Automation, Elon Musk, & Self-Driving Trucks

Topic 18122 | Page 2

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BillTheSlink's Comment
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BTW. Heard recently that RR"s are losing container freight to Trucking. I'm sure Rick can find the info on that. Thanks Rick!

Part of that is the deterioration of rail road infrastructure itself that can't be replaced cost effectively. The number of rail lines that are unsafe and are closed to traffic and deteriorating overpasses that are closed are astronomical. Case in point: when I was in my middle teens 25 years ago or so there were three rail lines about 1000 yards from my home. A train derailed on one do to disrepair. It was slatted for replacement over and over again only to be pushed off again and again. Finally they came out and pulled that line up all the way to its starting point in the rail yard about five miles away towards downtown and sold the steel for scrap. There is also a train overpass that they are always screaming about on the news because it's abandoned and crosses over route 50 as you head to Fort Washington Way (6th street expressway) that the Feds are saying it may come crashing down under its own weight because the supports are so deteriorated and the overpass itself is so unsound.

G-Town's Comment
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BillTheSlink wrote:

Part of that is the deterioration of rail road infrastructure itself that can't be replaced cost effectively.

Sorry,...the railroad infrastructure is not in a state of deterioration, far from it. BNSF is triple tracking the Transcon to increase capacity exceeding 150 trains per day, at a track speed of 70mph; Cali to Chicago. Running on welded ribbon rail and concrete ties, railroad infrastructure is healthier than it's ever been. If you drive I-40 through NM and AZ you'll see what I mean...

What you are referring to is abandonment of unprofitable lines...and selling off to short lines. Before deregulation culminating with the Staggers Act, railroads were forced to service unprofitable secondaries and one-two car industrial sidings. Those days are long gone. Lowest point was the formation of Conrail in 1976...to salvage a half dozen bankrupt northeast railroads.

I could go on and on, but I suggest you Google BNSF, Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, KCS, CP Rail and/or CN. The picture you will see is the Polar opposite of what you just described.

The point Tractor mentioned about taking freight off the rail; intermodal is only cost effective when the mileage exceeds 800. Below that it's cheaper and more efficient to truck it all the way. 40% of freight railroad traffic is intermodal; containers and trailers; been steadily growing since the mid 90s. JB Hunt, Schneider, Hub Group, and UPS are the biggest players.

Intermodal:

Transporting freight using two or more transportation modes. An example would be freight that is moved by truck from the shipper's dock to the rail yard, then placed on a train to the next rail yard, and finally returned to a truck for delivery to the receiving customer.

In trucking when you hear someone refer to an intermodal job they're normally talking about hauling shipping containers to and from the shipyards and railyards.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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Completely agree with G-Town on this subject.

One thing that many truck drivers misunderstand about the railroad business is that they actually increase the amount of trucking jobs. The railroads provide a lot of opportunities for trucks to move things to their final destination.

G-Town's Comment
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Completely agree with G-Town on this subject.

One thing that many truck drivers misunderstand about the railroad business is that they actually increase the amount of trucking jobs. The railroads provide a lot of opportunities for trucks to move things to their final destination.

Exactly...railroads rarely handle single customer freight origination and destination unless it's in the form of a unit train like coal or ethanol. We, trucks handle origination and destination in the form of dray moves.

40 years ago what is now moved in trailers and containers, used to be moved in boxcars.

BillTheSlink's Comment
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OK, obviously I am not up to date on rail and am living in an area that must have been serviced by the small bankrupt companies. My mistake and I didn't mean to spread false information I had heard.

G-Town's Comment
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OK, obviously I am not up to date on rail and am living in an area that must have been serviced by the small bankrupt companies. My mistake and I didn't mean to spread false information I had heard.

It's okay Bill...my past professional career for 30 years was Technology Consulting in rail, trucking and distribution. I witnessed first hand as Conrail emerged from the ashes to become the most profitable and efficient railroad in the world in less than 20 years. To this day they were the only company that could run a 9000 foot train without pulling it into a siding. They were split-up and bought by NS and CSX during the mid-90s.

Have you ever heard of Warren Buffett? One of his largest holdings is the BNSF Railroad. He doesn't back losers...

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