TRAIN SYSTEM IN USA/CONSUMPTION OF COAL
The aim of this particular post is to shed some light on the train system in USA. I had this thought that why don’t people in USA use train system to travel in between cities, instead of airplane or their own cars. There is always an option of running trains on electricity by having electricity lines along the railway tracks. This country has an enormous amount of coal reserves, more than oil. If this coal is used in generating electricity, which is used in running trains, with lot of people commuting in trains in place of driving their own vehicles or taking a plane, railway system can become extremely profitable and reliable.
Let’s compare railway system with other forms of transport:
Mode Revenue per passenger mile Energy consumption per passenger mile Deaths per 100 million passenger miles Reliability
Domestic airlines 12.0¢ 3,182 BTUs 0.02 deaths 82%
Intercity buses 12.9¢ 3,393 BTUs 0.05 deaths N/A
Railway 26.0¢ 2,100 BTUs 0.03 deaths 74%
Autos N/A 3,458 BTUs 0.80 deaths N/A
If USA can have the consumption of fuel by railway in form of coal instead of oil, and people start commuting by trains, the energy equation can change dramatically.
You must be having one question, what about the emissions by coal. Well, it has a solution:
Concern for global warming has led to a call for a moratorium on all coal consumption, unless carbon capture is utilized. Coal is the largest potential source of CO2 emissions. The simplest, most stable form of carbon sequestration is to simply leave the coal in the ground.
Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) is the cleanest currently-operational coal-fired electricity generation technology. FutureGen is an experimental U.S. research project to investigate the possibility of sequestering IGCC CO2 emissions underground.
The policies of any country can completely affect the lives of the people and also the state of economy, no matter how rich the country is in terms of resources.
The causes of the decline of passenger rail in the United States were complex. Until 1920 rail was the only practical form of intercity transport, but the industry was subject to government regulation and labor inflexibility. By 1930 the railroads had constructed, with private money, a vast and efficient transportation network, but when the federal government began to construct the National Highway System they found themselves faced with unprecedented competition for passengers and freight with automobiles, buses, trucks, and aircraft, all of which were heavily subsidized by the government road and airport building programs. At the same time the railroads were subject to property and other taxes. Every foot of rail was taxed, and some localities treated them like cash cows.
Some people might still question, but coal, why coal? What about emissions?
Look at this question this way,
This country goes to Iraq looking for oil. So many, people die, for oil. USA imports enormous amounts of oil from other countries increasing its dependency on different countries. USA can be self sufficient and have different forms of efficient transport system, using its own resources, like coal along with oil.
-Once I asked the Dr Webber this question, why doesn’t this country have an efficient railway system?
There are many reasons he could think of which goes against trains
1-Not a large population which travels by trains, unlike in India or Japan
2-Trucks drivers association can easily go into protest, if trains start becoming popular
3-Even, trains in this country run on fuel, not electricity. To set up electricity lines along railway tracks is another issue, can cost some serious money.
But, if the policy makers of this country start to counter every possibility of reducing dependence on oil and are even ready to fight wars in other nations causing millions of deaths and widespread unpopularity, just for more oil, despite of the fact that they already have other forms of fuel, then it is their choice!