Sunday, February 11, 2007
USA and trains FYI
If you think of trains and people getting around on trains you probably think of Europe or Asia or something like that. The USA is that "car centric" land where rail is dead. Not so! The worlds largest manufactuer of locomotives is General Electric, the worlds 2nd largest manufactuer is General Motors. It might also interest you to know how modern locomotives (deisels) work.
They are hypbrds of a sort. The deisel engines do not drive the locomotive. They charge batteries that drive electric motors. Thats right boys and girls Americas railroads led the way in electro-magnetic-deisel engines technology. All the trains you see chugging along the rails are being driven by electrical power.
Railroads are also not bad to work for at least according to the government. The average wage for a railroad worker, in a Class I railroad like the Untion Pacific, in 2005 was $67,000, including total benefits it was $92,000. The a number of empolyees for a typical class I railroad was 162,000. Class I railroads operate 475,000 frieght cars nationwide. Revenue for US Class 1 railroads increased from 35.4 billion in 2003 to 44.5 billion in 2005. Furthermore net income (the real bucks) rose freom 2.7 billion in 2003 to 4.9 billion in 2005.
So what do railways haul? Well 42% of all freight in the US is coal (804 million tons of it) accounting for almost 10 billion in revenue. The rest is about equal amounts of everything else for a total of 1.9 trillion tons generating 47 billion bucks in revenue in 2005.
How much rail is there in the ol USA? Well as of 2005 there was 171,000 miles of it. The real wierd bit is the following: Accoding to the most current statistics US rail usage has increased from 575 billion ton-miles in 1960 to 1.7 trillion ton-miles in 2005. In other words the rumors of US rails death have been greatly exagerated.
The main death that occured is in passenger service. Freeways killed the US passenger train system. However freightlines are thriving and have continued to thrive with the exception of the years between 1920 and 1940 when freight actaully declined.