Here's a pertinent 'Brief passage"
- Wal-Mart Stores Inc., fed up with delays, says it is opening more warehouse space at Gulf and East Coast ports to lessen its dependence on the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the rail lines that serve them. Gap Inc. began shifting some shipments to other West Coast ports with less-congested railroads and through the Panama Canal.
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1104 ... 37,00.html
It's also at your local newsstand for a buck.
Had an active program of rail banking been in place i.e. cecession of all property rights by the owner in consideration of absolute 'iron clad' indemnification from any source of civil liability, it is my conviction that Lines West would be providing railroad transportation today. The Port of Seattle could well be in the running as the predominant West Coast port (after all, it is closer to any Asian "Pacific Rim' port than is the current "1, Los Angeles).
Even though I was a "management' (non-Agreement) MILW employee from 1970 to 1981, I do not think the MILW deserved to stay in business simply to operate Lines West. 'Someone Else' would be the operator.
As I have noted at this Forum in the past, the 'hottest' proposal that the water cooler told me about (the story was carried by the Chicago Tribune) was a proposal by Japanese maritime interests to acquire Lines West fro expedited container trains. 60hrs was a suggested Seattle Chicago transit time. Had it been possible to include lines of, say, the ERIE (with participation by European maritime interests) and offer relaible service onward to Port of New York for, say, total coast to coast time of 84hrs, the who knows? possibly the dormant 'land bridge' trans=shipment of containers could have become more than just a dream.
Needless to say, an 'early eighties' proposal by Japanese interests to acquire transportation infrastructure during that era was simply "dead on arrival'. For those of us contemporary to that era, we can recall that anti-Japanese sentiment, at least with regards to economic interests, was quite high.