13.1.09

QUOTE OF THE DAY. The February issue of Railway hit the mailbox, just in time for the start of the new semester and the latest round of snowstorms. Inside is a report on the magazine's annual escorted tour, this one to Colorado in September 2008. Most of the reporting is on the narrow gauge tourist lines, much of it from the British perspective (do they know that the Great Western they passed under is a former sugar beet hauler connecting to the Union Pacific?)

Now to the quote.
Powder River Basin is the single largest source of coal mined in the USA and in 2007 produced 396 million tones of the black stuff. The complexity of operations is worthy of a feature in its own right with more than 130 train movements in the area per day and most of it served by a four track line -- akin to having a large section of the West Coast Main Line set aside just for coal!
I've remarked on the excellence of U.S. freight railroads repeatedly (keep scrolling), and Tom Bozzo got to visit the Powder River Line on official business.

Since Railway is a European magazine, perhaps a future feature on the Powder River will open the eyes of some excessively Europhilic passenger train advocates (yes, I'm looking at you!) to the realities of North American railroading practices and the genuine differences in freight and passenger train technology.

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