Railway Preservation News

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Author:  james37920 [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:28 am ]
Post subject:  Access

Access to the the rail network seems to me to be the worst curse we as a nation have ,the damage done to railroad preservation is insignificant compared to the damage to the economy that the railroads single minded business plan based on unit trains is doing.Richard Branson can start a passenger train company in England [Virgin Train]. In Mexico they load R.V.s on flat cars for tourist.Try that here in the U.S.Why is there no leadership to open access to the U.S. rail network? What needs to happen, is we, [the pro Railroad community] need to close ranks, stop arguing, an have a lawyer write a really good open access law that we as a group can lobby for.There is no reason that if the railroads have track that is not being used they should rent time on that track to anyone with good rolling stock.It would be good for the nation an the shareholders of the railroads. We have now the most pro railroad President an Vice President in my lifetime,Why don't we have a bill to shove in their faces?

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Access

Because it would involve the transfer of over 100,000 miles of right of way from private ownership to public ownership. The only way to rationally carry out such an "open access" plan is public administration of the rail network.

You are hardly the first to propose such a plan. An article in the March 1967 Trains laid out a case for such a proposal in a pseudonymously written article. And, indeed, the European Community mandated such "denationalization" of the state-run rail networks to private franchises run over a nationally-administrated network.

Consider the political and financial ramifications of the Federal government having to take over our national rail network, and having to compensate the rail companies that currently own them.

I'm also not sure such a far-reaching thought experiment belongs in this discussion forum.....

Author:  Farmer [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Access

Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:

Consider the political and financial ramifications of the Federal government having to take over our national rail network, and having to compensate the rail companies that currently own them.


Yep, That would be the thing To do................
Seeing how every thing they touch (The Feds) turns right to S#%@

Author:  Pegasuspinto [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Access

I think it would be OK-the roads, waterways, and airways are under federal control and generally, they do quite well. Of course not perfect, but neither is the rails under private ownership.

I think we made a huge mistake allowing so much rails to be taken up-so many cities had rail and now have none, that rail service aint coming back anytime soon. with rails going so few places (think-even towns that have rails now usually have no switches left, they simply go through) how can rial be a viable option for commerce?

If I recall right, the most critical decision in if rail would be private was made in the early 1800's when there was only a few miles of track-it was decided to let track be private, and its never changed since.

It would make preservation operation easier-prove youre people are competent and your equipment is safe, and off you go.

I think to be practical, most all areas would have to be double track, and there would have to be control, like there is now. Everyone would have to be trained on access and useage, etc.

But this cat is out of the bag....maybe if several large roads bankrupted all at once the gov might take them over, but I aint holding my breath..

Author:  robertmacdowell [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Access

That's funny, this other conversation is highly apropos...

Author:  Dave [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Access

OK, history and regulation need to be understood before offering any opinion - especially those dealing with absolutes and idealogy.

Most railroads were public / private partnerships from the beginning - public provision of land grants and public charters combined with private provision of capital and management. The State of Georgia actually surveyed the entire state in the 1830s for either railroad or canal infrastructure as part of their plan for populating the frontier and encouraging economic development......and reached the conclusion that the only rail route that would require subsidy was the W&A because of the difficult mountainous terrain. So the state built that and simply supported the private sector in building the other old trunk routes. This might have been the last progressive thing that Georgia did......but it worked and was not dissimilar to the pattern of ailway development in other states at the time.

The transcontinental lines built between 1965 and 1900 were made possible by publicly furnished lineside land grants which the private railway developers could resell to landless immigrants in other countries along with cheap transportation from the Old Country to the new world to populate the Western and Northwestern frontiers and build a national economy. My wife's ancestors came to North Dakota from Norway because land agents from the Northern Pacific Railway provided affordable access to opportunity for them that wasn't available in Norway at the time.

The Grange and other responses to predatory railroad economics was responsible for a lot of legislation that regulated freight tarriffs, and labor for collective bargaining regulations, as another example of the private sector making use of the public sector. The other side of the private sector has been more recentlly responsible for using the public sector to remove many of those regulatons.

The concept of pure private or pure public simply doesn't enter in to the conversation at all. It has always been an amalgamation of both. It always will be. Don't look for villains and heroes here.


Author:  robertmacdowell [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Access

And the unit train issue is solely based on track capacity. From a dispatching perspective, the railroads are "full up", there isn't room for any more trains. Local freights take a LOT of track space/time in terms of dispatching, because they "move" so very slowly.

Over the past 50 years they've increased track capacity by more efficient dispatching, but that is "maxed out" and they can't get any more gains that way. That is why rails are going back down.

Unfortunately FRA changed the rules to where NEW double-track railroad must have 30 foot spacing between them. That means it is not possible to simply put rails and ties back down on the old grade and bridges. (which are now a maintenance road). Restoring double track is a monumental undertaking.

The railroads have talked at length about the capital investment they need simply to keep up with growing freight traffic, that's not making anything better even ... the capital needs are so great that they can't do it without government help.

So you blame some sick cruelty in the minds at Jacksonville and Omaha for why steam trains can't get out there and do their thing... it's simply a case of the freight railroads being victims of their own success. You realize that ton-miles are way, way, way up, and continue to climb... more people, more stuff...

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