NRGeep wrote: ↑Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:20 pm
Global weirding is here to stay
I'll agree on global weirding....
I won't agree that that rail is always the best and only solution consistent with reducing emissions for climate change. There's a weight and distance based tipping point where rail does become more efficient, but on the other side of that point, trucks are still a more efficient method of transport, particularly with low volume and light weight commodities.
Trucks are almost always needed as first and last mile of transport for manufactured items by rail. Bulk non-agricultural commodities are the main exception, where you can usually take them from the point of mining to processor entirely by rail.
For non-bulk going by rail, you have to consider not only the cost of moving from A to B to C to D, but also the cost of handling at the intermediary points, and the cost of packaging. Can railroads easily and safely handle shrink wrapped pallets? Right now, it's not uncommon to be able to take a pallet from a manufacturer to a retail floor for sale (think Costco or Home Depot) with perhaps only one intermediate stop at a regional distribution center owned by either the trucking company or the retailer.
Transloading that same pallet of goods to/from a truck to a warehouse to a boxcar to a warehouse to another truck?
It might survive, but you've changed custody at least twice now, which means having to consider more secure packaging to prevent damage and deter theft... There's an environmental cost to all that extra cardboard, manpower and real estate needed to secure/house goods between hand-offs.