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8641Re: [carfree_cities] Cost per mile of Road, vs Rail

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Jun 11 2:21 AM
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      Robert Madison said:

      >Don't forget 5: Rail (if built properly) is going to last many times
      >longer, with less overall maintenance, than the roads. What's the cost
      >of building a highway twice vs. building a railroad once?

      The cost of maintaining rail rights-of-way including track
      is a long way from insignificant. Rails wear and must be
      replaced, ballast needs augmenting, ties rot or break down
      under intense pounding, brush must be trimmed, the many
      rock cuts require frequent attention. Where the savings
      come is from the fact that often a single track is enough
      to move all the traffic moving across a national railroad
      in both directions. I saw last night regarding Canadian
      Pacific that they now run trains 2 km long with 3 locomotives.
      The trains weigh 14,000 tons and are pulled by only 18,000
      horsepower with crew of just two. Now, lets do the numbers
      for trucks. The payload of a this train is probably about
      10,000 tons. The payload of a 40-ton truck is about 25 tons,
      so we need 400 trucks with a crew of 400. The trucks have
      engines around 400 HP, so we have a total of 160,000 HP
      on the job, nearly 10 times as much.

      The only reason all freight is not already moving by truck
      is that the trucks pay a small fee to use the roads while
      doing great damage to them. Railroads pay their full costs
      of operation and at the same time pay hefty real estate taxes
      on their rights-of-way. Their climate-change emissions are
      a fraction of road freight, per ton-mile.

      The cost of maintaining one track, capable of moving as
      much freight as you're likely to need, is fairly small
      in comparison to maintaining a huge fleet of expensive
      trucks with limited life spans, to say nothing of the
      cost of rebuilding the roads beat to cinders by these

      If you want to talk "free market economics," the long-haul
      truckers couldn't survive without their subsidies. The
      railroads in the USA still manage to make a profit despite
      the highly adverse market in which they must compete.


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      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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