If you live ‘long the track like me, you,ve noticed that the trains have thinned a bit. And if you follow the tracks much, you’ll find whole unit trains of those short hopper cars they use for frac sand parked, and even the recently unobtainium tank cars are looking abandonned and forlorn in spots. Same with the rortary dump coal cars, shunted into lonely sidings by the switch to natural gas and wind. And weren’t the railorads in the middle of spending billions to upgrade tracks to handle all that oil and related traffic?

That leaves the ralroads suddenly with surplus capacity and a few thousand train crews laid off that will be looking at other career paths if they ain’t called back soon. Meanwhile, trucking is hobbling along with it’s chronic low productivity and resulting driver shortage. It’s gotten so bad that a union carrier (hourly pay, health insurance, pension, etc.) is having trouble finding qualified drivers even in my rural area.

So I’m hearing gossip that theb rail empire is going to stike back with a parry to lure all that truck traffic back to the rails. No, they probably won’t cut rates on intermodal service… Rate cutting ain’t in the railroads playbook. The gossip is about unprecedented (in the last half century) levels of service, with premium intermodal trains running at near passenger train speeds… Think of intermodal trains almost drafting Amtrak’s legendary long distance trains.

That sort of upsets the business plan of even the most dedicated truckers…