Railroads Gaining Ground

Rail freight providers are ramping up as the cost of transporting a shipping container by truck becomes prohibitive.

"Michael L. Rennicke, vice president and general manager for Pioneer Valley Railroad, says he expects to handle 5,000 to 6,000 railroad cars loaded with freight this year. That's compared with 4,200 the year before and 3,300 railroad cars in 2006."

"'We're getting back to the way the world looked before 1970 or so,' Rennicke said recently. That's back in the days when trains handled most long-haul freight, he said. Trucks did the local deliveries, bringing goods to and from the rail lines.

It costs $3,000 to $3,500 to move a shipping container loaded with plastic trim boards from Westfield to Oregon on a train, according to Philip J. Cameron, director of order fulfillment for Kleer Lumber in Westfield.

That's with a fuel surcharge imposed by the railroad, Cameron said.

Shipping the same 48,000 pounds of finished product by truck could cost as much as $5,500, he said."

Full Story: Railroads feel economic pinch

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