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Thread: Increase in rail shipping?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Increase in rail shipping?

    A report was saying that for most Truck drivers it is costing more that $300 for a full tank, and that we should expect to see an increase in the price of consumer goods because of this.

    Does anyone know if any major corporations or state are looking at adjusting funding to increase and improve Rail Freight traffic?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- Illinois is. I've mentioned before the CREATE plan. The City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and all the railroads have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars for it, but the Federal Government just dropped the ball.

    http://www.ble.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=14233

    The Chicago area is the nation's busiest railroad terminal, handling more than 37,500 cars a day. That number is expected to almost double to 67,000 cars by 2020, fueled by a surge in Asian imports from West Coast ports headed inland and shippers looking to avoid the high fuel costs associated with trucking.

    The additional activity is being squeezed into a 2,796-mile track network loaded with choke points and creaky, outdated infrastructure. In Chicago's Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side, for example, dozens of trains grind to a halt daily as a railroad worker manually throws levers to switch tracks where seven sets of tracks converge.

    [...]


    The meager handout means freight delays, chronically blocked street crossings and inefficient commuter rail service on some routes will persist for years to come in the nation's busiest rail hub.

    "It was a big surprise," says Merrill Travis, a Chicago Department of Transportation consultant on the project. "You hate to spit in the eye of $100 million, but it's lower than our worst-case scenario."

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Don't rail freight operations and over the road trucks perform different services? Rail freight is a mode of regional distribution and OTR moves merchandise from the regional areas and warehouses to specifc sites. This sounds like a question for Bear Up North!

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    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Don't rail freight operations and over the road trucks perform different services? Rail freight is a mode of regional distribution and OTR moves merchandise from the regional areas and warehouses to specifc sites. This sounds like a question for Bear Up North!
    There is an incredible number of regional OTR distributers. There is a good number of national OTR distributers. I believe it mostly deals with whether or not a product is a just in time delivery. Trucks can move faster across the country or region than rail. You're not going to ship produce via rail. BUN, care to comment?
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Don't rail freight operations and over the road trucks perform different services? Rail freight is a mode of regional distribution and OTR moves merchandise from the regional areas and warehouses to specifc sites. This sounds like a question for Bear Up North!
    You've just described what is commonly called "intermodal shipping." Intermodal shipping combining rail and truck is fairly new though. It used to be that if stuff was to be delivered by truck, it'd be loaded in the truck at the source, say, at a seaport. If the seaport was in Los Angeles and the destination was in New Jersey, well, that's 4,000 miles by truck. If something was shipped by train it was because the source and destination (like, say, a coal mine and a power plant) were both physically on rail lines.

    With intermodal shipping, the mode of travel might change several times. The shipment might be loaded on a truck at the seaport, for instance, then sent to the rail yard where it's put on a train, where it's shipped to another rail yard in a different part of the country, where it's put on a truck, where it's sent to a regional distribution center, where the container is opened and contents are rearranged and packed into conventional trucks, which distribute the goods to smaller destinations.

    Intermodal shipping is putting great strains on our antiquated rail network, but has the potential to greatly reduce energy consumed in shipping, as well as remove tons of trucks from our highways (and unfortunatly, perhaps, make it even easier to get stuff from China ).

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    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Intermodal shipping is putting great strains on our antiquated rail network..
    I have a brother in the Portland, Oregon, area who is an engineer for one of the major railroad companies and he says the same thing. He can't stand waiting 2 to 4 hours in a switchyard (or whatever he calls it) while a train going in the opposite direction on the same line has to pass him. Once the other train is gone, he gets back on the main line and continues onward with his route. It's a waste of time, and a waste of money.

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    You've just described what is commonly called "intermodal shipping." Intermodal shipping combining rail and truck is fairly new though. It used to be that if stuff was to be delivered by truck, it'd be loaded in the truck at the source, say, at a seaport. If the seaport was in Los Angeles and the destination was in New Jersey, well, that's 4,000 miles by truck.

    I notice that a lot of the freight that comes off ships comes in a truck trailer box that gets loaded directly onto trailer rails. Can they do the same thing with train freight boxes?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    ^-- That's called a "container" and yes, the containers can be loaded on to ships, trains, or trucks. They were designed for that.

    Trains also have cars upon which you can load standard semi trailers (the cargo part of a semi-truck). I think they're called "piggy-backs" or something.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    ^-- That's called a "container" and yes, the containers can be loaded on to ships, trains, or trucks. They were designed for that.

    Trains also have cars upon which you can load standard semi trailers (the cargo part of a semi-truck). I think they're called "piggy-backs" or something.
    Yes, you'll rarely see a real box car anymore. Most are those intermodal containers.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

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    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    Yes, you'll rarely see a real box car anymore. Most are those intermodal containers.
    And one of the impediments to double-stacking the containers (thereby doubling the capacity of a train to carry them) is the amount of sub-standard tunnel and bridge clearances, especially in the east.

    RP

  11. #11
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by rpowell
    And one of the impediments to double-stacking the containers (thereby doubling the capacity of a train to carry them) is the amount of sub-standard tunnel and bridge clearances, especially in the east.
    That is one reason why there is such interest in a cross-Hudson River freight rail tunnel between northeastern New Jersey and NYC (Brooklyn). It would take a LOT of big-rig trucks off of the highways, streets, bridges and tunnels in that area, greatly improving traffic and delivery efficiency.

    Right now, the southernmost place where a full-sized railroad car can cross the Hudson River is at the CSXT bridge that is right next to the New York State Thruway Berkshire Extension bridge, just south of Albany, NY. This makes rail a non-starter as a shipping mode for pretty much anything between NYC, Connecticut, etc and points west and south.

    ---------------

    I can also imagine the future wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Chicagoland NIMBYs for the expected rail capacity upgrades for that area. The main reason why UP built their Global III intermodal terminal at Rochelle, IL was the intense NIMBY opposition that they got in the West Chicago area. As a result, Rochelle, IL is poised to become one of North America's major freight transport hubs, a potential status that the city is embracing.

    I can further envision railroad companies attempting to reclaim and reopen now abandoned and sold-off RsOW in forseeable future to handle increasing traffic. Expect much wailing and gnashing of NIMBY teeth with that, too.

    Mike

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    That is one reason why there is such interest in a cross-Hudson River freight rail tunnel between northeastern New Jersey and NYC (Brooklyn). It would take a LOT of big-rig trucks off of the highways, streets, bridges and tunnels in that area, greatly improving traffic and delivery efficiency.
    By "such interest," of course, you mean that there's an earmark in the Pork Bill because some NYS rep wanted it, but the Port Authority didn't know about it, has no interest in building it, and has no money for the local share anyway...

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    A Toledo Distribution Center & Trains

    Interesting thread, interesting questions, interesting responses.

    At our Toledo distribution center we receive about a dozen containers of products per/week. These containers are either 20-footers or 40-footers and are carrying the products we sell that were manufazctured for us in China, or other far east countries. These products are no longer manufactured in the USA.....products such as gloves or toilet bowl brushes.

    All other products coming to our facility are in either full truck load trailers (usually 53-footers) or are what are called LTL's......"less-than-truckload" quantities. Those LTL's might be a pallet or two (2) from a company in Wisconsin that is providing us with a small product that we only need to purchase small quantities of.

    Many of the FTL's coming in to our center are products that we "manufacture". We are the owners of the molding equipment that is used to create the plastic soap dispenser, plastic garbage can, structural foam mop bucket, or every man's favorite, vinyl urinal screens. (Something to "aim" for. ) We don't do the actual molding of these products.....that is done by companies we contract that work to. They just use our mold.

    Those containers that are coming to us usually arrive in Long Beach, CA. We use transportation brokers to bring in a lot of our products from overseas and their favorite port is usually Long Beach. At that massive facility (with starting wages for employees at about $85,000) the containers are loaded on double-stack flat cars and shipped across the USA to Chicago. The routes that handle these tall units have all been redone in the last twenty (20) years, eliminating any low clearance issues.

    Our containers are usually unloaded in Chicago (or the burgs) and placed on the special semi-tractor/trailer units that hold containers. We always know the location of each container by "Tracker" reports that we receive daily. (That helps our inventory control personnel, so they know when something will be available.)

    Many larger companies will use special warehousing in the far east countries, so they can maximize production efficiencies (build size A at the same time for all customers). Then, when purchasing says SHIP, the overseas' people rfelease the products from the warehouse and start them on the way to the USA landscape.

    In other threads I have mentioned that my home is in Swanton, OH. Through our quiet bedroom suburb flows some of the busiest rail tracks in the USA. The average is something like a train every eleven (11) minutes. We have two (2) rail crossings at grade and the location of fire protection services and rescue services on opposite sides has led to some real issues. That has prompted the state of Ohio to place an above-grade crossing at the top of the priority list. (Too bad they want to place it in such a manner that a bunch of houses go bye-bye. They could get creative and place it out of the city's boundaries, but just a couple hundred yards east, and the only thing they would take out is corn stalks.)

    Clogging the rails in Swanton, Toledo, and Chicago......rail cars (modal units as described), flats carrying semi-trailers, unit trains, and the usual mix. Unit trains are very common, carrying long strings of hoppers carrying coal (ore, up north), or perhaps auto-carrier cars (moving Chevolets to your dealer). In Toledo, they used to load the manufactured Jeeps at a huge yard in the souths suburbs (Walbridge). They would take the Jeeps by truck to the Walbridge yard, park 'em, and load 'em later on auto-carriers.

    Capacity issues include the ports (they need huge equipment and terror concerns have added additional steps), the ability of the railroads to get the trains through the port cities, and the amount of cross-country rail that is up-to-standard. These capacity issues are compounded by a throw-away society, the demise of the plastics industry in the states, and a population that likes their "stuff".

    There is an exploratory committee in the Toledo area that is looking at establishing an alternate to Chicago as an unloading center for containers and trailers. In our Swanton area there is a lot of land, with great access to I-80/I-90 (Ohio Turnpike) and just a few miles west of I-75. Next to the Turnpike interchange is Toledo Express Airport, already with a large distribution hub.
    It's a natural for this area......and dollars to donuts it will get lost in political squabbling and a new center to compete with Chicago will go up in Angola, IN or Akron, OH.

    Bear
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North

    There is an exploratory committee in the Toledo area that is looking at establishing an alternate to Chicago as an unloading center for containers and trailers. In our Swanton area there is a lot of land, with great access to I-80/I-90 (Ohio Turnpike) and just a few miles west of I-75. Next to the Turnpike interchange is Toledo Express Airport, already with a large distribution hub.
    It's a natural for this area......and dollars to donuts it will get lost in political squabbling and a new center to compete with Chicago will go up in Angola, IN or Akron, OH.

    Bear
    bear,

    How will this solve the problem of getting thru the Chicago rail yards? If containers are off-loaded at Rochelle, IL (UP/Global 3) or Joliet, IL (CenterPoint/BNSF) they could get to Toledo in about 6 hours, while if they go thru the Chicago rail yards, it might add a day or 2 to the trip. Would they use the NS Kankakee Secondary (interchange off of BNSF at Streator, IL) as a bypass?

    RP

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    Cyburbian safege's avatar
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    I found this on-line event covered on the Transportation Secuity mailing list. It looks like you need to sign up in advance.

    https://talkingfreight.webex.com/tal...44936750412775

  17. #17
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    The Port Authority of NY&NJ has been working on getting containers away from the region's core ASAP by establishing what they're calling a "Port Inland Distribution Network . . . the details of which are below. It basically involves moving containers to rail or barge, expressing them out of the area to a secondary transfer location. Currently 90% of freight leaves NY&NJ by truck.

    http://www.state.nj.us/transportatio...idnsummary.pdf


    There's an ongiong double-stack clearance project for trains leaving the Port of Philadelphia heading north and west . . . I'm also really sure that a lot of those rail cars are refrigerated as a lot of the produce coming into the South Philly terminal is destined for markets in Ontario.

    PENNSYLVANIA CLEARANCE PROJECT

    Pennsylvania

    Type of Project: Vertical clearance; Railroad corridor improvement

    Year of Completion: 1995

    Modes Supported: Truck, rail, water, containerized

    Physical Description: Penn DOT served as a coordinator for a major ongoing project to remove impediments to double-stack rail operations serving the Port of Philadelphia. The purpose of the project was to clear 163 obstacles (undercuttings, signal bridges, highway and township bridges, and tunnels) on Conrail's east-west route from Ohio to the Port of Philadelphia and Canadian Pacific's north-south route from the New York border to Philadelphia, as well as to make horizontal improvements to accommodate high and wide cargo being transported from Wilkes-Barre to the Port of Philadelphia.

    Current Project Status: Complete, however there are on-going efforts to continue improving clearances where needed.

    Funding Mechanisms: Federal highway planning and research funds were used to sponsor PennDOT's study of project benefits and costs before undertaking the clearance work. Eventually, most of the $83 million project cost to raise bridge clearances used a combination of private funds and State-sponsored bonds. However, numerous highway bridge improvements that coincided with the double-stack clearance needs were put on the TIP and then accelerated to support this project.

    Whom to Contact for Additional Information:

    John E. Brown, Director, Bureau of Tail Freight, Ports, and Waterways
    Pennsylvania DOT
    Transportation and Safety Building
    Room 506
    Harrisburg, PA 17120
    717-783-8567
    717-772-5782 fax
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    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by rpowell
    bear,

    How will this solve the problem of getting thru the Chicago rail yards? If containers are off-loaded at Rochelle, IL (UP/Global 3) or Joliet, IL (CenterPoint/BNSF) they could get to Toledo in about 6 hours, while if they go thru the Chicago rail yards, it might add a day or 2 to the trip. Would they use the NS Kankakee Secondary (interchange off of BNSF at Streator, IL) as a bypass?

    RP
    The way that I heard it, traffic IS routed around Chicago. I heard no fine point details.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

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