Renewed USPS interest in mail on rails

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Renewed USPS interest in mail on rails

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:33 pm


bostontrainguy wrote:Well they aren't air conditioned, so coach conversion probably isn't the plan, but maybe they are for this:

"WASHINGTON – A new report from the government agency that oversees the U.S. Postal Service is urging it to once again ship mail by rail. The Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service issued an audit report on Sept. 29 that states the Postal Service could save $10.8 million annually if it were to use rail instead of trucks in some regions.

The USPS did note that there was at least one route – between New Jersey and Jacksonville, Florida – where rail could be a viable option and it has agreed to study it in depth."

New Jersey to Jacksonville would be a no-brainer for Amtrak.

In the Viewliner II thread in Amtrak, bostontrainguy speculated that Amtrak might be shifting its V-II order further toward baggage cars to take advantage of US Postal Service desire to resume mail shipment by rail. (See this report by Progressive Railroading.) I feel this is a topic better suited to the Class 1 forum - who's to say that Amtrak will get the contract to move mail, just because it historically had one? I don't know how mail usually moves today, other than in trailers on the highway, but surely NS or CSX would be more reliable and provide much more tonnage ut of New Jersey than Amtrak would.
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Re: Renewed USPS interest in mail on rails

Postby QB 52.32 » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:19 am

Post-RPO, a lot of 3rd and 4th class mail and some very rare 1st class mail, as well as equipment (bags, pallets, etc) moved via intermodal in trailers. Amtrak handled first,third and fourth, but as a proportion much more was 1st class than moving TOFC. In the early 1990's the USPS began rate incentives for their customers (like the RR Donnelley's of the world) to provide their own linehaul transportation and, to some degree, sorting if they had that sophistication, tendering the mail as close to destination and as far down deep into the USPS distribution network as possible, This moved that large portion of traffic away from a railroad-USPS relationship to a railroad-3rd party or printer/direct-mailer relationship. Much of this traffic remains on rail but it is not within the USPS' control.

It will be interesting to see if and how the inspector general's findings will move the USPS, especially since service is implicated in the situation.
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