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Sunday Train: Economic Independence will Help Pay For Itself

by BruceMcF Sun Mar 14th, 2010 at 11:50:02 PM EST

You'd think there was no European content in this, but individual programs that can allow the US to cut its oil imports by 10% or more are programs with potential global impacts.

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

Last week I presented a draft of a national Steel Interstate plan. The focus was on the Institutional Framework required to be able to build it, including the source for the interest subsidy to finance its up front capital cost.

Possibly lost in the wall of words was an important point, which was focused on by some commentary: the users are paying the capital construction cost. As a country, we need it, so as a country, it makes sense to find a way to jumpstart it and have it available for the oil prices shocks that are coming in this next two decades.

... but once it starts getting used, that's what will cover the original construction cost. One way we can tell we are heading toward Economic Freedom is that it helps pay for itself.


I'll be talking about "STRACNET" below, the Department of Defense STrategic RAil Corridor NETwork, which is the system they developed for protecting their logistical needs in the half century that railroads were shedding track and corridors. The map is to the right. For those playing the home game, draw your own Steel Interstate system by selecting corridors from the red lines in this map.

Parasite Capitalism versus Economic Independence
Indeed, the focus of the Institutional Framework is ensuring that User Fees and Access Fees will refund the original capital cost, while at the same time ensuring that we do not have to dilly dally and delay on getting the process started.

So, yes, its a public investment in Economic Independence. But its a public investment, and part of the return actually is financial return. The Economic Independence helps to pay for itself. In that sense, it is closer to a Tollway than to the Free Rider type of Interstate.

What I want to argue, however, is that this is not unusual.

Parasite Capitalism and Oil Addiction

Certainly much of the "Great U-Turn" political economy that was established starting in the 1970's built upon the existing institutions of the Great American Middle Class economy that preceded it. However, it was very selective in the institutions it focused on: it focused on the art of taking the free ride.

Of course, there is no such thing as a genuinely free ride - what "free ride" means is simply that one party receives the benefit and a second party bears the cost. And the single word that encapsulates that relationship is "parasite". So we can call the economy of the 1970's to the present day, "Parasite Capitalism".

For instance, consider the Housing Bubble economy. This was just the most extreme elaboration of the standard sprawl property development system. And what is the standard sprawl property development system?

  • Get the right to "develop" an undeveloped greenfield site
  • Get someone to subsidize some road infrastructure
  • Get someone to subsidize utility support infrastructure
  • Get permission to do the development
  • Build it and sell it
  • Reap the reward of all your individualistic hard work

And the Highways based transport that the sprawl development relies upon itself relies on the art of the successful parasite. All highway users benefit from gas taxes paid by people driving on city streets that do not qualify for highway funding. The Federal Gas Tax helps people believe the myth that they are "paying" for the road and that its "their" road, when various state and local taxes cover the cost of the roads that generate the traffic on "non-highway" streets that generates the cross-subsidy to Interstate, US, State, County and Township Highways.

Note the last ... its not just Interstates. Lots of little country roads are subsidized by urban motorists.

With urban drivers as the parasite hosts and suburban drivers as the parasites, of course, growing numbers over time have moved to the suburbs, to get from the cost side to the benefit side. Which is great for short term windfall gains for property "developers", because that props up demand in the suburban areas where they have a well entrenched parasite capitalism system in place.

But its not long-term sustainable. Eventually, as the number of hosts dwindles and the number of parasites increases, the benefit available per parasite starts to drop. So it becomes harder and harder to meet all the demands on the highway trust fund with the proceeds of the gas tax that funds it. Add on top the decision to not index the tax rate for inflation ... which could be seen as a short-sighted measure to offset the ongoing increases in the real price of crude oil ... and there is less and less free riding opportunity.

What Did You Call Me?!!

To avoid confusion, I must stress that this is not a moral argument. One of the big shell games of the Great U-Turn is to moralize arguments, so that public consideration of problems does not involve looking at problems and looking for solutions, but instead involves looking at problems and looking for scapegoats.

This is the way the system is built. Its not the product of unconstrained individual personal choice. Looking to place individual blame in each individual suburban resident is like looking for the square of the checkerboard gives it the checkerboard pattern.

We definitely have to rebuild the system, but good people for many years have been fighting the fact that the system is built this way, and its just a hard fight, with no guarantees of victory.

Economic Independence is a big part of advancing from Parasite Capitalism to a system that is sustainable, and Energy Independence is a critical part of that.

Tailoring the Steel Interstates

This is the target of the Steel Interstate system: the long haul truck freight loads. That's where there is massive energy waste to be mined, since a long haul diesel semi truck requires over 10 times the energy to haul a ton of freight as Rapid Electric Rail Freight.

And the users are going to be paying its up-front capital costs, that's the financial value that the private railroads are going to be chasing in order to provide the payments. They are a bunch of corporations, after all, and like any other psychopathic corporation, they will provide precisely as much public benefit as the chase of dollars leads them to do.

Lots of points jump out that demand changes in the map that I drew last week:

  • First, the most important southwesterly line of freight in the Eastern US is the Shenandoah Valley extending into the Tennessee Valley, running inland of the population concentrations on the eastern seaboard
  • Second, there are important southern seaboard ports, and the line I draw, taken directly from the Southeastern HSR corridor plan, does not provide direct access for most of them.
  • Third, the first Stage ought to have lots of length to it, because until the network starts building up, its the longer runs that will be most vulnerable to competition from Steel Interstate rail ... and the more business the Steel Interstate rail wins, the more quickly they pay the capital cost of the line

I also thought that it makes more sense to start up all the four lines on a project development and planning basis, and the launch each with an increment of the interest subsidy funding from the imported oil tariff. So that is four stages rather than five, with all four Development Banks receiving $0.0025 from the initial penny per gallon, and then the four stages each hitting high gear as they get their additional penny in each following year.

So this is what I've done. I've started in Boston at the extreme Northeastern edge of the STRACNET system, come down to New York via Albany (the NEC is awfully crowded, after all, and this is for long haul freight), then to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to enter the broad central valley of the Appalachian mountains. Follow that down to Chatanooga, then to Nashville and Memphis to run through to Dallas, then down to El Paso and run via Tuscon and Phoenix to Southern California, then up the Central Valley to northern California.

I call this the "Liberty Line", as a major step toward Economic Freedom.

This corridor is first in part because it makes plenty of sense to do it even if roll-out stalls with the first line due to political fighting the main Parasite Capitalists threatened, including those US Oil Companies with substantial overseas oil production interests and hence a strong financial interest in our Economic Addiction to Oil Imports.

Looking at the freight map, there are massive truck freight loads that run entirely north of the Liberty Line, as well as a substantial amount of the traffic that runs on part of the Liberty Line that comes in from further north. So next comes a North/South corridor that I call the "Heartland" Line.

The Heartland Line runs up from Miami to Nashville via Atlanta, then up to Chicago by the most direct STRACNET route, then up to Minneapolis, and finally grabbing land port business by running up to terminate at Winnipeg in Canada.

The second leg of the Heartland Line starts in New Orleans, Louisiana, running up to Nashville and then to Cincinnati via Louisville, Columbus, Cleveland, Buffalo, and then Toronto.

With the Heartland Line development in progress, now is time to launch the National Line stage, which in the first draft was presented as Stage 1. There is a major adjustment here, since looking at the truck freight flows suggests that it is better to access the Pacific Northwest via southern Idaho, and so the National Line is now drawn to fork west of Cheyenne, with the north fork going to Portland, Oregon, and the south fork going to Sacramento to cross the Liberty Line and the Port of Oakland.

The National Line begins at the port of Wilmington, Deleware, which is the most convenient port to Liberty Line junction at Harrisburg. The line crosses to the railhead of Pittsburgh, then follows the National Line through Wheeling and to Columbus, where it a junction with one leg of the Heartland Line. From there I've drawn it as taking the existing STRACNET corridor past Dayton, until it hits the Stracnet Corridor through Indianapolis, and then through the Terre Haute where it has the junction with the other leg of the Heartland Line.

From there the line continues through St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, up to Cheyenne to run around the Colorado Rockies toward the strongest east/west freight market north of the southern tier of states. From there, as described, it forks, heading up through southern Idaho to connect to the Pacific Northwest, and through Salt Lake City toward Sacramento and then the main Northern California Pacific port of Oakland.

Now I have two main tasks to complete. First, I have a number of southeastern coastal ports that are not on the system and are too important to omit from the system. And second, if there is not going to be a Line running along the biggest of the east/west truck traffic flows west of the Mississippi, on Interstate 40, then there has to be crossing lines that can capture that freight. The Liberty Line can capture western Interstate 40 traffic to or from the Northeast, but there is nothing to intercept freight to or from the southeast.

So the Gulf and Atlantic line runs along the Southeastern Atlantic Coast to junction with the Heartland Line at Jacksonville, then to Mobile, New Orleans, Houston, and connecting to the Liberty Line at El Paso. It has a second leg from Houston that runs to Dallas, crosses I-40 at Amarillo, and continues up to junction with the National Line at Denver.

Which completes the system. It may look like a tangle, but in the Institutional framework, there are four organizations which have the goal in front of them to finish their corridor. And note that as a form of Regional Development Bank, they will not be exercising the Federal government's powers of eminent domain, so they have to focus on hammering out the way of meeting their charter that is sufficiently appealing to the freight railroads to be able to build their line.

And now the headliners: Dreamworld / Midnight Oil


... is at least buy peace a lottery ticket.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Mar 14th, 2010 at 11:59:43 PM EST
Great diary, Bruce. But, to nitpick, I-40 doesn't get near Lubbock. I have driven it through Oklahoma to California many times, Okie that I am. I think you mean Amarillo. I have had meals there many times on the way.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 04:04:30 PM EST
BTW Did you know that I am an honorary citizen of Oklahoma?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 04:24:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. I left in August of '63 and didn't return until the fall of '90. What was the occasion?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 05:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did Governor George Nigh a favour in the 80s ;-)

Strangely enough I thought of him last night while watching the 'extras' of the 'Charlie Wilson's War' DVD. The real and much older Charlie Wilson was on set and there were a lot of things in his manner that reminded me of the Gov.

For the record, the Gov also gave me two 65 cm diameter stickers imprinted with the Great Seal of Oklahoma. I've never had a car that I'd dare put them on. Rather more successful were the giant stickers I took there on behalf of my client - a Finnish jeans company called Beaver's. I got a morning's work out of two quarter-horse riders in the commercial I was directing, in return for one of the stickers. I believe the two gentlemen later left in their newly decorated pickup for what they expected to be a fun evening. ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 05:54:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah yes, the old Okie collegate sport of "shooting bevers" at the library.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 07:42:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Damn if my corridor don't go nowhere near Lubbock neither. Going to have to edit that in the other editions of the diary.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 05:42:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The old Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe alignment genreally parallels I-40, at least through parts of New Mexico, Arizona and California and is a major carrier of container freight from the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach. I believe Chicago is the end of the line. At one time you might have been able to get some rivalry going between the Union Pacific, Bulrlington Northern and the Santa Fe, but now you just have the UP and Warren Buffet's Railroad. But both Warren and UP are in Omaha, though BNSF HQ are in Fort Worth. Still some rivalry remains.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 08:07:31 PM EST
For the starter network, the corridor could go through either El Paso and Phoenix or Albuquerque and Flagstaff. With the focus on the 1,000mile and up traffic, its one or the other, but if the electrification of STRACNET continues, it'll end up being both.

Obviously whichever alignment you are on, the other alignment is available to rail freight ... there is, after all, a rail corridor between Flagstaff and Phoenix and between Albuquerque and El Paso, so there are multiple ways to leave one of those two to get onto the other one.

The issue is whichever one you are on, you need to cross over the other one, to allow a multi-model terminal for freight to get off the truck and hit the tracks. I think its workable this way, but wouldn't kick if people wanted it the other way.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Mar 15th, 2010 at 09:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why not connect that norcal line to the oakland line?  If I'm understanding correctly, the top end is Reading, and hence there is the flatness of the central valley going south.
by njh on Tue Mar 16th, 2010 at 03:31:57 AM EST
It is connected, at Sacramento, at Stockton, and at Merced ... remember that this is not an Express HSR system, and rolling stock that complies with both Heavy Rail and Rapid Rail regulations can run from one to the other.

But for the starter Steel Interstate system, for 1,000mile+ freight, why would you spend the extra money to get down from the Central Valley into the Bay more than once?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 16th, 2010 at 02:52:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From a comment on the archdruidreport:

As far as electrifying the rails, they are by far our most efficient use of fossil fuels for land transportation and I would think they deserve to be the ones who get first claim on these fuels as the supplies dwindle (don't bother fantasizing that we're going to stop burning them one minute before economic realities make it impractical).

So perhaps electrifying the rail network isn't a good idea after all?

by njh on Tue Mar 16th, 2010 at 04:19:33 AM EST
archdruidreport is assuming that the primary point of the electrification of rail lines is to allow existing rail freight to move with electric traction.

Given a false premise, the conclusion is invalid and whether it is a sound conclusion from the premise is really beside the point.

So start from archdruidreport's conclusion. We preserve fossil fuels for current rail freight.

Now, we may be able to dispense with much of the freight that was moving on the road, but we still need to move some of it. What is the only way under current technology to shift the long haul truck freight to non fossil fuel? To do so with long distance electric rail and generate that electricity without using fossil fuel.

This project accomplishes both of those objectives.

So rather than archdruidreport's conclusion attacking the Steel Interstate project, the conclusion supports it.

Bear in mind that electrifying the 30,000+ miles of STRACNET is only 20% or so of US rail corridor miles. Electrifying the 15,000+ miles proposed here is only 10% or so of US rail corridor miles.

So taking this proposal as formally equivalent to electrifying all rail ... which archdruidreport's argument tacitly does ... is a category mistake. This proposal is more precisely, "establish a national rapid electric rail system to act as a substitute for a substantial share of existing diesel semi truck freight".

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Mar 16th, 2010 at 03:02:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't follow your argument though, we have a continuous knapsack problem.  We want to optimise total cost (fossil fuel usage) by investing in X or Y.  X has a lower cost than Y, so we should invest in Y. (really we need to know the dX/dcost vs dY/dcost and pick the greater)

Please note, it was someone else commenting on on his blog:

by njh on Wed Mar 17th, 2010 at 06:46:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So we should invest in Y. Y is diesel truck freight. We should invest in reducing the energy consumption of diesel truck freight.

The most cost-effective investment in reducing the energy consumption of diesel truck freight with at the same time the largest total reduction in diesel consumption is providing a Rapid Electric Freight Rail system that can capture a large share of existing long haul truck freight.

IOW, the argument, "X is more efficient, so we should invest in cutting use by Y", leads to the conclusion, "invest in electrification of rail and establishment of rapid freight rail, which cuts use by Y".

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Mar 17th, 2010 at 11:22:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say that we should convert diesel truck freight to diesel rail freight, if that gets us the most bang for buck.

(I was pleased to discover today that they are actually triplicating 'my rail line' at the moment after looking up what all the heavy machinery was doing I saw on the train home today.  This means the possibility of electrifying freight to eastern Vic, but only if they switch from the 1910 era 1500DC to a modern 25kVAC.  I'm pleased anyway that they are actually spending useful amounts of money, and getting rewarded - regional rail has doubled ridership in the last 2 years, and is limited by available seating rather than demand!)

by njh on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 12:18:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The conversion of truck freight to any rail freight is the largest volume of energy saved ... the very large percentage gain from diesel rail to electric rail is a bit deceptive, since its a percentage gain after a very large percentage gain has been made.

But its about more than the engineering, its about making the change happen as quickly as possible without having to wait for crisis conditions to hit. Under current economic conditions and current diesel prices in the US, if rapid electric freight rail corridors were being established on the terms above, they would quickly capture a quite substantial share of existing truck freight, and of course the addition of electric supply to the parallel existing heavy freight lines would directly increase their capacity.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 11:45:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't switzerland a counter example, with almost all lines electrified, yet no significantly different level of freight than say germany, with a low electrification level?
by njh on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 11:52:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll note that Switzerland is in the Alps.

More critically, unlike the US, in Switzerland, when freight is overtaken by passenger rail, the freight not only is supposed to but also can and does shunt aside to let the passenger rail through, and since the electrification is to permit ruling grades as steep as 2.6% (~1:40), freight is normally slower than passenger rail.

Hence the base tunnels ... to get longer freight trains moving at a speed to allow it to make more progress before shunting aside to allow passenger trains to overtake, the base tunnels allow the ruling grade to be brought down to 1.2% (~1:80) overland and 0.7% (~1:140) in the tunnels themselves.

The US already has the mainlines that allow longer freight trains to move at their own pace without constantly shunting aside to let passenger trains through. Electrifying those corridors will reduce their operating costs and also upgrade their capacity, given the higher power/weight ratio of electric versus diesel electric traction.

That upgrade in capacity will allow rail operators to chase business that is at present marginal.

And at the same time and more critically in terms of total impact on the status of the US as a dependent economy, the US mainlines tend to be 1% grades (1:100), and even lines crossing the Rockies can be routed so that the majority of the long haul route is at that grade. A combination of 100mph paths on the flatter terrain that include superelevation (banking) to allow curves to be taken at 90mph~100mph without excessive wear, and 40mph~50mph paths with 2.5% grades to cut out extended switchbacks in the rough terrain offers a substantially faster path for freight ... and at the same time the existing heavy freight paths with their existing capacity support faster conventional freight with lower operating costs.

Its not a conversion of existing capacity, but an upgrade of existing capacity and addition of new capacity.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 12:16:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, we have reached the point where I have no further cards to play :)  It would be nice to have an example where electrification and speed upgrades alone changed the mode share.  The best we can do perhaps is high speed passenger transport, but surely the factors that affect that split are completely different (people care about time in a way that consumer goods don't).  Or maybe DoDo has a real world example?
by njh on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 07:42:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Its quality of service and cost of service that changes mode share. The Steel Interstate proposal is not based on a generic benefit of electrification and speed upgrades but on specific qualities of service that become possible with rail freight in competing for long haul diesel semi truck freight transport as a result of electrification and establishment of express freight rail paths.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 09:52:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I do think that electrification and speed upgrades alone are insufficient, and making policy choices (f.e. highway toll for trucks as in Germany, or transalpine limitations as in Switzerland, or subsidies for local railfreight as in both Switzerland and Austria) counts. Also, in the Alpine context, with electrification done long ago, the effect is not a change in modal share but maintaining a higher share.

However, based on the development of the port traffic, electrification and speed upgrades appear to be the way to go: Rotterdam's port traffic is migrating to electric traction with the final bits of electrification on the Betuweroute going on-line end of last year, and the same happened a few months earlier on Antwerp's port traffic, with the electrification of the Montzen route (to Aachen/Germany) finished in early 2009. But how that affects the modal split, we'll see only in the coming years.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 19th, 2010 at 04:34:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I found 2008 numbers (first full year with Betuweroute operational):

Rail Tops 1 Million TEUs at Rotterdam | Journal of Commerce

Rail traffic grew 11.6 percent in 2008 to 1.01 million TEUs from 950,000 TEUs in the previous year even as overall container volume stagnated at 10.8 million TEUs, the port authority said.

Trucking slipped 5.7 percent to 4.48 million TEUs while inland shipping declined 4.4 percent to 2.34 million TEUs.

Rail's share of box traffic to and from Rotterdam gained two percent to 13 percent while road transport lost two percent to 57 percent and barging was stable at 30 percent.

In contrast, for Hamburg's port, which has electric connection for long, 70% of the containers transported on to the European hinterland are carried by rail in 2003 (slides 8, 11); much more in absolute numbers than in Rotterdam:

Hamburg Box Traffic Plunged 27.8 Percent | Journal of Commerce

Total container volume at the port of Hamburg in the first nine months of the year fell 27.8 percent from a year ago to 5.3 million 20-foot equivalent units, driving the port into third place among Europe's container ports, after Rotterdam and now Antwerp.

...Antwerp moved into second place, handling 5.4 million TEUs in the first nine months, down 18.4 percent from the corresponding period in 2008.

Rotterdam consolidated its top ranking with a more modest 13 percent decline to 7.2 million TEUs in the first three quarters of 2009.

...Inland rail container traffic fell 19 percent in the first nine months to 1.2 million TEUs in the first nine months but this did not result in a reduction in the number of services, the port said.

(Note: the 5.3 million TEU overall container traffic includes ship-dominated transit, road-dominated local delivery, and on-site unloading.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Mar 19th, 2010 at 04:54:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm? In transalpine freight traffic, even in crisis year 2007, rail had a modal share of 61%; in domestic traffic, it was 40% in 2008 -- both numbers waaay above that in Germany.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 03:34:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, I was merely recalling numbers I'd heard.  But it is quite possible those numbers were un'Reason'able.
by njh on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 07:39:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They'd be handy ... Alan Drake is arguing the unpossibility of effective rail freight transport through even the mildest of mountain valley bottom terrain in the Appalachian mountains, and using the Swiss case to argue that nothing but base tunnels can make it possible to provide more rapid freight rail paths along existing mainline alignments in the western US.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 09:55:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I took the figures from articles after a quick search, which I shouldn't have trusted that much, but here are primary sources from the Swiss statistical institute (in German):

  • modal split time series (Excel) until 2008, in the total Swiss freight traffic (not just domestic).

  • Transalpine traffic until 2008 (all crossings shown, not just Switzerland; "Schiene" = rail, "Strasse" = road; countries on the diagram below: France-Switzerland-Austria)

  • Transalpine traffic in 2009 (pdf) in the preliminary release of the Swiss transport ministry in German; you'll find the 60.6% figure for rail in the before-last paragraph (or you can calculate it based on the second table on page 2, fields "Strasse CH" and "Schiene CH").

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 19th, 2010 at 04:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But doesn't Switzerland have very high tolls for trucks on the roads? In other words, one can't conclude immediately that any of this percentage is due to electrification.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Mar 19th, 2010 at 04:40:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, see new comments upthread.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 19th, 2010 at 04:55:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... I was having a very hard time finding anything at that blog talking about rail electrification.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Mar 18th, 2010 at 01:53:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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