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Who here thinks that we should bring back railroads as our transportation mainstay

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posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 11:32 AM
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There are rumors going around that the US truckers are planning a strike to show solidarity and bring awareness that the rising costs of goods is also in part to the rising costs of transporting goods.

Okay, that is fine, but it doesn't help the consumer, by 'taking a break'.

I read somewhere that a loaded freight train gets astronomical mileage per ton, because it basically can spread a load out over large numbers of axles. It is very efficient versus a loaded semi-truck:

source:
US transportation comparison -energy per ton/mile (end of page)



Heavy Trucks - 3357 BTU tons/mile
Class 1 Railroads - 341 BTU tons/mile
Air Freight - 9600 BTU tons/mile (Approx)
Domestic watercraft - 510 BTU tons/mile


It's clear to see that we as a nation should invest more on rail infrastructure for transporting goods and people. We can reduce our oil consumption a great deal and reduce per capita living costs substantially.

We can still use heavy trucks and dry vans in localized areas to transfer goods from freight yards to businesses.

Whose with me?

[edit on 26-3-2008 by ben91069]




posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 11:42 AM
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Additionally, a gallon of gasoline has around 125,000 BTU's contained in it as heat.

If a train can haul 1 ton a mile for 341 BTU's, that means it can actually move that same ton of weight 366 miles on a gallon of gasoline. That's pretty good mileage.

Extrapolating that, a normal pick-up truck weighs around 5000 lbs. If you were to get the mileage a freight train does, you would be getting 146 Miles per gallon.

Thats a very good reason we should invest in railroads as our primary mover.



posted on Mar, 26 2008 @ 09:28 PM
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Yup, dumbest thing interstate commerce has ever done. Ignore the incredible efficiencies of rail freight and instead, move tons of goods a single trailer full at a time.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 04:03 PM
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You're absolutely right. Not only would they be a more efficient way to ship freight but they would also keep the highways more free of 18-wheelers.

I think there should be more passenger trains, too. I love train travel. I understand though that Amtrak and other passenger trains are losing customers daily. The Southern Railroad down here has only two passenger trains, one to New Orleans and the other to Washington D.C., and they don't run everyday. Plus I have to drive 50 miles to the station.

Here's to trains!


[edit on 30-3-2008 by Sestias]



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 04:51 PM
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Here's my vote!
Also, MrD and I would love to be able to put our truck and travel trailer onto a train and ride it across the states. Ala Mexico's Copper Canyon trip. Something like the way the Alaska Marine Highway System works.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 06:15 PM
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Originally posted by desert
Here's my vote!
Also, MrD and I would love to be able to put our truck and travel trailer onto a train and ride it across the states. Ala Mexico's Copper Canyon trip. Something like the way the Alaska Marine Highway System works.


Sounds awesome. Actually, they have inter-modal freight which just utilizes a container that is standardized and can go from ship to truck to train.

If they can do this, why not put private vehicle on train cars and passengers on another then ship them to their destination and then unload all their things there.

I think its just because people want to drive and have become accustomed to it that they don't think trains would be convenient. Actually, the way I understand it, near New York, Jersey, and Connecticut, the rail system is pretty useful in getting people in and out of NYC for hundreds of miles.

Why not have a national network of commuter and express trains??



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 07:26 PM
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Ever since JIT became the buzz word in the business world, railroads have been out of favor. Unless the railroads can come up with a way of integrating JIT into this mode of transportation, trucks will trump the railroads.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 07:34 PM
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Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
Ever since JIT became the buzz word in the business world, railroads have been out of favor. Unless the railroads can come up with a way of integrating JIT into this mode of transportation, trucks will trump the railroads.


I don't see how they can't. Sure, you can deliver a parcel by air pretty quickly and it has it's uses, but actually it would be faster to deliver a skid of taco shells from El Paso to New York by rail than by truck.

Here's why. With a train, there are only scheduled stops, and a dedicated route with predictable delays. Trains can also work as many engineers as needed to get the job done.

Trucks are just the opposite. A truck is always limited on its speed by external variables, and also Federal regulations that limit how many miles one driver may drive during a day and week. To get around that, they have driving teams, but even so I believe there is still a short time where neither driver can drive during the day.

A train can theoretically go from point A to B without stopping if it was a dedicated express, where a truck could never ever do that.

Why we use trucks for Interstate delivery is beyond me.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 09:09 PM
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I assume that you're not really familiar with the ins and outs of business logistics. Your situation is not what they use trucks for. If all they were doing is delivering a "load of tacos", it probably wouldn't involve a truck, unless it was to a concentration point, or distribution center. Most trucking logistics operations involve delivering to "end points", such as a grocery store, or local WalMart. Orders are usually custom orders(such as what results from a store manager ordering 4,000 different items for his/her store. Those items are then picked, loaded and shipped. Unless you have a rail directly to the end point, you end up delivering to a station, which then would have to schedule a truck to pick up and deliver the goods. Who will load that truck, who will drive the truck. You need to understand that most truckers are owner-operators, and they're not going to invest in a very expensive truck for short hauls.
Believe me, your idea is not practical for business logistics operations. If it were, businesses would have done it long ago. Businesses don't like to spend money on less than efficient operations, especially grocery chains that run on a 2% net profit. I could go on for hours on why it would not be practical, but it would involve getting into teaching you an entire business logistics course.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
I assume that you're not really familiar with the ins and outs of business logistics.


I can't say that I am an expert at logistics, nor do I work in that field, however I used to drive commercially and I can tell you what I observed.



Your situation is not what they use trucks for. If all they were doing is delivering a "load of tacos", it probably wouldn't involve a truck, unless it was to a concentration point, or distribution center.


I was just using "tacos" as an example. Most major cities have rail lines already, we just aren't using them and it obviously costs more money to ship tonnage by truck.



Most trucking logistics operations involve delivering to "end points", such as a grocery store, or local WalMart.



I would disagree here based on the routes I worked on and the loads I hauled. There were some dedicated routes that were "end points" to retail stores, however, that is just one part of the total logistics. Everything that ends up in a store is manufactured and shipped from somewhere else and through distribution centers. The majority of my experience was not moving things to end points but moving raw materials and goods to distribution centers, wholesalers, depots, and manufacturers. This was the bulk of what I saw driving trucks. End points are just the tip of the logistics ice berg.



Orders are usually custom orders(such as what results from a store manager ordering 4,000 different items for his/her store. Those items are then picked, loaded and shipped. Unless you have a rail directly to the end point, you end up delivering to a station, which then would have to schedule a truck to pick up and deliver the goods. Who will load that truck, who will drive the truck. You need to understand that most truckers are owner-operators, and they're not going to invest in a very expensive truck for short hauls.


We have rail already near most major US cities. We have all you are mentioning, the problem is we are keeping owner/ops in business at the expense of using a costly method of transport. All those jobs can be transferred quite easily to working for railroads, except the last straw - a truck driver. Seriously, who cares if a truck driver is upset that he can't run long hauls because we need to find a better way to move things? He can certainly drive locally or work in another aspect of freight. I'd rather have cheap goods and conserve energy.



Believe me, your idea is not practical for business logistics operations. If it were, businesses would have done it long ago. Businesses don't like to spend money on less than efficient operations, especially grocery chains that run on a 2% net profit. I could go on for hours on why it would not be practical, but it would involve getting into teaching you an entire business logistics course.


The company I work for had a rail spur adjacent to it and they removed it 10 or more years ago. Now all our steel comes in (#40,000) at a time by a truck. Sometimes these drivers sit in the parking lot overnight and idle to wait for 1st shift, or because they have reached their hours for the day. If we had that spur still, the railroads could have easily dropped a couple flat cars with way more than #40,000 of steel on them for a fraction of the cost.

I have already shown it costs more to ship weight by truck versus rail, so why is it not practical? I think it has more to do with people being stubborn and not rallying to consider that something older was probably better.

Besides, as fuel becomes more costly, businesses won't have any other choice but to look to cheaper solutions, whether the trucking industry likes it or not.



posted on Mar, 30 2008 @ 10:02 PM
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I would agree with you that for raw materials, rail is much more efficient, and in fact, is used extensively. However, for finished goods to the retail points, trucks are, in my humble opinion, more efficient. Many of my experiences have been with logistics operations at distribution centers TO the retail outlets. They are virtually all trucked, not railed.



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by ben91069
 


Yeah
there's a great idea, put thousands of people out of jobs ... that'd help the economy.

If you want to talk about "fuel efficientcy" fine, you win, railroads are better.
They carry more in one trip. They arrive at the train yard
They have to go fowards, backwards, forwards, backwards

dropping off certain cars here
certain cars there
picking up more cars here
breakign down there

Once the cargo arrives at its "general" destination (meaning in close proximity to where its' supposed to go) then ---


*spoiler alert*


A truck has to come pick it up and take it to its final resting place.

By cutting out the middle man, you get your stuff much faster.

Compare UPS v.s. FedEx

UPS uses the railroad for its primary shipping method
FedEx uses contractors with Semi-Trucks

on mainline and local deliveries, both, fedex outruns UPS by 1 day on most lanes, and on some lanes its 2 or more.

Im not saying the railroad isnt worthwhile
but trucks eliminate the middle man, costs a little bit extra
but goes a lot faster

creates more jobs too, fyi



posted on Jul, 25 2008 @ 12:02 PM
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Absolutely it is time for a true rail renaissance: Inter-city rail, luxury rail, everyday rail, and light rail within cities and towns (that is, modernized streetcars or trams suc as those appearing in Paris and other forward-thinking cities).

The age of the private automobile is over. We should be grateful. The private automobile has done far more harm than good to our cities, civic life, communities, and environment.

Let's create a proper rail system in this country at last. Much of the infrastructure already exists, underutilized or abandoned, and can be rebuilt and expanded upon. Severe gasoline taxes (with perhaps exceptions for those who must use vehicles for work, such as farming) should be instituted, bringing gas prices up to $8 or more per gallon, to subsidize public transit and to begin undoing the damage which the automobile has caused.



posted on Jun, 27 2012 @ 01:33 AM
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bump from the past....I've seen more UPS semi trucks on the backs of "pigs" (i.e. freight cars) than driving on the road. I've worked for Union Pacific for six years now and our fastest and most important trains are called "z" trains, mostly carrying hundreds of millions of dollars in goods per train and, yes, UPS trucks loaded.

We can't have the railroads do everything. In fact, UP's new motto of door to door transportation is only somewhat true. You can't back up a train to walmart and unload it. But, UP has branched out and has it's own fleet of truck drivers that only deliver locally to businesses. That's why they say door to door service!



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