DARYL POLSTER, SANDY SPRINGS
New rail vehicles were obsolete in the 1960s
Talk of the new Atlanta Streetcar reminds me of growing up in Atlanta in the 1940s and the streetcar system in place at that time. It consisted of rails buried in the street and an overhead electric wire system throughout the city. The clanging streetcars seemed to greatly disrupt traffic flow, and the labyrinth of overhead wires everywhere was like a giant spider web hovering over the city. By the early ’50s, these archaic streetcars were replaced by electric buses, which still used the overhead network of wires. By the early ’60s, as the city began a growth spurt, we finally realized that the confining nature and expense of these early 20th century ideas could be replaced by a more efficient and less confining people moving system called motor buses. After being away at college, I vividly remember going into Atlanta for the first time after all the overhead wires had been removed. The positive change to the cityscape was stunning. Bringing back the streetcar that was obsolete 60 years ago is like Delta going back to propeller-driven aircraft or the Norfolk Southern Railway reviving steam-powered locomotives.