Macondo well disaster will affect rail ops in America

Higher costs for rig liability Insurance & bonding shall be another cost impact on liquid fuel pricing, and dampen deepwater extraction efforts.    Richard Heinberg is an energy  scientist & research writer, see his monthly "Museletter" from Post Carbon Institute in Sebastopol, CA.     Railway will be default mode, as many habitual truck users run into problems with fuel costs and -sometime- Federal Executive Emergency Orders including motor fuel rationing.    Add these papers to the Oil Interregnum study: Lionel Badal; Robert L. Hirch; Chris Skrebowski (peakoilconsultants) and Daniel Yergin  at CERA  ("The Prize").

"tahoevalleylines" posts at "theoildrum" and suggests US policy makers and business interests get savvy on the motor fuel issues ASAP.    We are concerned with the nuts & bolts of distribution going into the Energy Emergency, not climate or political doings.   We determined long ago the folly of basing US transport on ways & means dependent on ever increased dependence on import motor fuel.    Now, the reckoning is at hand.    America must get to work on vast expansion of rail mains' capacity & reach.     Dormant branch lines must be prioritized (ag corridors ) for rebuild, return to service.  Probably, freeze on steel scrap export, and getting another rail rolling mill lit up...    Suspend inventory tax; limit tax on branch line infrastructure.    Many mains' enroute container handling facilities must be considered, also without tax levy.    

US military bases and urban factories with rail spur must be assessed for localizing victuals distribution as long-haul trucking falls back to railhead pick-up & delivery role.    US Army/Guard rail logistics battalions must be recommissioned with all due haste and forward the rebuild program until branchline operating responsibility picked up by private shortline or adjacent mainline operator.    These are not easy pills for an industry on the shrink for fifty years, but the do-nothing alternative leaves America open to famine and regional distribution collapse in the coming decades.    Please, verify  the oil cost & flow projections.   Contact USDOE, Department of Defense Strategic Planning.    Talk to Richard Heinberg and Warren Buffett  & Daniel Yergin et al.   ALL RAILWAY execs must be energy supply & EIOER math savvy asap.

Mainline execs are insulated from timely action, preferring to assess trends, not make preparation for a paradigm shift.    Be that as it may,  Transportation  must deal with limits on liquid fuel,  or rationing & shortage will deal with America.     As things stand now, America's Short Line Railroad operators have the flexibility to look at dormant lines & traffic patterns in their respective purview, and be prepared to offer recommendation for their respective States' Office Of Emergency Planning as the situation clarifies.   Of course, Mssrs. Hamberger (AAR) & Graves (ATA) have seen these iinputs, and would be expected to have action plan outline in hand as Rationing appears likely.    Shortline operators may see US Rail Map Atlas Volumes from and "Official Guide" circa 1920-1950 for maximum US rail mileage and points of service.

All comers are encouraged to see website "Suntrain Transportation Corporation" and Companion book: "ELECTRIC WATER" (New Society, 2007) by Christopher C. Swan.     Carbon tax may be interim approach before worldwide demand requires rationing, but that is "best case".   Iran action, more Gulf accidents or hurricane disasters  -or the unforeseen- can push the fuel needle into the red zone.     No panic,  just deliberate capacity planning & preparation, please.    The Union of States must become energy independent; we must once again be a lending not a borrowing nation in order to survive & prosper.    US Leadership must understand the meaning of "Second Dimension Surface Transport Logistics Platform"


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  • "THE PRIZE, THE QUEST FOR OIL-MONEY-& POWER" aired by based on the book of the same name by Daniel Yergin  was broadcast just as the 'QUICK-GET-DA-JUICE'  Gulf War I was underway.

    It was during the Detroit Auto-Show that live broadcast of ground/sea/air force manoeuvres were aired during the introductions of the BIGGIE PETRO SLURPING GAZZ GUZZLERS & SUVS...Check out a few of the 'really big shew' Biggie Hogs:

    Mega-Excursions/Lincoln-Navigators/Coupe DeVIlle Biggems/Mud Covered V8 Range-Rovers/RamTough V10Slurpers/Hummerz with surround sound/V12 Jaguar XJE/Batman's jumbo-finned Imperial/Jeep Ultra-Commander with 'Double Gulp cup/bucket holders/Mr T's "Goldfinger Maybach". There was a YUGO or two!


  • tahoevalleylines and railwayist deserve each other.  Unable to gain any traction at the PR blog with their inflammatory and usually ignorant anti-oil rants, they each have shifted over to the group "discussion" section.  Their thoughts, if that's what they are, are no more valid here than they were at the blog.  Neither seems to understand or be willing to learn that the "battle" is not between rail and truck, or passenger rail service and private motor vehicles, no matter how much fuel they consume.  The United States has serious infrastructure problems and has not figured out how to pay for the necessary fixes.  Railroads rely on trucks for the first and last mile of intermodal shipment, the fastest growing traffic of the railroads.  Yes, railroads consume fuel far more efficiently than do trucks, but trucks are here to stay and should be.  If only tahoevalleylines and railwayist were capable of rational thought about these important issues instead of the inflammatory rants that each tosses into the mix like lobbing hand grenades.

  • In reply to Larry Kaufman:

    Thank You, Mr. Kaufman:

    We are moving past the long-haul era in trucking, and a more careful read shall reveal suggestion truck stepping back to pick-up & delivery role seen prior to the Interstate Defense Highway era.   Witness circa 1950's "Pacific Motor Trucking" on the west coast, NYC and Pennsy  trucking affiliates, out your way.  Breathe deeply, and assimilate theenergy emergency references.     It seems a non sequitor to talk about "hating" oil; oil is a strategic material recognized as such early on by the likes of Winston Churchill when the Naval Secretary for Great Britain.   Oil was for capitol ships, battleships could go further on oil, more quickly fueled at sea than coal burners, etc.  EsPee began putting oil in steam locomotives circa 1890's.   Santa Fe came next.    One cannot hate oil any more than hate Gold or rubber or tin or coal, all inanimate materials men fight & die for.  Cool off...  Don't let railwayist get to you...

    One can however, , without much intelligence, assess the negatives of  mishandling and poor workmanship associated with oil extraction, particularly in places with indigenous populations and ineffective oversight on locals' behalf.     Examination of most recent significant paper on motor fuel limits, by Chris Skrebowski (Peakoilconsultants) will get the discussion back to the subject:  Expedited US prep for the paradigm shift in transport required by inexorable annual decline in liquid motor fuel flow.

    Depressed economies mask the limits becoming apparent during spring 2008.    One becomes comfortable enough with derisive comments, doing this since before the OPEC crisis of the 1970's...   It does not take a genius to see an ever upward import oil curve must bring a strategic reckoning sooner or later.    Maybe, some readers can see James A. Van Fleet's "Rail Transport And The Winning Of  Wars" circa 1956.    Van Fleet was called irrational for suggesting US policy replacing rail based transport with almost universal truck haul would lead to problems and strategic vulnerabilities.    At this late date, witness the General's prescient warnings of  homeland attack (thankfully not crippling) and, dependence on imported oil would be key element of US becoming a borrowing not a lending nation.  Done.

    For what time than this was the "Rails To Trails" program banking rail corridor conceived?    Short line railroad operators in the US are better suited by skill and temperament and business acumen to meet this challenge, than the suits running consolidated mega mains.  John  Barriger had it right, at least partly so in "Super Railroads", but too many financial pressures and ignorant boards of directors allowed peeling away too much branch & feeder mileage.   It is a deliberate misreading of "tahoevalleylines" intent and content to call us anti-trucking.   As for the private automobile, that facet of the saga reaches equilibrium as shortages and pricing and Federal Executive Emergency Order mayhaps brings rationed allotment.    Anything we say individually or collectively on these sites is more a reporting than a determining role.      Larry, thank you again for kindling interest in these fora-   -everyone knows "you're the greatest"...  "Build Up & Edify"...

    For others concerned with this subject ( Rail Execs staff invited!), see oil supply information at USDOE, IEA (Fatih Birol), and aspoarticle1037 postings at JH Kunstler's blog, and Mike Ruppert, (fromthewilderness) and "LATOC"have  more pessimistic views.    Succinctly, oil depletion pessimists are concerned about USA ability to maintain victuals distribution in a transportation breakdown.    In response, "tahoevalleylines" has concluded a deliberate rebuild/replacement of dormant rail corridor is crucial and strategic element of the solution set.   Oilmen Boone Pickens and Matthew Simmons are instrumental players in the warnings; calling these remedial steps (including rail) "Plan B".    Knowing the territory is important for younger readers: see for US Rail Map Atlas  volumes, and see Amazon for best reference- "OFFICIAL GUIDE" of US Railroads, circa 1920-1950 show maximum rail mileage including the tiny class 3's and Electric Interurban lines.    In the back see your town, and initials of connecting rr.   Look up in front table of contents for service points and some maps of larger lines.    If no map, you may need the volume for your respective locale.   Along with the territory, don't forget your copy of the rules: download "GCOR" from the net.     You can too,  Railwayist &  Larry!




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