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Deregulation in the rail freight industry has brought cheaper, faster, safer, and more efficient rail service, but reduced competition in rail service and an increase in the number of abandoned routes have hurt some rural areas. Specific strategies to counter negative effects of rail consolidations are available, including the establishment of small railroads, greater Federal and State involvement, and the Rails-to-Trails program. As the Nation’s rail industry becomes more concentrated among fewer major carriers, these approaches are likely to become more important.


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