8641Re: [carfree_cities] Cost per mile of Road, vs Rail
- Jun 11 2:21 AMRobert Madison said:
>Don't forget 5: Rail (if built properly) is going to last many timesThe cost of maintaining rail rights-of-way including track
>longer, with less overall maintenance, than the roads. What's the cost
>of building a highway twice vs. building a railroad once?
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
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