Consider the numbers. According to [Michael Coates], each year between 30,000 and 35,000 shipping containers pass through Vermont to points north and west - by truck. That's because Vermont's railroad tracks, bridges and tunnels aren't equipped to handle the greater height and weight of today's standard freight cars. While the national standard for a Class 1 freight car is 186,000 pounds - and will soon rise to 315,000 pounds - most Vermont tracks and bridges can only handle a maximum of 163,000 pounds.Part of the problem in recent years, Coates and [Charlie Moore] agree, is that neither the state nor the federal government has made rail freight service a priority. In a speech delivered several weeks ago, Vermont Transportation Secretary Neale Lunderville outlined his maintenance priorities for the coming year. "All that maintenance is on highways and bridges," Coates points out. "Not one mention was made of rail infrastructure."Ironically, the rail experts agree that Vermont is ideally situated to capitalize on so-called "bridge traffic" - that is, freight trains such as coal cars and automobile carriers that travel across the state and pay user fees to ride on Vermont rails. Currently, Vermont's rail system is directly connected to three major railroads - Norfolk Southern, CS Corporation and the Canadian National Railroad.
Rail Enthusiasts Push for Improvements to Help Economy and Environment
ESSEX JUNCTION - If Vermonters are serious about creating a clean and sustainable mode of transportation for the Green Mountain State - namely, passenger rail service - then the state must invest in its ailing and outdated railroad ...