Relationship Building with Freight Railroads Critical to Support Intercity Passenger Rail Development

With a renewed push for intercity passenger rail development set by President Barack Obama and other key public officials, a new generation of policymakers and passenger rail advocates are becoming introduced to the labyrinthine world of freight railroading – an integral stakeholder in passenger rail operation and expansion considering freight rail owned infrastructure is overwhelmingly utilized by intercity passenger trains. As Amtrak begins its 42nd year of operation – still languishing on the periphery of the nation’s collective intercity passenger market – this paper seeks to empower policymakers with the information, tools and strategies necessary to effectively interact, build new relationships and foster long term collaboration with the nation’s freight railroad carriers to expand and enhance rail service.

Through a unique combination of academic research and author’s firsthand experience in the railroad industry, this paper analyzes four interwoven aspects that impact existing and future partnership with the freight rail industry:

1) Railroad history.
2) Freight railroad operations and economics.
3) Shared use policy, planning and operations.
4) Railroad funding and financing.

Research, evaluation and synthesis in each of these categories was performed utilizing news articles, published trade and government reports, case studies, conversations with leading railroad professionals as well as the author’s own experiences in the rail industry.

Altogether, this paper uncovers the major flaws effecting contemporary interactions between government and the freight railroad industry concerning intercity passenger rail operation and development. Existing approaches fail to build trust between both stakeholders and share risks and benefits of partnership. The result is a pervading animosity and intense combativeness harbored by both stakeholders.


Please click on the link below to download the complete “Relationship Building with Freight Railroads Critical to Support Intercity Passenger Rail Development” report.

Relationship Building with Freight Railroads_Bardo



Author / Presenter:

Kyle Bardo