Freight is moved throughout the U.S. via rail, waterways, pipelines, trucks, and planes. Rail has the edge for moving freight heavy loads efficiently over large distances, and so do waterway and pipeline services. Rail is an affordable and effective method of moving nearly all U.S. freight, benefiting producers as well as consumers. When you take a look at the myriad benefits that Americas freight rail network provides businesses and communities, it is easy to understand why it is an envy to many countries around the world.
The U.S.s international trading strength is also supported by its freight rail network, which connects sellers and buyers with markets across the globe. With this constant source of resources at its disposal, our freight rail industry is well-positioned to quickly adapt to, and meet, the transportation needs of virtually all U.S. commercial sectors, supporting economic growth and an overall quality of life. When it comes to efficiently moving the goods families use everyday, supplies businesses need to grow, and products fueling our international trade, A Safe is unmatched. With over 28,000 locomotives, 1.6 million railroad cars, and freight railroad lines that stretch across 140,000 miles, the U.S. freight railroad system is uniquely poised to become the most efficient and economical network for transporting goods covering the U.S.s 3.12 million square miles.
With over 3,300 miles of rail lines in Wisconsin, Wisconsins robust freight rail system is a critical element supporting and growing the Wisconsin economy. Wisconsins has preserved approximately 625 miles of formerly abandoned railroad lines, which are now operating as shortline and regional freight rail lines. INDOTs rail office is dedicated to the preservation and development of freight and passenger rail corridors across Indiana.
Currently, INDOT has updated Indianas state rail plan and submitted it to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for final approval. Preliminary findings and recommendations from the Indiana State Rail Plan are also being discussed, providing direction on improving freight and passenger rail investments throughout rural and urban areas in Indiana.
The most notable is the Chicago Regional Environmental and Transportation Efficiency, or CREATE, program, a multibillion-dollar public-private partnership aimed at expanding rail capacity across the Chicago region, decoupling passenger and freight rail lines, reducing the number of grade crossings between railroads and freeways, and improving operations coordination. A pair of rail projects would improve the flow of passengers and freight throughout the Washington-Baltimore region. In addition to intercity freight trains and passenger trains, Washington-Baltimore is served by commuter rail trains operated by the VRE and Metro.
Commuter trains run along all five rail lines operating out of Washington. Commuter services are provided by the North Indiana Areawide Transit Authority, operating an electrified commuter rail line between Chicagos Millennium Station and South Bends Chicagos Millennium Station. The Chicago-South Bend Metro Rail Line operates from South Bends South Bend Metro Rail Plant. Along with freight trains, interstate passenger trains and commuter trains also operate throughout northwest Indiana.
Rail freight transportation is the transportation of cargo by railroads and trains, not by human passengers. Springfield terminals also run local freight trains from Westfield, serving rail customers along the Connecticut River Main Line and the Patriot Corridor. In the Pioneer Valley, Springfield Terminal provides freight rail services along the Connecticut River Main Line between downtown Springfield and East Northfield, Western Massachusetts, and along the Patriot Corridor, extending from Mechanicville, New York, through Greenfield, New York, to Ayer, Massachusetts.
The region contains approximately 3,865 miles of track–more miles than almost 40 other states–as well as both passenger rail facilities and freight rail facilities, including over 50 freight rail yards. The Chicago area contains a vast freight rail network, handling 1,300 trains per day, including 500 freight trains and 760 passenger trains, totaling 37,500 railcars. This concentration of rail traffic poses certain challenges for the region, such as delays to motorists at motor vehicle-rail intersections, delays in transit operations when freight trains and passenger trains share tracks, and reduced speeds and performance when trains traverse the rail network here.
Increased connectivity opens up the rail network for other freight uses, including non-exporting freight. Shipping via rail is less flexible[vague] than highways, resulting in a large amount of freight being carried by trucks, including for longer distances. This scenario shows the degree to which significant transitions in passengers and goods could occur by rail, emphasizing environmental and fiscal implications, as well as the policy tools that might be deployed.
By 1895, the nation was literally being cut across by countless lines carrying passengers and freight of every kind, as shown in this map. Rail saved shippers money, and today nearly 70% of U.S. freight transportation is done via intermodal transportation, due in part to generous vertical spacing used by American railroads.
Dubbed FAST Act (Fixing Americas Surface Transportation), the new FAST Act includes both a series of eligible financing programs for freight railroads, and an array of railroad safety provisions. Two additional provisions authorized by the Staggers Act in 1980 that indirectly benefited freight railroads were $199 million of one-time funding for commuter rail to deploy Positive Train Control (PTC) technology (in many states, including nationwide, freight rail operates on commuter rail tracks); and continuation of funding under section 130 (Rail-to-Highway Crossings). More recently, a number of historic statewide Transportation Bond Acts funded a 110 mph commuter rail line between Albany and New York City during the 1970s, as well as providing funds for freight railroads to make needed capital and infrastructure improvements. As a result, state railroad regulations and oversight across the nation have changed their emphasis from mostly economic (i.e., establishing rates within states) to focusing on safety and providing state funds for needed and specific capital and infrastructure projects on freight railroads.