An interesting story about industrial rail in the United States. About 20 mins. From The Economist.
- Europe has an impressive and growing network of high-speed passenger links
- America’s freight railways are one of the unsung transport successes of the past 30 years.
- Before deregulation America’s railways were going bust. … By 1980 a fifth of rail mileage was owned by bankrupt firms.
- Since 1981 productivity has risen by 172%, after years of stagnation. Adjusted for inflation, rates are down by 55%
- Coal is the biggest single cargo, accounting for 45% by volume and 23% by value.
- since 1990 the average horsepower of their fleet has risen by 72%
- [since 1990] the number of ton-miles per (American) gallon of fuel [rose] from 332 to 457—an improvement of 38%
- But the fastest-growing part of rail freight has been “intermodal” traffic: containers or truck trailers loaded on to flat railcars. The number of such shipments rose from 3m in 1980 to 12.3m in 2006, before the downturn caused a slight falling back.
- one freight train can carry as much as 280 lorries can