The truck of the future is…the train

Jim Hansen of the Master Resource Report this week included a story about a cement factory in West Virginia that bought 1.25 mile extension–and a 205 foot bridge over a highway–to link the factory with two major train lines.

Now get this–it’ll remove 24,000 trucks from the road. And apparently rail can move 1 ton of freight 469 miles on a gallon of fuel. Granted, that number comes from the Association of American Railroads. But even if they are off 10x, I bet they are still ahead of trucking. Yikes.

I haven’t looked around on the ground, but I’m guessing that if I go to where the freight rail depots are in the San Francisco Bay Area (are there any?) I’ll see lots of weeds and decay. Seems to me that this train-centric spots will go back to being  relevant–and lively–in the forseeable future.

I’ll add as well that if you’re in a business that involves shipping your product long distances, get ahead of the game and consider what changes you’d need to make to do a lot of that shipping by rail. Or even better, start doing some of your shipping now via rail, so that you have the time to ramp-up at your own pace. I believe the ability to leverage rail will be a big competitive price advantage.

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