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 Post subject: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:41 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 am
Posts: 143
I know that coal traffic has been in decline for the past few years and I was thinking what could the railroads do to fill in the gap I don't know that inter-model can do the job however with the enlargement of the Panama Canal could that fill in the lost revenue? I'm not sure any thoughts. I also was thinking what would the railroads do especially in the east with the coal rail lines that were either abandoned or became less active? The railroads could sell or lease the line to short lines or maybe just maybe the railroads could operate excursions on those lines either steam or diesels or whatever. any thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 3:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 6072
Location: southeastern USA
Except for lines like Grand Canyon and D&S, excursions won't pay their was in the common carrier world. Unless there's enough freight business to support a shortline after the mines shut down, who would bid on it as an operator? Railbanking on the possibility that technology might provide us with a clean coal combustion alternative in the future seems to me to be the likeliest alternative - but coal is still alive if not as active as it has been, and will be for a while yet.

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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 7:16 am
Posts: 1690
There has been a massive decline in rail traffic over the last few months, it has been much more than just the reduction in coal. Some recent industry summaries that I saw indicated that most of the class ones have between 20 and 25 percent of their locomotives stored out of service. This is part of why there have been so many surplus equipment auctions lately.

PC

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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:31 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:31 am
Posts: 118
Location: Northern Illinois
PCook wrote:
There has been a massive decline in rail traffic over the last few months, it has been much more than just the reduction in coal.


Actual numbers from the AAR indicate an 11% decline in carloadings so far this year, like in a moderately severe recession:

"Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 8,668,572 carloads, down 11.1 percent or 1,081,450 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 9,042,678 units, down 3.1 percent or 288,427 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2015.

"For the first eight months of 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 17,711,250 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.2 percent or 1,369,877 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year."

The addition of intermodal units to carloads produces a number of questionable meaning, as a carload represents much more freight than a container or trailer.

The main effect on operating museums/tourist railroads from the resulting retrenchment would be sale, downgrading or abandonment by the Class I of their line connecting the museum/tourist railroad to the outside world (such as UP's line to Rockford, IL that serves the Illinois Railway Museum - fortunately safe as long as Chrysler builds cars in Belvidere, IL). Then you'd have to deal with a new shortline operator or perhaps buy the line to the nearest interchange (or become landlocked).

Graphs of three years' of AAR carloading data on weekly, monthly and yearly bases are found here:

https://www.aar.org/Pages/Freight-Rail-Traffic-Data.aspx


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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2016 10:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 6072
Location: southeastern USA
Container shipping is also down, and HanJin is in bankruptcy. And thanks to the STEM education promotion, we will be graduating many more scientists and engineers that we have places to fill. Stay home and learn plumbing.

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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:28 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 12:36 am
Posts: 63
I work for a subcontractor for Volvo Trucks north america, our business is WAY, WAY down, Over the past several months many hundreds of employees have been laid off at Volvo. In the company I work for it is my high seniority keeping me at work albeit at almost starvation levels.

It's grim on the railroad, it's also grim in the trucking industry.

It's grim almost everywhere, except for government jobs.....

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May the spirit of the Norfolk & Western, and the Rio Grande, live forever!


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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:31 am
Posts: 118
Location: Northern Illinois
Dave wrote:
Stay home and learn plumbing.


Excellent idea. Have you been able to persuade anyone? I haven't.


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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:47 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:34 am
Posts: 500
Location: Granby, CT but formerly Port Jefferson, NY (LIRR MP 57.5)
Dave wrote:
And thanks to the STEM education promotion, we will be graduating many more scientists and engineers that we have places to fill.


As an underemployed PhD myself, I agree 100%. There is no shortage of scientists and engineers in the US, but there is a shortage of people with practical mechanical skills -- and an interest in using and developing them.

-Philip Marshall


Last edited by philip.marshall on Tue Sep 13, 2016 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:30 am
Posts: 143
I think one thing that could really increase freight traffic is there was a new deal by Congress to rebuild our infrastructure the railroads will see a huge increase in in hauling coal, steel, sand, rock, and so on that kind of traffic would last for years and they focus more on railroads than roads since shipping by rail is more efficient than by truck wouldn't you agree?


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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:26 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 6072
Location: southeastern USA
Only if we were rebuilding our infrastructure which would require bulk transport of such resources.

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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:04 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:52 pm
Posts: 914
Quote:
I think one thing that could really increase freight traffic is there was a new deal by Congress to rebuild our infrastructure the railroads will see a huge increase in in hauling coal, steel, sand, rock, and so on that kind of traffic would last for years and they focus more on railroads than roads since shipping by rail is more efficient than by truck wouldn't you agree?


This is true to a point.

Let's say you rebuild the infrastructure to (for example) Telluride, CO. It is a smaal town in a box canyon. If the new infrastructure is an 8 lane interstate highway or a 4-track electric railroad (i. e. the Northeast Corridor), the economy will pick up near Telluride until the the project was finished. Then it would become a well noted highway or railroad to no where project indicative of government waste.

If you electrified from New York City to Reading PA to Harrisburg PA to Pittsburgh PA, a different result may occur. For instance one item to consider is if the population centers of the Northeastern US growing or shrinking.

Unfortunately the growth areas of the US today are not the growth areas of tomorrow. When our home grown industries worked to keep the costs down, the iron belt industries like car manufacturing (and the related coal and steel and fuel industries) move to the south eastern US then out west and overseas.

Then the "growth" industries were touted by government as being computers. When foreigners came to the US to get PHDs to develop their own computer manufacturing facilities, The "growth" industries were the WWW. with no thought about the future following the same path - going overseas.

No one seems to have an idea of where to go next. The current administration has nixed NASA. As I recall history, there were similar issues in Europe - no where to grow until the opening of the New World - The Americas.

Where is the new frontier? Antartica?

I seem to have drifted into a larger area. Sorry about that.

Doug vV

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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 11:09 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 10266
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
philip.marshall wrote:
As an underemployed PhD myself, I agree 100%. There is no shortage of scientists and engineers in the US, but there is a shortage of people with practical mechanical skills -- and an interest in using and developing them.


As I am to understand it, the current "boom industry" is multilingual supervisors who can act as interpreters between the people who want the work done and the immigrants who are actually willing to get their hands dirty and calloused--construction, farm workers, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:15 pm
Posts: 438
Well considering that over 400 mines in West Virginia have been closed recently, that might just be the cause of the issue. Over 83,000 jobs lost with a snap of a finger


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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:47 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1585
philip.marshall wrote:
Dave wrote:
And thanks to the STEM education promotion, we will be graduating many more scientists and engineers that we have places to fill.


As an underemployed PhD myself, I agree 100%. There is no shortage of scientists and engineers in the US, but there is a shortage of people with practical mechanical skills -- and an interest in using and developing them.

-Philip Marshall

Don't go for a job in the social sciences explaining the phenomena in this thread. I also am an underemployed PhD, my area is political economy. Less than 30% of the university faculty in the US are now full time.


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 Post subject: Re: declining coal traffic
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:18 pm
Posts: 2226
I think there was a theory how the economy was going by looking at the rail traffic. Will this holiday season tweak it a little?


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