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Monday, May 7, 2012

All Railroads Lead to Chicago

By Michael Fonda (Chicago)

In today's New York Times, there is an article about rail traffic in the United States. Click here to read the article. If you're interested in learning how TEU containers move around the country carrying the products that end up in your office, home, or apartment, this article is a good primer.  The author, John Schwartz, describes the $3.2 billion in improvements that are scheduled for the Chicago area in order to help move the containers, boxcars, and tanker cars through Chicago faster so that shipments arrive at their destinations quicker.

Some of the points that Schwartz makes are:

  • Six of the United States' seven largest railroads pass through Chicago.
  • A quarter of all rail traffic touches Chicago.
  • The $3.2 billion project will:
    • Replace 25 rail intersections with overpasses.
    • Smooth the flow of 1300 passenger and freight trains each day.
    • Create 50 miles of new track.
There may be romance in constructing high-speed passenger rail but if we're going to spend the capital of  U.S. citizens on the steel wheels, let's spend it on freight trains. That's where it will make the greatest impact on the economy.

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