Unlike much of Europe, the U.S. has not maintained let alone upgraded its rail system in recent decades. Those in the industry believe we will face a supply chain calamity as a result.
“The nation’s 140,000-mile network of rails devoted to carrying everything from cars to grain by freight is already groaning under the strain of congestion, with trains forced to stand aside for hours because of one-track rail lines. And it’s probably going to get worse, according to an analysis of government and industry projections by the Associated Press and interviews with experts on rail freight. A new U.S. Chamber of Commerce report warns demand for freight trains is expected to double in the next 25 years. The damage to the U.S. economy could climb to billions of dollars. Higher shipping costs would raise prices for everything from lumber to grain. One analyst said the rail crunch could add thousands of dollars to the price of a car.
“It’s not rocket science to see we have a calamity coming down the road,” said Paul Bingham, a transportation analyst at research firm Global Insight.” http://www.columbusdispatch.com/live/content/business/stories/2008/06/11/Rail_Congestion.ART_ART_06-11-08_C8_JKAF5Q4.html?sid=101