The Fate of Train Transportation in the U.S.

The Fate of Train Transportation in the U.S.

Introduction

Trains are vital for infrastructure, as they are used to transfer goods economically and efficiently. They’re as useful as a jigsaw is to the woodworker (check their guide found here). But the future of train depends on the availability as well as the cost of oil. The government also has a say. Like for instance, the high passenger rail traffic of Europe was made possible because of an earlier circumstance and the gasoline’s price. It has further improved with the progress of high-speed trains and customized passenger railway lines.

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Advancement of Train Transportation in the U.S.

However, in the U.S., passenger rail traffic hasn’t advanced that much yet because of the following reasons:

  • The U.S. doesn’t have a passenger rail network which is separate from the freight railroad system, which means only some areas in the country can access railroads.
  • Most trains are slow and make lots of stops. For instance, a train journey from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. could take around five hours, which is the similar amount of time it takes to drive between the two cities. That’s because the train makes a number of stops before it arrives at its destination.
  • The price of oil hasn’t been inexpensive until recently, making automobiles and airlines better options for transportation for lots of Americans.

On the bright side, as the prices of oil increase, people in the U.S. will seek a better way to travel a long distance, and trains are perfect for that.

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However, controlling the passenger traffic in U.S. railroads would be a difficult task. Most travelers prefer high-speed trains like those in Japan and Europe, but such trains are too costly to maintain, much more to build. These trains also operate best on customized passenger railways. In addition, railroads should reach more destinations now when compared before. Therefore, making trains the primary form of passenger transportation will need the expansion of investments and development of railway systems. Both the government and the private companies can help in the improvement of the said systems, but we can’t conclude that it will happen. In fact, it might not be even possible unless the demand of the public for passenger rail transportation becomes high.

New technologies

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A maglev train in Shanghai

Magnetic levitation or maglev trains define speed nowadays. These trains don’t include wheels. Instead, they travel on superconducting magnetic rails. Of course, they’d be costlier to build and maintain. But who knows? Perhaps an investor would like to fund maglev trains in the belief that once these trains are introduced, more passengers would use trains more, making his or her investment worth it.

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