Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Freight trains make big comeback in nation’s transportation network –

L. A. Times reports something that could be good news, or then again…

More than 4,000 miles of train tracks stretch through California, winding up the blustery Cajon Pass and snaking through the desert surrounding Barstow.

Those tracks could be seeing a lot more traffic in the next few years as trains loaded with Chinese-made toys, electronics and clothing roll eastward, connecting West Coast ports with cities across the U.S.

Freight trains make big comeback in nation’s transportation network –


Filed under: Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy

3 Responses

  1. Allan says:

    Interesting article but old news. Before the recession hit, the railroads were busting at the seams with traffic. That’s why they laid all the new track so that they could move more freight faster.

    Railroads became more nimble and joined in with intermodal transportation years ago. Intermodal freight can be moved easily and quickly … and with fewer costs.

    From the customer’s perspective, the interest in using rail has nothing … nada … to do with the environment. As someone who, until just recently, worked in the transportation sector, I can tell you that the environmental footprint of the transportation mode never entered into the equation. It was solely cost and time. If I needed it fast, it went via FedEx. If I didn’t need it so quickly, it went via rail/truck. The only question then was cost and availability. Really … It was just that simple.

    BTW, many trucking companies like Yellow Freight use the railroads!

  2. HockeyFan says:

    Not to mention UPS, which fills whole trainsets with their trailers. FedEx hasn’t seen the light yet. Soaring fuel prices should change their attitude eventually.

  3. Joe says:

    I agree with Allan’s comment about the railroads doing all they could to boost capacity and increase efficiencies some time ago. That effort still continues today.

    I was fortunate enough to witness firsthand Union Pacific’s latest test train transverse the Yuma Sub last Sunday. The train was a test of train handling characteristics, fuel economy analysis, and distributed power management. It was an 18,061′ monster of a train that was configured with 3 lead units, 2 different sets of DPUs inside the train and 2 more DPUs on the rear. Total tonnage was over 15,000 and it was said to have 618 cargo containers from Dallas, TX bound for Long Beach, CA. All of this cargo would be handled normally with a train crew of 2 people. (This particular run had other officials and monitoring crews on-board.)

    The Union Pacific Railroad stated that they have no plans to run trains this long any time soon but it does indicate the willingness of Union Pacific to think beyond traditional transportation modes.

    For photos and video of the longest train that Union Pacific has ever run to date, please see my website:

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January 2010


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