Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Coal Train Study Not Positive For Railroads

Coal trains have been a hot topic in our area recently, as well as in Montana, Oregon and other northwest states. So much so that a group commissioned a study to determine the impact of planned coal terminals in Oregon and Washington.

And the study doesn't have much positive to say about constructing six proposed northwest export terminals that would ship 150 million tons of coal a year to Asia.

Oregon Live has this article on the study.

While Spokane's City Council went so far as to approve a resolution requesting further study of the effects of coal train travel through the City of Spokane, it's still looking doubtful we will ever see that many more coal trains through our area than currently. As I blogged a few weeks ago, rumor has it that up to sixty more trains could come through daily. The Inland Pacific Hub project we have been working on the past couple years says this isn't likely though because the capacity of the two Class I lines through our area is 78 trains per day, which is at capacity on the UP line and nearing capacity on the BNSF line (page 89). That means the lines couldn't physically carry another 60 trains and the railroads claim they don't plan to expand anytime soon.
We'll continue to monitor this situation though, as freight movement is a large part of transportation, and report back when there is new information.














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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.