Friday 27 May 2022

Trucks, lorries, HGVs, utes

but not trains?

There is a "warning" from the "trucking" industry that unless they get some "help" with the fuel costs some of the firms will collapse. That, so they say, will cause shortages and the price of goods that do get through to rise.

Not far from here there is also a railway line. It is a single track working that goes right through the suburbs, up into the hills and on through the  country to another state. To the north of the city there is another line which goes both ways across the country. 

And yes, goods are carried on those lines. I sometimes have to wait at a crossing as bogie after bogie clatters through after an engine or two. There can be as many as one hundred and twelve bogies behind those engines. Those engines are powerful things. At the same time other goods are being carried up and down the city freeways to and from the same places as the trains. Almost every time I am out I find myself waiting for a huge vehicle to pass before I go on my way. Often it is multiple vehicles. Locally these are not even the largest vehicles. There are no "double Bs" in this part of suburbia.

The transport industry in this country is huge. In order to serve a small population spread mostly around the coastline of the world's smallest continent there are enormous distances which need to be covered at great expense. It is an industry which employs a lot of people. 

It is an industry which wields a lot of power. People need goods. We need the fuel tankers. We need food. We need other goods. The road transport industry has grown over the years, grown and grown again. It is likely it will grow even more. 

These heavy vehicles require roads, good roads. They need all the maintenance and services which go with roads. They need the people who can provide this. 

Rail needs some of this too of course although not quite so much. Rail is also limited to going only where there are tracks. It is easy to dismiss it for that reason alone.

But I am wondering about the real economics. Realistically we are not going to be able to run those huge "double Bs" any distance on solar panels or any other form of renewable energy. 

Like so many other places we have allowed our rail network to fall into disuse in some places. "People weren't using it," was the excuse given over and over again." Yes, more people found they were able to afford a car and the costs of running it. It is so much more convenient to "just be able to hop in the car and go".  There has been no need to discipline yourself to catch a train (or a bus or a tram). 

I like trains. I can put my trike on the local passenger train and actually go beyond my normal pedal power distance. If I am going far enough I can read - a train being the only vehicle I can read on without feeling ill. I can knit. I know other people who do these things. Trains are my preferred mode of transport if I cannot pedal. The "green lobby" has been remarkably silent about all this... and not all of them use their supposedly environmentally friendly electric vehicles either. At the same time I suspect, for most other people, there is more effort involved in using a train. It seems there is also more effort involved in using trains to get goods around the country. 

We will have to pay for such lack of effort. 

1 comment:

Holly said...

trains are much better for long distance than any petrol driven vehicles. And, in the US there is a huge shortage of long distance drivers which might eventually serve to improve the rail system.

In your case - ship to port might be even better. Ships are also more fuel efficient than your average wheeled vehicle///