Rails prep for winter to avoid another Chicago gridlock

By: Mark Szakonyi | September 23 2014

The unseasonably cold front that moved through Chicago last weekend provided railroads and shippers a chilly reminder that the rail meltdown seen in winter 2013-2014 could occur again.

How carload and intermodal freight moves through the top U.S. freight hub (and bottleneck) depends not only on the severity of the weather but also on whether the railroad’s revamped approach to interchanging cargo connects. If railroads’ plans don’t succeed in mitigating the congestion caused by cold and harsh weather in the Midwest, shippers could once again see intermodal rail service plummet. And, as this year has proved, service is hard to restore when volume.

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