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USDA Studies Rail Line Abandonment

Lines with low or declining revenues were likely to be abandoned


USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has published a synopsis of a study conducted in cooperation with Washington State University and the University of Oregon.

The researchers sought to better understand the causes and effects of rail line abandonments, which became more common since the Staggers Rail Act of 1980.

The analysis suggests lines with low or declining revenues were particularly likely to be abandoned, as well as lines that branched from a main line.

The researchers also find the effects of short line entry on local rail markets (rates and tonnages) varied based on location, commodity and the competitive environment.

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