I'm pleased to report that GDOT and Amtrak have withdrawn their objections to the abandonment of the Decatur Belt. This means that one huge obstacle to Atlanta's Beltline, a promising loop of Transit, Parks, and Redevelopment has been removed. It does nothing to ensure that the project will be built, but the recent quarrel threatened to put a stop to the line's northeast quadrant.
As I reported a few days ago in a three part series, Amtrak had plenty of alternatives to the Decatur Belt. I also pointed out the ridiculousness of an argument pitting intercity rail against inner city transit. The Beltline will compliment any Amtrak service to Atlanta not only by increasing mobility and accessibility but also by making the city more urban and rail friendly.
The Atlanta Journal reported on Friday that the parties had come to an agreement. While the specifics are still being worked out, it seems that Amtrak trains will be routed along the trunk lines west of Marietta Street.
Additionally, while Amtrak failed to respond to my questions about train backing within the time they said they would, I have received information that suggests that Amtrak does already back trains into some stations. According to readers, Amtrak backs trains into Chicago and New Orleans regularly. If this is the case, then this whole situation could have been avoided in the first place.
I'll keep you posted as details emerge, but today we should just be happy that a win-win situation has been agreed upon. Keep up the good work Atlanta!