Earlier this year, a retired MARTA railcar was spotted roaming the streets of New York state, bound for its new place in the Trolley Museum of New York’s collection. Now, some of that railcar’s former brethren are destined for a much more exotic place.

MARTA has partnered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, contributing railcars from its original fleet to DNR’s Reef Project as they’re phased out of the transit system.

Next stop: the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere off the Georgia coast.

DNR’s Reef Project works to deploy “large objects to the bottom of the ocean that over time develop into reef habitats for marine wildlife,” according to a MARTA announcement.

Courtesy of MARTA

Courtesy of MARTA

So far, two older-model MARTA railcars have been stripped down to their metal bones (with classic MARTA branding and stripping still intact), cleaned, and readied for afterlife at the bottom of the sea. All materials eligible for recycling have been recycled, according to MARTA.

The program continues MARTA’s efforts to phase out its original fleet in sustainable and creative ways as its new CQ400 railcars begin arriving in coming years—replete with modernized exterior designs meant to evoke speed. The new fleet is being manufactured in Hungary and built out in Salt Lake City by veteran train-building company Stadler.

MARTA officials said in December the first new railcars will be in service sometime in 2025, later than initially projected.

Courtesy of MARTA

Courtesy of MARTA

The first of two railcars bound for the Reef Project is scheduled to depart Thursday morning for the Georgia coast from MARTA’s South Yard in College Park.

An event on the coast to celebrate the railcars’ voyage out to sea is pending.

DNR plans to “document the deployment extensively with surface, underwater, and drone footage, as well as provide archival footage of previous deployments that have developed into full reef habitats,” according to MARTA officials.  



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