ATLANTA — MARTA plans to send retired railcars into the Atlantic Ocean to be repurposed as artificial reefs this Thursday, according to the transportation service.
The partnership is with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Reef Project as part of an eco-friendly initiative. MARTA said that two older railcars have been cleaned and prepared for their underwater mission.
"Right now we are in the process of retiring our legacy fleet... this was an opportunity for us to actually disposition them and not salvage them, but actually use them to enhance the marine life at the Georgia coast," MARTA's Director of Sustainability Richard Thomas said.
He explained the railcars that were being sent to Savannah would be launched in early April. They've already been cleaned and had potential contaminants removed.
The first railcar was transported from MARTA's South Yard on the morning of Sept. 7.
Once the railcars are taken to Savannah, there will be a ceremony to mark the strategic geographic location where they will be left off the coast of Georgia.
"After about a year, it will be covered by interesting organisms and other marine life, and it will become a totally natural part of our environment off the coast," said Tyler Jones with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
MARTA plans to host a celebration on the Georgia coast to mark the deployment of these railcars into the ocean. The DNR said the deployment of the railcar would be documented by capturing surface, underwater and drone footage. It added that archived videos of previous deployments that have transformed into vibrant reef habitats will also be provided.