Although you probably don’t think much about how things you use every day, America’s railroads do.
It’s their job to keep up with the rising global demand for goods, delivering them safely, on time and affordably. Did you know the industry also delivers improvements for your everyday life?
1. Extreme MPG
One train can move one ton 479 miles on one gallon of fuel. Mileage like that cuts harmful greenhouse gas emissions, letting us all breathe a little easier. In fact, moving freight by rail instead of truck lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 75%.
2. Energy Savings
By efficiently delivering the energy sources that power America, such as coal, natural gas and crude oil, freight rail helps keep prices low so we can heat our homes, power our electronics and drive our cars. In fact, railroads haul nearly 70% of U.S. coal to its destination — enough to power 78% of American homes.
3. Delivering Jobs
In 2017, freight railroads employed roughly 170,000 people — 82% of which are unionized — earning $125,400 per year on average in total compensation. Through collective bargaining, the industry works with labor to forge healthcare, retirement and compensation packages ranked in the top 5% of U.S. industries.
4. Fast Foods
Special refrigerated cold cars, whose meticulously calibrated temperatures are dictated by the delicate produce they haul, deliver the nation’s food to our tables. Fine wines made from Oregon grapes, crisp apples from New York orchards, Wisconsin’s famous cheddar cheese and Coho salmon from the chilly waters of Washington State — rail moves all of them swiftly to us, fresh and affordable. In 2017, U.S. Class I railroads moved 1.6 million carloads of farm products alone.
5. Saving Your Cash
Think the federal government underwrites improvements to railroads? Think again. Railroads are responsible for building and maintaining their own equipment and nationwide infrastructure, so their annual private reinvestments cost the American taxpayer nothing. In fact, railroads have invested record amounts in the last five years, spending more than $660 billion between 1980 and 2017.