EVALUATION OF THE VIABILITY OF A REGIONAL RAILROAD SYSTEM IN THE PALOUSE REGION OF WASHINGTON AND IDAHO

Changing economic conditions in the nation are causing significant rail line abandonment, a phenomenon that is quite apparent in the Palouse region of southeast Washington and north central Idaho. This regional study was conducted to develop a procedure for evaluating the economics of the existing rail system in a region and identify alternatives that have the potential to retain essential rail service before piecemeal abandonment. The study included an estimate of existing carrier costs (using Rail Form A costs and the 49 CFR 1152 abandonment costing process) and revenue estimates. Alternative configurations, ownership, and marketing approaches were also considered. The procedure worked well in evaluating the viability of rail systems that are operated by existing rail carriers. The results showed ratios of expenses to revenues considerably over 100 for the majority of the existing or restructured lines. It did appear that most lines were candidates for abandonment. Short-line operations and possibly public assistance could have a positive influence on the economics of the region's rail service. Local interest and support should be identified before either option is attempted. Road impacts resulting from rail line investment decisions by shippers and governmental actions should be part of the discussion when planning for the future railroad structure.

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 16-25
  • Monograph Title: Railroad regulation issues, rail passenger services, railroad bridges, and track maintenance management
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00485714
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309047218
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1989 12:00AM