Let’s travel back in time to Ancient Greece in 6th century BC where the history of the rail transportation began. During this time the system was simple but effective. There were paved track ways which transported boats throughout the region. The track way was 6 to 8.5 km long. These paved track ways were used for over 650 years.
Later in 1515, Cardinal Matthaus Lang wrote about a wooden rail with rope which was operated by human or animal power. And as time progressed so did the idea of the rail system, by the 1760s the idea of fixed plates of cast iron to wooden rails had been implemented. And by 1764 in Lewiston, New York, the very first railway was built which launched the rail industry.
The U.S. freight rail network is the most dynamic freight system in the world. The rail industry is a $60 billion industry that consists of 140,000 rail miles. The 140,000-mile system moves more freight than any other freight rail system worldwide. It provides more than 221,000 jobs throughout the country.
Although other options for freight transport have risen throughout the years, the rail industry accounts for over 40% of the U.S. freight and 16% tons of moved freight weight. Almost anything can be shipped by rail. 91% of rail freight consist of bulk commodities such as agriculture, construction materials, etc. The other 9% of commodities consist of consumer goods and other miscellaneous products.
And as more time passes, the more crucial becomes the role of the rail industry for the future. Although population and demographic trends pose an enormous challenge for the U.S. transportation infrastructure, measures are being taken and projects are being developed to expand the transportation infrastructure without diminishing the quality of life.
Written by Iris Arden (Ramon Inc.)