While transportation has changed significantly over the past century, shifting travel away from railroads and towards cars and airplanes, railways are still an important part of American infrastructure. Shipping efficiency has become more important than ever, and railroads transport important products across may industries. Below are some of the pieces of industry impacted by efficient railroad operation.
Railroads and farmers work together to put food on tables all across the country. Trains moved more than 1.5 million carloads of grain and farm products, and 1.6 million carloads of food products this past year. Not only does this this keep systems in place and food moving from distribution to grocery stores and markets (and into restaurant kitchens), it also supports local farmers.
The automotive industry also relies heavily on railways. As larger parts of machinery can be difficult to move from one location to the next, trains make the process significantly easier. Similarly, trains also have the capacity to move the raw materials needed to fashion steel, frames, engines and transmissions. These types of items are most often hauled by trains with larger boxcar capacities. These paths can span all across the country and can be traced back to Henry Ford’s assembly plants.
Lastly, the rail industry is very responsible for keeping America’s major construction initiatives in motion. Railways can transport wooden beams, heavy steel, large stones, and minerals and plastics. From commercial spaces to skyscrapers and even the residential sector, the construction industry depends heavily on railways. Not only are these materials present in every state, they are also needed in every state. This means that the network of railways is one of the most efficient ways to move these materials across state lines. It’s said that every construction project, regardless of size or scope, begins in smaller parts. Railroads are an integral part of ensuring that all these parts eventually come together.