Enhancing Rail Connectivity to Underserved Rural Communities

As Class I railroads have focused their operations on line-haul services, rural communities and industries throughout the country have experienced a decline in connectivity to the nation's rail network. Individual terminals, grain elevators, and industries dependent on rail cannot remain economically viable without reliable and cost-competitive rail service. When industries and support services leave rural communities, jobs are lost and people migrate from the area. Research is needed to determine what steps can be taken to ensure that rail service can continue to support these areas. This research will identify the actions, practices, and policies needed to continue or expand adequate shortline or Class 1 and regional rail service to rural communities. Factors to be considered will include identification of the infrastructure needs for retaining or expanding viable rail operations, potential markets to support rail connectivity, operational barriers, institutional and policy barriers, and economic incentives required for rail service to continue. This research will identify the actions, practices, and policies needed to continue or expand adequate shortline or Class 1 and regional rail service to rural communities. Factors to be considered will include identification of the infrastructure needs for retaining or expanding viable rail operations and communities in the National Center for Freight & Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE) region that are facing declining service. This will be followed by conducting interviews with shortline rail operators and shippers to determine the key issues that affect the provision of rail service. The focus will be on evaluating the role of shortline railroads in retaining and attracting economic development in rural areas, the impacts if rail service is terminated, and successful models of government involvement.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $588520.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    DTRT12-G-UTC19

    RI-07

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE)

    University of Wisconsin, Madison
    1415 Engineering Drive, 2205 Engineering Hall
    Madison, WI  United States  53706
  • Start Date: 20120701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20131231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 33044

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01466543
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE)
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC19, RI-07
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 3:19PM