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Silver Comet Trail

Posted by RCPAP on February 19, 2007
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Silver Comet Trail The Silver Comet Trail is a paved, multi-use, recreational trail in western Georgia. Route A rail trail, the Silver Comet Trail is named for the Silver Comet passenger train that used the identical route from 1947 to 1969. It begins in Smyrna, Georgia, runs west through Paulding and Polk counties, and connects with Alabama’s Chief Ladiga Trail at the Georgia-Alabama border. As of September 2008, the entire 61.5-mile (99 km) of the Silver Comet Trail was paved and open for riding. The Silver Comet and Chief Ladiga trails join to form one continuous 94-mile (151 km) trail from Smyrna, Georgia to Anniston, Alabama. Additionally, the Cobb County Dept of Transportation has built the Silver Comet Connector, a one mile extension, to join the Silver Comet Trail with the Highland Station (shopping center at South Cobb Dr. and East-West Connector, Smyrna, Ga). Planned extensions Future plans include extending the Georgia end of the trail into the Atlanta city limits. History In 1947, the Silver Comet was introduced by the Seaboard Air Line Railroad during the height of passenger rail use. Due to declining ridership, the Silver Comet was downgraded in the mid-1950s, losing its sleeper-lounger cars. In 1969, the Silver Comet was downgraded again and finally discontinued in June of that year. In 1986, the Seaboard Air Line Railroad’s successor, the Seaboard System, was renamed CSX Transportation. In 1989, CSX informed the state of Georgia it was abandoning 36 miles (58 km) of railroad from Cobb County through Paulding and Polk counties, which was most of the Silver Comet route west of Atlanta. Rail-trail concept By 1990, several groups, including the Georgia Rails-Into-Trails group, were interested in turning the abandoned rail line into a multi-use trail. In 1992, the Georgia Department of Transportation bought the abandoned CSX rail line for future use as a high-speed transit route, but later that year, Ron Griffith, Director of Cobb County Parks, requested a lease agreement between Cobb County and the Georgia DOT to use the rail line as a multi-use trail. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners approved the multi-use trail plan in November. In January 1995, the East-West Connector agreement was signed, including a requirement for Cobb County to develop a plan for converting the rail into a trail. In 1996, the Cobb County Board of Commissioners allowed Cobb Land Trust a budget of $30,000 for the county to hire a consultant to help develop a design for the multi-use trail. In 1997, the Board allocated $900,000 for the development of a 2-mile (3.2 km) section of the rail-trail next to Heritage Park to test the multi-use trail idea. In July 1998, construction of the Silver Comet Trail began. By November 1998, the first section of the Silver Comet Trail opened from Nickajack Creek to Hicks Road. In 2003, the Silver Comet Trail was recognized by the National Park Service as a National Recreation Trail. On August 29, 2008, the final portion of the trail was completed, and counting its continuation with the Chief Ladiga Trail to the west, is now the longest paved trail in the US. From Wikipedia