MARTA donates 1980s rail car to metro Atlanta museum

MARTA is upgrading its fleet while preserving history at the same time.

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The transit authority is donating a rail car to the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth.

The 42-year-old rail car is one of many activities MARTA has planned for its transition to its new rail car fleet.

The car was placed in service in 1981, built by Société Franco-Belge and retired 30 years later. It has a 75-foot-long aluminum body, weighs 81,000 pounds and can hold 46 seated passengers, the release states.

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MARTA’s heavy rail system began construction in 1975. The first rail cars rolled out in 1979.

“I got here in ‘98 and this is what I trained on to become a mechanic, so it’s got a little nostalgia going. I’m not going to shed a tear, but this is an end of an era. We are getting ready to start a new chapter with the new cars, so everybody can see the transition from old to new,” said Pierre Merrick, a MARTA journeyman rail car mechanic.

The Southeastern Railway Museum has almost 100 rolling stock items, including historic Pullman cars, classic steam locomotives and historic MARTA buses.

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MARTA is replacing its entire heavy rail fleet over the next few years at a cost of approximately $646 million.

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