Autos & Motorräder

Trains February 2017


United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines
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CHF 41.47
12 Ausgaben

in dieser ausgabe

2 Min.
tunneling toward tomorrow

A survey of five Class I railroads shows a total of 852 bores with Union Pacific owning the most at 300 (60 miles worth!), CSX with 230, Norfolk Southern with 158, BNSF Railway with 89, and Canadian Pacific with 75. That’s a lot of underground mileage. Railroad tunnels are both friend and foe as they enable passage through difficult terrain, but they also restrict the width and height of shipments, and diesel exhaust in tunnels can hinder air quality. Those problems, of course, can be overcome by enlarging bores, as Southern Railway did in the 1960s, and by installing industrial ventilation systems on long tunnels like Moffat and Cascade out West. Meanwhile, Europe is burying railroads to create new urban space, and I predict that new tunnels in the U.S. will be…

2 Min.
railway post office

MURPHY BRANCH PURCHASE I particularly enjoyed your Blue Ridge Southern article, “Freight on 4 Percent” [pages 52-57, December], however, I want to point out an error on page 55. The article states that Great Smoky Mountains Railroad purchased the Dillsboro-to-Murphy, N.C., corridor from Norfolk Southern Railway in 1988. Actually, the state of North Carolina, with the North Carolina Department of Transportation acting as its agent, purchased the 67 westernmost miles of the Murphy Branch on July 19, 1988, for $650,000. This was during Gov. James G. Martin’s administration. Martin personally led the effort to preserve the corridor and then find an operator for it, which ended up being Malcolm MacNeill and his Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. From 1988 to 1996, the North Carolina Department of Transportation leased the entire Dillsboro-to-Murphy corridor to Great…

4 Min.
all aboard the trump train

Figuring out how the next president of the United States will influence the rail industry is a lot like sorting out a cut of cars in a big classification yard: It’s a daunting task and there is more than one opinion. After businessman-turned-politician Donald Trump was elected president, the rail industry seemed cautiously optimistic on working with the Republican on a gamut of shared interests, specifically infrastructure. But the big question is how Trump’s other campaign promises will affect railroads, especially ones that could impact the overall economy. During the heated campaign, Trump promoted an isolationist agenda and vowed to pull out of trade agreements. Rail consultant Anthony Hatch says pulling out of accords like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership would negatively affect railroads that rely on…

3 Min.
huge promises, huge challenges

On the campaign trail President-elect Donald Trump’s vision for rebuilding America’s infrastructure was huge. It creates incentives for the private sector to invest hundreds of billions in everything from highways to water systems. A campaign white paper called for an ambitious investment of $1 trillion over 10 years using tax credits to leverage private investment. “It’s an innovative finance proposal. It’s really good if you have a revenue-producing project,” says Mortimer L. “Mort” Downey. “I find this one harder to dope out than prior incoming administrations. This time it’s very thin in terms of what they have in mind.” Downey is a transportation consultant, and was Department of Transportation deputy secretary under President Bill Clinton. Downey says private investors need a revenue stream to pay for a project, such as adding toll…

2 Min.
service counts when tangling with trucks

Norfolk Southern has an ambitious goal for its carload business: Make it competitive with trucks. But to make that happen, the railroad has a lot of work to do over the next two years, from boosting on-time performance to improving customer service. Over the past several years, carload volume on the big four U.S. railroads has been holding steady. “Are we tied to this trend? Really, I don’t think so,” says Mike McClellan, Norfolk Southern’s industrial products vice president. “We think industrial products can be competitive in attracting motor carrier traffic as well. The East is a very target-rich environment.” To hit the target NS will work on several areas. None of the items on the to-do list is a game changer. “If you do enough of those things it really turns into a…

2 Min.
where fuel prices fit in

As motorists enjoy friendly gasoline prices, the cost of diesel is a small, but important, player in the competition between railroads and trucking. While trucks and trains often complement each other’s service, the real competition is for about 10 percent of available cargo, according to the American Trucking Associations. There the focus is on factors such as shipment size, length of haul, and hitting a critical delivery window. “However, this competitive freight is also price sensitive, and when the price of diesel drops significantly, it can give motor carriers a competitive advantage,” the associations Chief Economist Bob Costello tells Trains. “The reverse is also true — when diesel prices climb, the rails are more attractive.” The average retail price of No. 2 diesel fuel used by trucks and locomotives topped out at a record…