Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Coast-to-Coast Produce Train

Here's something from the Albany Times Union about a new coast-to-coast produce train linking Walula, Washington and Rotterdam, on the western end of Schenectady, New York.
Produce train arrives ahead of schedule
Express from Washington state to Rotterdam carries as much as 200 trucks


ROTTERDAM -- The inaugural run of an express produce train from Washington state apparently occurred without a hitch over the weekend.

The first train, due in Rotterdam today, arrived Sunday, a full two days ahead of schedule. Union Pacific Railroad and CSX Transportation jointly operate the train for Railex LLC, a unit of Ampco Distribution Services LLC of Riverhead, Long Island.

. . .

The first train carried potatoes, apples and onions, as well as a few cases of pears. The produce trains will use less fuel than the 200 trucks needed to move the same amount of produce, Railex officials have said.

What the article doesn't say and what I wish I knew was how much faster, if at all, the rail service is. Using less fuel is great, but unfortunately our current distribution system values time more than efficiency. The fuel efficiency of rail has always been true. What's new is the coordination (or elimination) of stops and transfers to make the coast-to-coast trip as quick as possible.

Still, it's good to see some investment in this type of transportation.

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