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What freight rail tells us about the economy

Aug 4, 2021
Trains are delivering shipping containers brimming with the imported products consumers are demanding. Rail can tell us about U.S. exports, too.
The U.S. has seen an uptick in intermodal train traffic over the first half of the year — that's when products travel in containers from ship to truck or train.
David McNew/Getty Images

First, the Port of L.A. was clogged. Now, it's Chicago's railroad yards.

Jul 26, 2021
Given the history of U.S. railroads, a chokepoint in the Windy City was "inevitable" once cargo started backing up elsewhere.
Following the shipping bottleneck in the Port of Los Angeles, Chicago railyards are now experiencing their own backlog.
Andreas Rentz via Getty Images

China's slow trains for the poor

Apr 20, 2021
There are 81 no-frills train routes left over from the Mao era to service far-flung areas. Who rides them?
A villager boards a slow train with a television strapped to his back in 2015. The train connected communities in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces that were not frequently served by China's modernized rail network.
Qian Haifeng

Amtrak says it had its best year in company history

Nov 11, 2019
After years of being the subject of congressional ire, the federally subsidized company is almost at the point of breaking even.
Passengers board an Amtrak train at New York City's Pennsylvania Station.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Baltimore subway closure exposes deeper problems

Feb 23, 2018
Transit advocates say the city's system perpetuates inequality.
The Penn-North Metro Subway Station in West Baltimore is among those closed for emergency track repairs.
Amy Scott/Marketplace

Railroads worry trade policy could reduce freight traffic

Nov 22, 2016
A big infrastructure plan would boost rail shipments of construction materials.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images