America’s Rail System: Modern Workhose or Beast of the Past


Dave Crammer will be presenting a program focused on America’s Railroad System. In a recent Railways High-Speed Railroading article America’s freight railways are cited as “one of the unsung transport successes of the past 30 years.” America’s railways are universally recognized in the industry as the best in the world. Our rail freight is among the cheapest in the world, costing less than half as much as in Japan or Europe. After adjusting for differences in purchasing power it is cheaper even than in China.

The past fifteen years have seen another source of needed growth as interstate highways have become clogged with traffic. Since freight trains can carry so much more, railways are helping to limit the rise in road congestion. Trucking companies such as J.B. Hunt have come to see the advantage of putting trailers on flat wagons for long-haul and using roads only for local pickup and delivery. This has resulted in saved lives and fewer injuries involving or caused by trucking on the road.

In 2009 a $34 billion purchase by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), one of the seven main freight railways, opened many Americans’ eyes to the industry’s significance. That America’s shrewdest investor should place his biggest bet on BNSF focused attention on how the country’s railways have been quietly boosting the economy. Even Warren Buffett is forward thinking.

The June 6th meeting and program will begin at 7PM at the Maturango Museum. The doors will open at 6:45PM. The meeting is open to anyone and there is no charge for admission, however donations are accepted to help defray the museum use cost. For more information about this program or the China Lake Photographic Society please contact either Helen Jackson at 760-375-7775 or Francois Clement at 760-301-6828.