city.

Atlanta City Council Member Alex Wan, an Emory employee, told CBS46, “It will open doors for things like transportation, infrastructure investment and jobs. It’s just a great partnership, I’m really excited about the opportunity.”

The City Council will need to introduce legislation and hold hearings on the proposed annexation before it can add the area to Atlanta’s territory.

Changchun Gets Its First Metro Line
China’s official Xinhua news agency reports that Changchun has become the fourth city in northeast China with a metro thanks to the opening of the all-underground Line 1 of the Changchun Metro on June 30.

Changchun, China (Photo by Broboman)

Work on the 18.1-km (11.25-mile) line began in September 2011. The north-south line has 15 stations and cost 16 billion yuan ($2.36 billion U.S.) to build.

The line has an unusual feature designed to allow operation in the region’s extremely cold winters: thermally insulated rail cars that can operate at temperatures as low as -35 degrees Celsius (-31 degrees Fahrenheit). The cars have windows coated with heat-insulating film on their exteriors as well as doors and windows with argon between their inner and outer layers.

The entire subway is designed to be energy efficient, with a high-performance heat pump-based climate control system along with the thermal insulation.

Changchun, the capital of Jilin province in Manchuria, was actually one of the first cities in China to plan a subway network, but lack of funding kept its plans on the drawing boards for several years. The Changchun Metro joins two existing light-rail lines in the city of 7.7 million.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, 30 Chinese cities had rail transport systems with a total of 4,153 km (2,580.6 miles) of route as of the end of 2016.

Stormproofed South Ferry Terminal Opens
When Superstorm Sandy walloped the Northeastern United States in October 2012, several critical components of the New York subway system suffered severe damage, but none more than South Ferry, the terminal station for the No. 1 subway line that opened in 2009. Fifteen million gallons of salt water filled the station to its mezzanine and ruined all of its electrical and mechanical equipment.

Debris in NYC's South Ferry station in 2012 (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Five years and $369 million later, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority cut the ribbon on an all-new, storm-resistant South Ferry station July 2.

Railway Track & Structures reports that the station features hardened vents, hatches, maintenance holes, conduits and air ducts to prevent water ingress; retractable flood doors at station entrances; and 6,000-pound marine flood doors throughout the station. In addition to all this, 1,500-gallon-per-minute pumps were also installed to keep the station dry (it sits below the water table even in normal weather).

Track, signals, power cables, electrical equipment and telecommunications systems were all replaced and upgraded, and the air circulation system replaced with a new one that will keep the station cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

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