Regional Boards > Great Lakes and Ohio Valley

Indiana plans truck-only I-70 highway study

<< < (2/5) > >>

Rail transport is slow, inflexible and requires additional handling. In our day and age of just-in-time-deliveries, many stuff transported by truck is not suitable for rail freight. Factories, stores, distribution centers etc, do not keep huge stocks anymore, but are dependent on that just-in-time-delivery idea. I worked at a major supermarket for 5 years, and if a truck was delayed like 2 - 3 hours, we were already hitting empty shelves in the store. If you didn't get a delivery all day, the supermarket was nearly empty.

Rail freight is interesting for bulk goods and really long distances, such as cross continental routes.

I partially disagree Chris, the fastest expanding segment of the North American rail industry is intermodal freight.  These trains contain both piggyback (trailer on flat car) and shipping containers.  The trains run at passenger train like speeds and haul goods including high value consumer electronics.

UPS and JB Hunt have been using rail for west coast to Chicago or Memphis travel for years.

What seems to be happening is that rail is increasingly being used for the intercity transport where it is more fuel efficient and can be time competitive with trucks when done right.  I think that trucks will be used for local pickup and delivery for the foreseeable future because, like you said, they are more flexible.

And, when diesel fuel was $4 a gallon here last year, the trucking firms could not get the trailers onto the rails fast enough.

Of course, the environment here in North America is significantly different than in Europe.  There are more long hauls here and intercity passenger rail (Amtrak) is only a footnote in the transportation network.  Plus, there is also a lot of long haul intermodal traffic through North America that is destined for Europe from Asia as loading on a train at the west coast then back to a ship on the east is faster than using a ship all the way.

Now, as far as the I-70 corridor is concerned, the direct rail routes between St. Louis and Pittsburgh have been abandoned or allowed to deteriorate, so the lines would have to be rebuilt for this corridor.

Revive 755:
If rail is such a bad option, why is it being pursued in Virginia instead of truck lanes on I-81 - other reasons than public opposition?

Regarding the I-70 proposal, I would still like to know where all the trucks are vanishing to at Wheeling.


--- Quote ---And, when diesel fuel was $4 a gallon here last year, the trucking firms could not get the trailers onto the rails fast enough.
--- End quote ---

Nah, I don't know. I think that was more a reaction to the fast increasing prices... Here in Europe rail freight is absolutely non-important compared to trucking, and we have diesel prices which were $ 7 - 8 per gallon last summer. Now around $ 5. Diesel and Gasoline was always 2 - 3 times more expensive in Europe, and our trucking industry did not die yet, although they did have a hard time during the first half of 2008, but that was more because they couldn't calculate the higher fuel prices to their customers. If prices go up slow, the problem would be much smaller.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version