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Drivin' a truck with my high heels on....

I don't understand why so many companies transport goods by truck. Wouldn't it be cheaper to ship freight by train? Especially for long-haul? Why pay a truck driver to pull a load across the country when you could just load a cargo container onto a train? A single train, with just a few engineers, can pull thousands of trucks worth of goods, trucks which would require thousands of drivers, spew tons of pollution into the atmosphere, and take up space on the already conjested highways.

Is it a conspiracy by the oil companies? Is it because America is so car-centric? Has the American rail system deteriorated that badly?


Comments

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mortonfox
Mar. 11th, 2005 05:39 am (UTC)
Flexibility. Trucks are able to deliver goods to more towns and cities, and can bring the goods directly to the warehouses and stores. Trains are still used for bulk shipments of stuff like coal and grains.
nipper
Mar. 11th, 2005 07:22 am (UTC)
Trains don't deliver door to door?

You can of course transfer between trucks at both ends, but there's more time wasted then in marshalling. Long-haul trucks are more direct.
dv_girl
Mar. 11th, 2005 07:28 am (UTC)
It's because the train companies were aligned with the coal industry a century ago They bled their workers dry, they screwed their customers, and they were monopolies, so they got away with it. The workers eventually unionized but the companies just passed the hate on to their customers. What really did trains in though was the interstate highway system. Suddenly the shipping customers had an alternative and better yet, it was non-union. Highways are a major state kickback from the federal governement. Trucking companies don't have to maintain their shipping lanes (Unlike rail, which has no federal funds for interstate travel and is all privately maintained) And, because trucks are small, they can evvade a lot of pollution laws AND because it's billed as being all 'independent', truckers aren't as unionizable as train workers. It's one of those examples where capitalism just really doesn't work out best. Especially when one side is heavily government subsidized and the other is not. Of course, if the government quit subsidizing airlines, trains would also have more income. You're right. It would be much faster and more efficient to do most of your overland shipping by train, or, for that matter, helium-filled carbon-fiberframed solar-powered zepplins. and use trucks only for little hops at the ends where they're needed.

Our government just isn't as forward thinking as ... well... Pretty-much evey other country on the planet.
rummy_raccoon
Mar. 11th, 2005 07:44 am (UTC)
You want to take away Jobs from good american truckers, Are you a Red!? If anyone tried to fix our shipping problems, they'd most likely be labeled anti american for taking away jobs from good truckers "they keep america going"
*giggles* The biggest problem i see with train systems is that i haven't seen many unloading docks for trains. I used to live not to far from one though. I also lived close to the river where barges went back and forth all day. I used to swim out to the tied off barges and jump off the top of them into the river. Was raised a country coon ^^
kaysho
Mar. 12th, 2005 11:30 pm (UTC)
Two reasons, really:

1. Trucks can go door to door to small locations. Trains can only go door to door between locations that are substantial enough to build a siding.

2. Train tracks are constructed and maintained by private companies, who have to build the cost of the tracks into their prices. Trucks run on roads that are constructed and maintained using tax dollars, so the trucking companies essentially get a free ride on their right of way, and most states don't tax trucking companies enough to make up for this.
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