Since nearly 40% of rail freight traffic, other than coal or intermodal, originates or terminates on short lines, the service provided to short line customers is indicative of the service provided to rail customers in general. For a representative set of moves to or from short lines, the average trip time was 7.3 days with a standard deviation of about two days, which is similar to service levels documented in prior studies. A research program involving Class I railroads, short lines, customers, and public agencies would help develop effective strategies for improving service and equipment utilization for general merchandise freight.


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