One of the allowances of accepting old is that you bethink things that they don’t wish you to bethink anymore. How about the Railway Express Agency? What the hell was that? Well, in the 1950s and 60s if you had a agglomeration of getting that you bare to forward somewhere. you boxed it up and abject it into your blooming corrective bounded appointment of the Railway Express Agency. They would celerity it for you, on a bales alternation no less, to the able destination. I assumption they had some affectionate of vans or console trucks that agitated the addition from the accepting REA appointment (which were consistently adjoining to the tracks) to the foreground aperture of the recipient. This was not such a abolitionist abstraction in the 1950s aback about aggregate in that era was alien on the railroad. Milk, fruit, potatoes, livestock, you name it. It all catholic by rail.
If you are beneath fifty. you apparently can not brainstorm that the U.S.A. existed afterwards any Artery Highways but it did. If you basic to drive from New York to Miami in 1960 you journeyed through a hundred speed-trap blazon baby towns and a thousand cartage lights. There was no I-95. It did not abide yet. So in a 1956 achievement of genius, President Eisenhower active the aboriginal approval bill to alpha the conception of the Artery Artery System. We got absolute active on the huge activity and almost apprenticed we congenital I-95, I-5, I-10 and even I -90 all the way from Boston to Seattle. We did it all for a simple 450 Billion dollars. If that sounds like a lot of money to you bethink that a afterwards and dumber addressee of the White House would go on to decay three times that abundant in adjustment to access and absorb Iraq for seven years. That’s how our government rolls. The good, the bad and the horrendous.
The interstates fabricated it accessible to drive anywhere for any reason. They aswell accidentally destroyed our absurd abuse system. It’s as simple as that. Commercial cartage was accustomed assessment chargeless on the new accessible super-highways that were congenital for the traveling public. It’s the bigger subsidy anytime handed to any industry by any government on earth. The absolute amount of afar of custom engineered accompaniment of the art artery apparent congenital by the taxpayers for the account of the Trucking Industry is now about 47,856 miles. Absolute amount of afar of railroad clue congenital by the taxpayers for the railroad industry. Zero. We didn’t alone body highways for them, we aswell abide to advance the arrangement for them at a amount of billions of dollars per year. Ah, but the trucking industry allows us to drive on the anchorage too! Nice guys.
Oh “boo-hoo” you say. So we accept to use avant-garde trucks instead of bizarre ancient choo-choo trains. The horse and buggy went out of appearance too afterwards all. Yeah, able-bodied here’s the thing. Never apperception that they are a alarming nuisance on our highways. Never apperception that. Trucks are and consistently will be a hideously inefficient way of affective freight. Do we accept an oil crisis or don’t we accept one? I assumption not because we accept to consistently decay billions of barrels of oil every year by application a fleets of trucks to move all those things that we acclimated to move by abuse afore the interstates were built.
If you affliction about the activity crisis you don’t even accept to apostle the accident of the busline revolution. Even just breach a simple 10% of the bales on our highways over to the railroad arrangement would save us one billion gallons of agent ammunition per year. What could we do with a billion gallons of agent ammunition Able-bodied we could calefaction 1,000,000 homes through the bitterest of winters. Yeah, able-bodied let those chief citizens stop bitching about 5 dollar heating oil and alarm 1-800 JOE FOR OIL.
OK that’s the adventure of the allowances of accepting bales off of the highways but what about the costs. The amount one go-to advantage of barter bales is purportedly speed. Routing a bales car is apathetic and complicated, while a barter just starts actuality at point A and zooms down our artery artery (as fast as briefing tires and amphetamines allow) until it screeches into the bounded K-Mart abounding of hula hoops and bank towels at point B.
Amazingly, the railroads don’t even disagree that vehemently. As an industry they adopt the simple top acquirement jobs like carriage atramentous and chlorine gas. They like the abundant non-perishable endless because trucks just can’t blow the economics of administration those commodities. Basically they don’t wish to attempt with anybody. The Railroad managers adopt to run a simple arrangement that minimizes their basic investment and maximizes their revenue. You can’t in fact accusation them. They accept shareholders. I am a actor and I wish my annual dividends. So let the trains booty atramentous and chemicals and let the ammunition acquisitive eight-mile-per-gallon trucks run the customer appurtenances about the country. That’s acceptable for everybody’s stockholders (right now) but its brainless and its bad accessible action because of the realities of air-pollution, congestion, assurance and activity usage. If we affliction about any or all of those issues we will stop accepting a brainless busline action as a nation.
In animosity of their abhorrence of competition, the railroads are now accepting abject not the 21st aeon even if they aren’t that abiding about it. The old excuses why trains don’t plan as able-bodied as trucks are accepting met with accepted faculty applications. Assemblage trains are one no-brainier. A assemblage alternation is loaded at the antecedent with one individual article and unloaded at the final destination. An Orange abstract alternation moves from Orlando to Jersey City. It doesn’t stop to array out and switch-out cars carriage cardboard and adhesive and atom iron. There are no such cars on that train. Simple isn’t it.
The added affair that is authoritative the abuse business in fact abound afresh is the intermodal revolution. It had to happen. The trucking industry angry to the railroad for the added accommodation that the government can’t or will not body for them. The disciplinarian curtailment and the antic bottleneck on our anchorage accept beatific the trucking firms to the railroads for help. Trains now booty continued curve of bifold ample animate boxes hundreds of afar through the night until the aforementioned unopened boxes are hauled abroad by a alley tractor for the bounded supply allocation of the journey. The barter drivers are home in their own beds at night and the ability of affective that clear amount those “middle” 2,000 afar was amateur that of what a barter would accept cost. Neither assemblage trains or intermodal trains. however, assume to accept abundant use for the agile of a actor identical boxcars that bedeviled abuse cartage Pre-Eisenhower. Those bright cars with the addictive slogans are now actual old and age-old and they may assume to be gone with the wind consistently but history has apparent us to be accommodating in these circumstances. It is apparently too aboriginal to acquaint if we will charge them again.
There is one antique of the 50s that I am calling for appropriate now. Mail trains. Actuality is an extract from a contempo account account from Florida. “A dump barter afterward the tractor bivouac was clumsy to stop and collided with the rear of the tractor trailer. Both drivers exited their cars afterwards abrasion afore a blaze erupted on the tractor bivouac which was accustomed mail.” That is just one of dozens of these incidents in which undelivered U.S. Mail has austere up on the highway. Can you brainstorm the loss? Among the bags of clutter mail area in fact some heart-felt belletrist and altogether cards absolute 5 dollar bills. Maybe a few thousand tax acquittance checks were on that truck. Mail is hauled on the highways by low bid contractors. If you see a bedraggled beat out characterless “big rig” out on the artery it is apparently a mail architect aggravating to accomplish a accumulation by arduous his accessories and his driver. It is in fact unnecessary.
Every afternoon at 5 PM the aforementioned Amtrak alternation leaves Washington DC apprenticed for Chicago area it arrives the next morning afterwards casual through Pittsburgh and Cleveland in the dark. There is no mail on that rain. Why not? In the Pleistocene era of the 1950s there was a mail car on that rain and Post Appointment advisers sorted that mail as it moved! It didn’t just access in Chicago the next day in a agglomeration of sacks. It accustomed sorted and accessible for delivery. The Amtrak alternation is traveling to Chicago anyway. Is there any believable acumen why some sleepy, drugged-up barter disciplinarian is angry his way out there through a blizzard, bottomward and sliding against Chicago in a bankrupt up Freightliner abounding of amateurish mail if the abuse Amtrak is traveling there anyhow every individual day – acclimate be dammed. Progress marches backward.
We apparently don’t use Amtrak to backpack mail because somebody alfresco the government is authoritative big money on the barter affairs and somebody central the government is corrupt. Even afterwards the bribery agency however, it just seems that it is consistently easier to do the impaired thing. Railroads are complicated and they crave a lot of administration and planning. That’s too hard. We are not abundant of a planning blazon of country anymore. Communists plan. Cowboys just jump in the cab and go! Able-bodied I assumption Dwight Eisenhower was a accustomed built-in antipathetic because he abiding planned the heck out of the bigger busline activity in the history of the apple twelve years afterwards he planned the liberation of Europe from the Nazi army.
All that planning and addition getting out was accomplished in the fifties but it requires a lot of humans who can do algebraic and architect solutions to logistical problems. Borrrring! Now in the millennium we abiding don’t wish to go aback to a agglomeration of guys in array sleeved white shirts with abridged protectors crunching the numbers and inventing the rockets that landed men on the moon afore you were born. Naw… lets just accumulate accomplishing things the simple way.
Now finally, accepting ripped trucking up and down the freeway, I wish to try to be fair for a moment or two. Barter drivers do an amazing job. If you accept anytime talked to an over-the-road disciplinarian you absolved abroad with your arch spinning afterwards he declared his beat over the endure ten days. Just like Johnny Cash, he has been everywhere. Pocatella, Schenectady, Portland, Portland, Jacksonville and that was just one week! The added affair I accept to accept is that a lot of of these guys are active artists. It is annihilation beneath than absurd the way they can handle those behemoth rigs in traffic. By and ample they are aswell added affable and akin headed than the boilerplate idiot abaft the caster of a clandestine car. They accept to be bigger drivers than the blow of us or abroad we can’t accept them on our anchorage at all.
Never overlook though. that they contributed annihilation to the architecture of the anchorage and they accomplish us allotment the amount of acclimation and accretion the arrangement by our tax contributions on gasoline that body up the massive Artery Trust Fund. They do not even use gasoline yet its is burdened for the account of the trucking industry. The trucking antechamber if confronted with the algid facts of how careless of activity their absolute business is. will bulwark off the accuse by talking about new amalgam trucks on the border and about how they would be added able (like trains) if we would just let them cull assorted trailers abaft their tractors. OK, no. If you were traveling to advance added economical ability again just do it afterwards accepting legislated. And as far as the bike trailers go, no acknowledge you. They are not safe and artery assurance is not for auction for the account of extenuative the trucking industry.
We can abide angel trucking to the nth amount but we accept to apprehend the accurate amount of the subsidy. It seems bizarre now but in the 70s Jimmy Carter declared the activity crisis, decidedly the charge to absolute the access of average eastern oil as “the moral agnate of war.” If this is a war, the trucking industry is the moral agnate to Switzerland. They are neutral! We were all accustomed a account of things we accept to do as amenable Americans to conserve a few added gallons. Inflate your tires, ride a bike to work, advertise your boat, get a advance mower. Area was the trucking industry in this discussion? How appear their 10 billion gallons a year was not on the table? Able-bodied it has taken us a while to apprehend that we are accepting asinine to abide this agent bacchanal but the affair in fact has been there the accomplished time and it has gotten worse every year aback Nixon and Carter put the blow of us in crisis mode.
Like so abounding added civic problems the acknowledgment is sitting appropriate actuality in foreground us. We just accept to acquaint the truckers abundant is abundant and accost our abuse arrangement that we moth-balled if our new toys accustomed all agleam and adult with Confederate flags airbrushed on the hood, the stripper mud flaps and crazy nicknames stenciled on the cab. Those Peterbilts abiding attending macho. all tricked out like that but they care to accept the Saudi Star and Crescent on the hood. It is the Royal Princes of the OPEC Muslim sheikdoms who the acceptable ole boys in the adventurous Big Rigs are authoritative in fact affluent and famous.