Many people probably don’t realize that, unlike roads, rail lines are actually owned by individual railway companies. In some circumstances, the rail companies lease those lines to other rail companies for limited use. An interesting deal between Union Pacific and the Super Bowl host committee in Arlington, Texas may be struck to allow freight rail lines to be used by passenger trains on one day only – Super Bowl Sunday 2011.
The company has apparently been in talks with committee officials for several months over this rare agreement. One of UP’s major freight lines runs from Fort Worth through the middle of Arlington and past Dallas. If a deal is struck, passengers headed to the Super Bowl at Cowboy Stadium could leave from rail stations in Fort Worth or Dallas. They would then be dropped off near downtown Arlington, less than a mile from the stadium. Shuttle buses would then take them to the game.
UP, one of the nation’s busiest freight railroads, does not operate passenger rail service at all. Super Bowl host committee members, hoping to get more than 100,000 out-of-town visitors to the game, want to run passenger cars along the freight lines for the game, easing the transportation crunch on game day.
Arlington is America’s largest city without mass transit. Cowboys fans are limited to driving, taking shuttles from a Fort Worth rail station, or using a taxi, which can take hours.
Liability and union issues remain unresolved as do issues related to how UP’s freight will move through the area during the 12-hour agreement window. Some of the freight UP normally moves through the region would be transferred to another local rail line. That line, however, has less capacity than UP’s lines, so a resulting, albeit brief, slowdown could affect freight movements all the way to California.
Because of the high demand on their freight lines, the nation’s largest freight railroads have not traditionally been quick to share their lines with passenger trains. Such requests have become more common though, especially as more local governments have expanded light rail and commuter rail service.
Because interstate passenger rail travel is not nearly as popular across the U.S. as in years past, many Americans are surprised to find that rail freight is still a very busy industry. Increased fuel prices and renewed attention to environmental issues continue to make rail freight a popular choice for shippers.
There are many rail freight companies to choose from and complicated intermodal issues to resolve when using rail freight. Freightquote.com can simplify the process though through its comprehensive online freight management system. Every aspect of intermodal freight shipment can be handle quickly and efficiently via Freightquote’s web-based quoting and booking system. Tracking and payments are also all a part of Freightquote’s solution.