Rail Revival

by Paul Tarricone, Asst. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 1, Pg. 36-39

Document Type: Feature article


Rail transit appears to be on the upswing. More than 30 cities are building, extending or seriously considering new rail-transit systems, according to a recent report from the Regional Plan Association, New York, in the shape of both light and heavy rail. The report goes on to urge the federal government to pony up more funds for rails. Increased rail use could reduce oil consumption and air pollution from automobiles, provide more mobility for the 40% of Americans who don't drive and revitalize economic activity along urban corridors. But cities that hope to invest in rail systems are hard-pressed to find affordable right-of-way. The solution? Rail transit with a twist: Cities are sharing existing right-of-way and track with freight carriers, and resurrecting long-abandoned rails. The advantages are obvious. Land acquisition and construction costs are radically reduced, disruption to families and businesses is lessened, work can be completed faster and the rigors of environmental impact studies are minimized. Rail reuse is going on in all corners of the U.S., from Chicago, St. Louis and Baltimore to south Florida and southern California.

Subject Headings: Rail transportation | Light rail transit | Federal government | Air pollution | Railroad tracks | Light (artificial) | Automobiles | Economic factors | United States | Chicago | Illinois | Baltimore | Maryland | Florida | California

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