Trains and coal strange bedfellows

We love railroads. Who can’t love their efficiency. BUT… They like coal. They really like coal. According to this report 44% of railroad car traffic is coal. And coal is dirty. It’s dirty in terms of carbon emissions. It’s dirty (but can be cleaned) in terms of particulate emissions. It’s not all that wonderful in terms of mercury dispersal either.

So, which way do you think railroads will lobby (they are corporate “citizens” after all).  Will they throw their weight towards laws which reward efficiency => win for rail transportation. Or will they throw their weight behind more coal burning => still good for railroads.?

2 thoughts on “Trains and coal strange bedfellows

  1. “44% of railroad car traffic is coal” — by number of cars, but how about total miles travel?

  2. It looks like the statistic is in terms of ‘freight cars originated’. I found some stats on ton-miles, but since coal is so dense, that might not be a good measure. Even without knowing the billing structure of railways, I still think it’s safe to assume that they are heavily dependent upon the coal industry for their revenues.

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