MARTA Provisions

From nycsubway.org


When MARTA initially opened, the plan was for a 53 mile subway system. To date, most of that system has been built, along with the North line from Buckhead to North Springs, which was not part of the original plan. In anticipation that the planned lines would be built, like the IND and its Second System, MARTA constructed provisions for these lines to make the future constructions of these lines easier. Provisions throughout the system include: The Tucker-North DeKalb line, Hapeville line, and the Northwest line. In addition to these lines, there have been past provisions that have since been used. There are also couple of miscellaneous provisions in the system as well.


This is a map of what the system would look like if the lines were built, proposed stations in all caps. At the northwest entrance (Harris St.) into the Peachtree Center station, there is a map on the wall in front of the escalators to the station. It is unusual because it shows the lines that were never built, except no stations are on them. Starting counterclockwise from the East line, here are the unbuilt lines: The Tucker-North DeKalb, Northwest, Proctor Creek extension, West line extension, Hapeville, and Thomasville Busway (in Yellow). The stations at those lines are:

Tucker-North DeKalbEmory (T5), North Druid Hills (T6)
NorthwestBrookwood (NW6), Northside Dr. (NW7)
Procter CreekPerry Homes (P5)
WestBrownlee-Boulder Park, nee Fairburn Rd. (W6)
HapevilleHapeville (H6)

Tucker-North DeKalb Line

The provision for this line is between Edgewood-Candler Park and East Lake stations, but much closer toward East Lake. Riding eastbound from Edgewood looking out of the left side of the train, there is a center track that runs between the mainline tracks for a distance. Currently, its main purpose is to turn around Procter Creek trains during rush hour, when service is extended to Edgewood. Approaching the eastern end of the center track, the two mainline tracks spread apart with the center track closer to the westbound track. The center track split off into the mainline tracks and a short, unelectrified track continues then ends, with no bumper block. This would have been the westbound track for the spur. There is space for the eastbound track between this track and the mainline eastbound track. This provision may still be used in the future, MARTA wants to study a line that goes south of the East-West mainline, and then follows Interstate 20 east. This provision would be where that line would branch off.

Best View from train: Looking on the left of an eastbound train and downward when crossing the viaduct. You can catch a quick glimpse of the tunnel portals.

We begin our tour at the intersection of DeKalb Ave. and Rocky Ford St. Here, we see the start of the two viaducts that carry the East-West line. Note the space between the two viaducts- it is wide enough for two more tracks to fit there. If the line was built, the two tracks would have been on their own separate viaduct and would have sloped downward. If we turn around, we see where the tracks would continue downward, perhaps on built up earth surrounded by retaining walls at this point.

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Walking east along DeKalb Ave., we come across the actual constructed provision for the line. Barbed wire fencing surrounds the entire provision. Looking at the first picture, the other two pictures were taken from the end of the fence. You can see the bricked up tunnel portals at the eastern end of the provision. I estimate the entire length to be between 90 to 120 m (300-400 ft).

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Walking along the provision, we see the trackways gradually descend towards the tunnel portal. Here are some close-ups of the trackway at the fence. The westbound trackway is in the foreground.

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At the eastern end of the provision you can see the tunnel portals are bricked up with cinder blocks. There is a rusted open door on the eastbound tunnel portal.

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Hapeville Line

This provision is just south of East Point. It is not a very obvious one like the Tucker-North DeKalb line. Since no concrete trackways are not built. This line would have diverged from the North-South mainline and then continued in a southeast direction to the city of Hapeville, on the east side of Hartsfield International Airport.

Best View from train: Going southbound, looking on the right side of train, just past the diamond crossover before entering a short tunnel. Going northbound, facing backward on the right side of train inside the tunnel. You can see the tunnel is a little wider here, where the northbound track would have merged with the mainline.

We begin at the bridge that crosses over the mainline tracks at the intersection of Main St. and Washington Ave., just south of East Point station. Standing on the bridge looking south, we can see a gravel bed and a clear cut path turning right off the southbound track. The northbound side is harder to see, but the right tunnel wall spreads away from the tracks while the center tunnel wall parallels the tracks. The northbound tunnel is wider at the south end than at the north end, meaning the tracks would have diverged at the south tunnel portal.

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Walking south on Main St., we can get a closer view of the southbound turnout. The northbound turnout is no longer visible. You see that the gravel is level and made for a track to eventually be built there.

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Walking further down the road, we come to the end of the fencing and we can have good look of the alignment of the track. The gravel ends and the rest of the trackway is just dirt and grass.

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Walking past the provision, we see that the ground ahead is somewhat level. The southbound track most likely would have continued on an upward incline along area in the pictures. Perhaps a viaduct would fly over the CSX tracks to meet with the northbound tracks that would also be on a viaduct.

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Northwest Line

The last of the unbuilt lines is the Northwest line. The provision for this line is between Arts Center and Lindbergh Center. It lies in the subway tunnel north of Arts Center. This entire provision is underground with no clue above ground that is there. The tunnels diverge to the outsides of the mainline tunnels and slope upwards before coming to an end, short of where the tunnel portal would be built. The trackways in the two tunnels are similar to the trackways at the Tucker-North DeKalb provision.

Best View from train: On a northbound train, facing through the front window, you can clearly see the turnout on the right side of the train. The halogen tunnel lights are on the right side of the tunnel, so they veer off along with the tunnel, giving an excellent view of the trackway. On the southbound train, facing through the back window of the train, you the see the turnout on your left. The tunnel looks the same as the northbound one.

Past Provisions

Proctor Creek Line: When the west line first opened in 1979, the Proctor Creek line was in planning. This former provision was probably the most obvious of them all. The Ashby station is directly east of the turnout, so the station is on two levels, so that the eastbound turnout can fly under the westbound mainline. Looking west down the tunnel on either level, we can see the turnout for the line. All this was there from 1979 until 1992 when the line opened, so everybody could see that a line would go there. Unlike the Northwest line, the tunnel turnouts continued all the way to the tunnel portal. The tunnel portal was walled up like the Tucker-North DeKalb line is today. Riding on the Proctor Creek train, notice how old the tunnel portal looks. Even though the line was built in 1992, the tunnel portal was there since 1979.

East Line Extension: When the east line terminated at Avondale, the viaduct that carries the westbound track over the Avondale Yard was already there in 1979. The East line was extended to Indian Creek in 1993.

Airport Station: When the current terminal at Hartsfield International was constructed in the late 1970s, the Airport station was built along with it. It sat there not connected with anything until the South line was extended there in 1988.

Miscellaneous Provisions

Indian Creek ghost track: At the tail tracks that extend past Indian Creek, you can where a center track provision has been made. It almost looks like a track was once there and removed. There are no plans for an extension of the East line.

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Bankhead platform extension: The two car platform was built with the capability to be extended to four cars. The extension would be at either end of the existing platform, the eastern end would be extended a little further than the western end.

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Page Credits

By Robert Ferreira.

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