consultants are sandburs

Friday, July 04, 2014

Rail oligopoly gouging farmers and grain elevator operators?

It is hard to not read things that way. Strib, here.

Didn't they have enough fun gouging Northstar on rail line use charges?

A slowdown. Trains parking for a while along the BNSF rail line in Ramsey. What's up? Why is that?

The Strib story provides it's own possible explanation aside from a planned slowdown, for trains simply parking along the rail line in Ramsey, to sit, to then start up again. It might be innocently caused by traffic - similar to heavy auto traffic bottlenecks developing at major rush hour intersections along Highway 10 - congestion in the switching yards beyond what they were engineered to handle expeditiously:

Zelenka said railroads seem to be more interested in moving oil from North Dakota than grain from farms. “We still have grain elevators that are several weeks behind on receiving their [rail]cars, while at the same time, every day, an oil train goes by the elevator, which seems to add insult to injury,” he said.

The extra oil shipments have aggravated congestion in St. Paul and Chicago rail yards, Zelenka said, further delaying whatever grain trains are available to serve farmers.

“The way things stand right now, it’s going to be nip and tuck as to whether railroads will be able to move last year’s crop prior to new crops coming out of the field,” he said.

That said, review this item, a link previously posted on Crabgrass, as food for thought.

Leaving the parking ramp after the last Charter Commission meeting, I faced oil tanker cars as far as the eye could see looking east; as far as the eye could see looking west; and directly in front of me moving eastward at about 30 mph [that speed was confirmed by my own road speed going east]. It is vexing to see the slow train traffic when waiting at a road crossing. However, in the grander scheme of things, safety in reduced speed through inhabited stretches of rail line is a good thing, to be commended, and endured as necessary at crossings.

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