Monday, June 30, 2008

Busy U.S. rail network creaking under strain

From the AP via the Columbus Dispatch:

Demand for freight trains is expected to double in the next 25 years, and the nation's 140,000-mile network of rails -- which carries everything from grain to cars -- already is overloaded. That could mean future trouble for the economy.

Railway executive Matthew Rose stood before fellow industry leaders, pointing to a map meant to tell the future of the U.S. rail freight network. It was drenched in red -- east to west, north to south.

The blotches illustrated areas where, by 2035, traffic jams could be so severe trains would grind to a halt for days with nowhere to go.

"For those of you who've ever seen a good rail meltdown, this is what it looks like," Rose, chief executive of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., said as people in the crowded hall shifted uncomfortably in their chairs. "It's literally chaos in the supply chain.">>>MORE