A railway trust fund

Bruce Hannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The operation of rolling freight carriers (barge, train, truck) are examined for flexibility, costs, subsidies, regulation and resource demands. The conclusion reached is that trains compete with both barge and truck but the latter two do not compete with each other. Truck-train competition is reaching equilibrium while barge-train competition continues. Trains are substantially outsubsidized relative to the other two modes. Rail companies have an unattractive financial status. Yet rail energy demands are the smallest for any mode on a freight ton-mile basis. Employment requirements of the three modes vary generally with the freight costs. Trucks are most sensitive to the dollar cost of fuel; water transport is slightly less sensitive than train transport. The conclusion is that rail freight hauling should be protected from unequal government subsidies to other modes. Government withdrawal from the subsidy of freight transport is urged. In lieu of withdrawal, federal ownership and maintenance of the nation's railways with appropriate user fees, is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Oct 1974


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