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Points To Ponder
www.trainweb.com/tip/ponder.html

These "Points To Ponder" should make you wonder if there are factors beyond free and open competition that put rail at a disadvantage. One should select the best and least expensive method to ship their goods. However, certain observations indicate there may be factors beyond fair competiton involved when rail is not chosen in many circumstances.

  • How could hauling freight using 60 trucks with 60 separate engines each burning fuel driven by at least 60 different drivers (and sometimes more when the trucks move around the clock by different drivers in shifts) ever be less expensive than using one freight train with 60 cars, very few engines, and very few engineers for the same trip? This is true in many cases. My own suspicion is that the shipper has to pay the full true expense of shipping by rail, but there are hidden subsidies that keep the cost of shipping by truck far below the true cost. The railways have to maintain and operate the tracks and that cost is a factor in what the railways charge their clients. Trucking companies do not maintain or operate the roadways. That is done by the government. The trucking companies pay fuel and other taxes and fees. However, if these fees were even close to the cost of maintaining and operating the roads and the trucking companies had to pass those fees onto their customers, I think the cost of shipping by rail would win hands down over the cost of shipping by truck.

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