High speed rail has the potential to revolutionize the light freight shipping industry, while also creating a new fast and efficient national passenger network. France and Italy are leading the way...
ITALIAN State Railways (FS) rail freight subsidiary Mercitalia has unveiled plans to launch high-speed rail freight services in a bid to gain a share of the market for high-value time-sensitive goods.
The service, branded Mercitalia Fast, will begin operating in October, with a modified ETR 500 high-speed train linking the Caserta Marcianise and Bologna Interporto terminals. The journey time will be 3h 20min with an average speed of 180km/h. Story
The launch of the new high speed rail light freight system in Italy showcases the solution to America's freight mess, that seemed impossible to solve, until now. We define "light freight" as everything transported by FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc. - mostly in long distance trucks and/or airplanes. (This is not to be confused with "heavy freight" like lumber, oil, coal, etc. transported by the big rail freight operators like BNSF, CSX, etc.). America's current light freight system clogs our highways and airways, and has an enormous carbon footprint.
American has serious issues with BOTH its passenger transportation system, and its light freight system - leading to highly congested highways full of slow moving truck traffic (and major road surface damage), and massive carbon footprints from both our trucking and cargo airplane systems. (Hundreds of airplanes fly around America every night of the week delivering packages, Amazon purchases, mail, perishables, etc.
America has 4 major problems with its current light freight system:
1) Epic congestion nationwide
2) Rising fuel costs, and future fuel supply limitations
3) Massive carbon footprint contributing to climate change
4) Maxed out systems, no room for growth in capacity
All 4 of these problems will get worse in the coming years, leading to higher costs, and lower capacity, disruptions, and ongoing issues. Currently, there is NO SOLUTION on tap for any of this, until now...
HIGH SPEED LIGHT FREIGHT is a second valuable use of high speed rail infrastructure (in addition to high capacity passenger transport), and adds an whole other layer of justification for building a national high speed rail network in America.
This doubles the business case for building high speed rail - as a major new, fast passenger transport system, and a super efficient and fast light freight system! This will revolutionize America, and greatly lower the cost (and increase reliability) of shipping light freight goods throughout the country.