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About Travel & Transportation
One of the most overlooked assets your local community has are your local railroads. Transporting people and goods across the country is efficient and far better for the environment than automobiles and tractor-trailers, because much larger quantities of freight can be moved with one locomotive. Compared to trucking, local railroads are over three times more efficient for hauling freight. On average, trains have an efficiency of 400 ton-miles per gallon compared to trucks efficiency at around 130 ton-miles per gallon. Many local railroads and train depots have historical information about how their area was settled and the role that local railroads played in the areas early development. The National Railroad Museum in Pennsylvania celebrates the history and triumphs of local railroads in the United States of America through preservation and interpretation of this important aspect of early industrial American life. Local railroads exploded in popularity in the mid-nineteenth century, and paralleled the growth of the American West. What began as many small local railroads quickly combined into large conglomerates and national corporations. President Abraham Lincoln himself set the transcontinental railroad in motion and brought the power of local railroads to life. Small railways themselves also merged, and there are now two major transcontinental railways: Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.
More on Railroads
While large, national (Class I) railroads do not handle small loads because of their immense size, smaller local railroads excel at tasks like these. Regional (Class II) and short line (Class III) railroads, similar to state and local roads, are incredibly important for local development. These small, local railroads transport freight in the region, and also provide connections to larger, Class I tracks around the country. Local railroads can often provide the only freight rail service available to many rural areas across the nation. Short line local railroads, the smallest of three revenue-based classifications of railroads, are vital for small businesses. Some businesses regularly operate on tracks as small as 20 miles long between two plants or locations. There are over 500 short line local railroads in operation today in the United States. Local railroads like these allow small businesses especially those in the important but fading fields of manufacturing, mining, assembly, and production - to transport their goods without the inconvenience of continental railroads. Local light rail or trams are increasing in popularity and number. Bringing local railroads into the commuter market can reduce emissions and frustration for many citizens. Additionally, the advent of light rail in many depressed urban areas often results in renewed economic development along the local railroads. Efficient mass transit is crucial for a thriving city and your local railroads can be a strong part of this outcome. Local railroads bring new jobs, private business investments, and a renewed sense of purpose to their communities. Transportation is an important part of our daily life, and one of the best methods of transportation are local railroads. Visit your local railroads today to better appreciate all that they do for you!