Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on one of the links below for answers to frequently asked questions about Regional Rail.
- When should I consider using rail?
- When should I consider using multimodal services?
- Why locate on a Regional Rail railroad?
- Doesn't a short line just add another layer of cost?
- How do I obtain a freight rate and service proposal?
- How do I order empty cars for loading? Order an empty car to be placed for loading on my sidetrack? Transmit a bill of lading? Release empty freight cars?
- How do I trace my cars en-route?
- Does Regional Rail offer passenger service?
In recent years, transportation economics have shifted in favor of railroads. Because railroads are over three times as fuel-efficient as trucks, for example, higher fuel prices have less of an impact.
This increase in rail's economic advantage has been coupled with steady improvements in the reliability and speed of rail service. Accordingly, many shippers find that rail can cut their supply chain costs significantly. The advantages are greatest for:
- High volume traffic such as grain
- Dense freight such as canned goods, minerals, paper and perishables
- Bulky freight such as plastic pellets
- Movements which would stress the available supply of truck trailers and/or drivers
- As motor carriers become more aggressive about penalizing shippers and receivers who delay their drivers and equipment, many customers value the convenience of loading or unloading freight cars on their own schedule, instead of the truck driver's. Also, when truck dock space and parking are limited, rail allows them to handle more business.
Rail is verifiably the most environmentally benign method of shipping large volumes of freight and bulky commodities.
"Multimodal" refers to combined rail/highway transportation. Many bulk commodities can be unloaded from a rail car to a truck for final delivery. Bulk commodities handled this way include sugar, corn syrup, grain, liquid and dry bulk fertilizer, chemicals, cement, and plastic pellets among others. Multimodal also may include warehousing options where the product arrives by rail and is delivered to the end-user by truck. Pertinent commodities include steel, lumber, and paper. Because a rail car typically holds 100-110 tons of payload vs. truck capacity of 20-25 tons, using rail for the long haul can yield substantial savings in transportation cost. Vendors of some commodities also offer a lower unit price for purchases in larger volumes. Multimodal may be attractive if your facility is not located on our railroad or you need off-site inventory storage. Some commodities can be held in rail cars and drawn down as you need them.
Regional Rail offers multimodal services ranging from team tracks (public-use sidetracks) to product quantity and temperature reporting, heating, and other enhancements. Customer-operated facilities on our rail lines offer additional commodity-specific multimodal capabilities. Regional Rail can recommend a motor carrier to make final delivery, or you are free to utilize any qualified motor carrier.
Regional Rail has the experience and the contacts to offer its customers efficient and economical solutions for their transportation needs. Also, a Regional Rail railroad is the place to be if you require on-demand switching and enhanced multimodal services, which larger railroads typically do not perform. We know the network and the geography.
Actually, most transportation rates to and from stations served by Regional Rail and its subsidiaries are quoted on a "through" basis by one of the connecting Class I railroads (NS or CSX) with Regional Rail's portion of the revenue included. Most of the time, rates to/from Regional Rail stations are the same as rates to and from nearby stations on the connecting railroad itself. Why is this?
- When we pick up and deliver freight cars to your sidetrack and perform customer service, we do things the Class I railroad would otherwise have to do and build into its rate.
- Because we manage these functions locally, we tend to operate more efficiently and take costs out of the overall system.
- Because we nurture our customers' business, it tends to grow, reducing unit costs for everyone.
Regional Rail's policy is to develop all rates on a "through" basis covering the entire route from origin to destination. We are a handling line, junction settlement carrier or switch carrier with our connections, which means we are invisible in the rate payment and routing process. Our stations are our connections stations for pricing purposes. You can ask any one of the railroads involved to develop a through rate, although the railroad that will originate the movement is usually the best place to start.
If you prefer, Regional Rail can take the initiative for you. We can usually assist in consultation among the railroads in the route, with many movements covered by pre-existing rates. We also stay up-to-date on connecting railroads' service--what routes are fastest and most reliable.
Rates for one-time movements can be quoted on a "spot" basis. Repetitive smaller volume movements are usually covered by a public price list or "tariff." Increasingly, our Class I connections are publishing their public tariffs on their web sites. Higher volume movements often are covered by confidential contracts.
For more information, contact Al SauerPlease contact the appropriate customer service office. Please note that we will require customer instructions to be transmitted in writing via email or fax.
While tracing software packages are available from CSX, Norfolk Southern, and other connecting carriers, we can often help you interpret the available data, because we do it all day long. Let us help you.
No, Regional Rail does not operate commercial passenger service of any kind.
Intercity passenger train service in the USA is operated by Amtrak. Your travel agent can also assist you.
Commuter service is provided in portions of Regional Rail's area by the South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA).
Commuter service between Middletown, NY and Hoboken, NJ/New York City is operated by Metro North.