This week we will present a summary condition report that was published by AAR (Association of American Railroads) earlier this month. It is very good news and reflects well upon the professionals in the freight rail industry:

“The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) awarded the nation’s freight and passenger railroads their highest grade — a B — in the “2021 Infrastructure Report Card” released today. Overall, ASCE gave the nation’s infrastructure a C- in the quadrennial report.

“The nation’s 140,000-mile rail network is its healthiest ever thanks to $25 billion on average in annual private investments,” said AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies. “The ultimate mark of success is how railroads safely, reliably, and sustainably deliver for customers and communities a day in and day out across the country. At the same time, ASCE’s report is an urgent reminder of the need for robust investment into the nation’s passenger rail lines, not to mention infrastructure more broadly.”

In reviewing the rail sector, ASCE cited sustained private investment by the nation’s freight railroads as the primary reason for the network’s good condition. From 1980 to 2020, America’s privately owned freight railroads spent nearly $740 billion — averaging approximately $25 billion a year over the past five years — on capital expenditures and maintenance expenses related to locomotives, freight cars, tracks, bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure and equipment. Those investments break out to over $260,000 spent on average per mile of the freight rail network.”

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