UNION STATION in Los Angeles has been restored as a fine example of the Art Deco architecture that typified California in the 1930s. It has served as a backdrop for many Hollywood films, from “Union Station” (naturally) to “Blade Runner” and “Star Trek: First Contact”. It was the last grand station to be built before America’s passenger railways went into what you might call terminal decline.

洛杉机联合车站被修复成具有装饰艺术风格的宏伟建筑的典范,它代表了19世纪30年代的加州风貌。它曾为许多好莱坞大片布景,从“联合车站”(原始旧车站)到“银翼杀手”和“星际旅行:第一类接触”。你可以称它是美国客运铁路走向“衰落末期”前兴建的最大车站。

Today it is a hub for Metrolink commuter trains and Amtrak services to faraway cities such as Chicago and Seattle. These trains have to pull in and then back out in a clumsy manoeuvre. But there are plans for through tracks in time to carry the high-speed services that California is desperate to have by 2020 under an ambitious $42 billion plan to connect San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento.

如今它是重要的铁路交通枢纽,是Metrolink通勤列车和美国铁路客运开往芝加哥和西雅图等长途列车的始发站。列车进站和出站的方式仍沿用拙劣的调配方式。但是在420亿美元雄心计划的带动下,加州政府决心在2020底开通一条连接圣地亚哥,洛杉矶,旧金山和萨克拉曼多南北贯穿的高速铁路服务,此项铁路兴建计划正在按时实施。

California’s plans were given a boost by Barack Obama’s stimulus package last year. This earmarks a lump sum of $8 billion, plus $1 billion a year, to help construct fast rail corridors around America (see map). Such lines are common in Europe, Japan and, increasingly, China, yet the only thing at all like them in America is Amtrak’s Acela service from Boston via New York to Washington, DC. It rarely reaches its top speed of 150mph (240kph) and for much of the way manages little more than half that, because the track is not equipped for higher speeds. Acela, like virtually all trains run by publicly owned Amtrak, has to use tracks belonging to freight railways, whose trains trundle along at 50mph; passenger trains must stick below 80mph. Despite the excitement of railway buffs and the enthusiasm of environmentalists, high-speed rail in America is likely to mean a few more diesel-electric intercity trains at 110mph, not swish electric expresses going nearly twice as fast.

加州铁路兴建计划去年得到奥巴马政府经济刺激计划的鼓励推动。一次性到位的80亿美元专用资金,加上每年10亿美元的后续款项用来建造全美快速铁路通道。(见图)。高铁线路在欧洲和日本早已司空见惯,就算在中国也正得到日益普及。但是在美国能与它们相提并论的铁路线却只有波士顿始发经由纽约终点到华盛顿特区的美国铁路阿西乐(Amtrak’s Acela)客运快线服务。由于这条铁轨线并不是为高速铁路设计建造的,所以列车很少能达到150英里/小时(240公里/小时)的最高时速,在大多数情况下其运行时速只稍高于75英里/小时。包括阿西乐快线在内的几乎所有国有美铁列车只能在这样的货运铁路上运行,这样的铁轨是为时速50英里/小时沉重缓慢行驶的货运列车设计建造的;客运列车必须以低于80英里/小时的时速运行。尽管这令铁路发烧友们兴奋不已和环保人士热情高涨,但这可能意味着美国的未来高铁只可能比110英里/小时的内燃电力城际列车速度稍快,而不会是速度两倍于它的“疾驰”电力特快列车。

But the problem with America’s plans for high-speed rail is not their modesty. It is that even this limited ambition risks messing up the successful freight railways. Their owners worry that the plans will demand expensive train-control technology that freight traffic could do without. They fear a reduction in the capacity available to freight. Most of all they fret that the spending of federal money on upgrading their tracks will lead the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the industry watchdog, to impose tough conditions on them and, in effect, to reintroduce regulation of their operations. Attempts at re-regulation have been made in Congress in recent years, in response to rising freight rates. “The freight railroads feel they are under attack,” says Don Phillips, a rail expert in Virginia.

但是美国高铁计划出现的问题并不是由于对技术能力有所保留,而是怕冒险激进的举措会使货运铁路已取得的辉煌成就付之东流。铁路业主担心需用昂贵的费用引进货运铁路用不到的“列车自动控制技术”,并担忧现有的货运能力会因此而下降。最令他们大多数人苦恼的是如果联邦政府花费大笔资金升级了他们的铁路,到时候联邦铁路管理局(铁路行业监管机构)说不定对他们施加什么苛刻的条件,实际上就等同于政府管理渗透到他们的运营中来。近年来,国会一直跃跃欲试要重掌铁路管理权,以调控不断上升的货运价格。弗吉尼亚州铁路专家唐.菲利普斯(Don Phillips)说:“货运铁路公司感觉他们正腹背受敌。”

America’s railways are the mirror image of Europe’s. Europe has an impressive and growing network of high-speed passenger links, many of them international, like the Thalys service between Paris and Brussels or the Eurostar connecting London to the French and Belgian capitals. These are successful—although once the (off-balance-sheet) costs of building the tracks are counted, they need subsidies of billions of dollars a year. But, outside Germany and Switzerland, Europe’s freight rail services are a fragmented, lossmaking mess. Repeated attempts to remove the technical and bureaucratic hurdles at national frontiers have come to nothing.

美国铁路情况与欧洲铁路恰好截然相反。欧洲有让人惊叹连连和快速发展的高速客运列车网络。其中许多线路都提供国际铁路客运服务,如运营在巴黎和布鲁塞尔间的泰利斯(Thalys)客运线,或伦敦到法国及比利时首府的“欧洲之星”客运服务。尽管就建造铁路的成本计算,他们曾一度陷入亏损境地(根据资产负债表),但它们现在是成功的,而且仍需要每年数十亿美元的资助资金。但是德国和瑞士以外的其它欧洲国家,货运铁路服务就称得上是分崩离析,各立山头,亏本经营,局面混乱。这些国家曾利用各种先进变革来清除技术障碍和破除官僚管理的壁垒最后都无济于事。


Staggering progress
曲折的发展历程


Amtrak’s passenger services are sparse compared with Europe’s. But America’s freight railways are one of the unsung transport successes of the past 30 years. They are universally recognised in the industry as the best in the world.

与欧洲发达的密集客运网络相比,美铁的客运服务线路分布就很稀疏。但是不可否认,在过去30年间美国货运铁路却在运输业成功者中占有一席之地。世界上一致公认美国在铁路运输业的地位无人能及。

Their good run started with deregulation at the end of Jimmy Carter’s administration. Two years after the liberalisation of aviation gave rise to budget carriers and cheap fares, the freeing of rail freight, under the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, started a wave of consolidation and improvement. Staggers gave railways freedom to charge market rates, enter confidential contracts with shippers and run trains as they liked. They could close passenger and branch lines, as long as they preserved access for Amtrak services. They were allowed to sell lossmaking lines to new short-haul railroads. Regulation of freight rates by the Interstate Commerce Commission was removed for most cargoes, provided they could go by road.

吉米卡特(Jimmy Carter)政府执政后期解除了对铁路的管制,货运铁路迎来了它的黄金时期。航空自由化两年后,廉价航空公司如雨后春笋般涌现,票价优惠愈演愈烈。同时1980年通过的斯塔格斯(Staggers)铁路法案把货运铁路推向市场,为货运铁路的巩固和提高推波助澜。斯塔格斯(Staggers)铁路法案允许铁路根据市场定价,可以与货物托运人签订秘密合约并按他们喜欢的方式运营列车。只要保留美国铁路客运对其铁路的使用权,他们可以停运某趟旅客列车和其他支线列车,允许将亏损的线路卖给新成立的短程铁路运输公司。对于大多数可以用公路运输的货物,州际商务委员会就把与这些货物相关的铁路货运价格管理规定全部撤销。

Before deregulation America’s railways were going bust. The return on capital fell from a meagre 4.1% in the 1940s to less than 3% in the 1960s. In 1970 the collapse of the giant Penn Central caused a huge shock, including a financial crisis. By 1980 a fifth of rail mileage was owned by bankrupt firms. Rail’s share of intercity freight had slumped to 35% from 75% in the 1920s. Tracks were neglected and fell into disrepair, leading to a downward spiral of speed restrictions and deteriorating service. The term “standing derailment” was coined to describe the toppling-over of stationary freight wagons when the track gave way beneath their wheels.

在放松管制前,美国铁路运输状况每况愈下濒临破产。资金回报率从19世纪40年代微薄的4.1% 下降到19世纪60年代的3%以下。1970年宾夕法尼亚中央铁路(giant Penn Central )申请破产倒闭加上金融危机影响对铁路运输业造成了巨大的冲击。到1980年,破产公司拥有的铁路里程占了的全国铁路的五分之一,铁路货运占州际间货物运输的份额由19世纪20年代的75%下降到35%。许多铁轨被长久闲置,缺乏维修保养,导致列车运行速度不断降低,服务质量趋于恶化。当时的人们杜撰出“长期停运”这一词汇,用来形容车轮下的铁轨因经受不住长期停运货车的重力载荷而疲劳失效,造成列车侧翻。

Several factors had combined to bring about this sorry state of affairs. Services and rates were tightly regulated. Companies were obliged to run passenger services that could not make a profit. And road haulage received a huge boost from the building of the interstate highway system, which began in the late 1950s. Although this was supposed to be financed by taxes on petrol and diesel, railmen saw it as a form of subsidy to a new competitor, the nationwide trucking industry. In a neat twist, the poor condition of today’s highways and the lack of public money for repairs have tilted the competitive advantage back to a rejuvenated rail-freight industry.

造成这种糟糕的局面是各方面因素综合作用的结果,首先铁路的服务和价格受到了严格的管制;其次政府禁止铁路公司从客运服务中赢利;再次19世纪50年代高速公路系统的兴建使公路运输业得到了蓬勃发展。尽管使用高速公路是以缴纳汽油和柴油税为代价的,但是铁路雇员还是把它视作资助铁路新竞争者——全国卡车货运输业——的方式。而如今,随着高速公路状况日趋恶化,公共修缮资金缺乏,竞争优势正向铁路运输行业倾斜,完成了一次华丽的转身,铁路业又开始焕发勃勃生机。

Giving the railroads the freedom to run their business as they saw fit led to dramatic improvements. The first result was a sharp rise in traffic and productivity and fall in freight costs. Since 1981 productivity has risen by 172%, after years of stagnation. Adjusted for inflation, rates are down by 55% since 1981 (see chart 1). Rail’s share of the freight market, measured in ton-miles, has risen steadily to 43%—about the highest in any rich country.

铁路运营商按照自己认为合理的方式自由运营铁路取得了惊人的成绩。首先是铁路的运输效率大幅提高和货运价格的下降。经历了多年的停滞不前,自1981年以来铁路运输效率上升了172%。基于通胀的调整,货运价格下降了55%(见图一)。铁路在货运市场上的份额,以英里吨数计算,稳步上升到43%——与任何富裕国家相比都是最高水平。

The $34 billion purchase last year by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), one of the seven main freight railways (see chart 2), opened many Americans’ eyes to the industry’s significance. That America’s shrewdest investor should place his biggest bet on BNSF focused attention on how the country’s railways have been quietly boosting the economy by sucking costs out of many supply chains.

去年沃伦.巴菲特的伯克希尔哈撒韦公司斥资340亿美元收购伯灵顿北方圣达菲铁路公司(BNSF)——美国主要货运铁路之一(见图2),使美国人放开眼界重新认识到这个产业的重要性。美国最精明的投资者应该把他们的赌注压在伯灵顿北方圣达菲身上,因为这家公司一直致力于如何利用铁路赚取众多供应链中的费用成本以默默无闻地推动美国经济的发展。

Coal is the biggest single cargo, accounting for 45% by volume and 23% by value. More than 70% of coal transport is by rail. As demand grows for the lower-sulphur coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, it has to travel farther. In response railroads have invested in more powerful locomotives to haul longer coal trains: since 1990 the average horsepower of their fleet has risen by 72%. Yet energy efficiency has also improved. Lighter, aluminium freight wagons, double-decker ones and more fuel-efficient locomotives have lifted the number of ton-miles per (American) gallon of fuel from 332 to 457—an improvement of 38%.

煤炭是最大的单一运输货物,占总货运体积的45%和货运总值的23%。70%以上的煤炭运输是通过铁路实现的。随着全国对怀俄明州波德河盆地的低硫碳需求量日益上升,煤炭需要被运输到更远的地方。为了满足运输需要,铁路已经投资引进更大功率的车头来牵引更长的煤炭列车:自1990年以来,货运列车的平均马力已经上升了72%。时至今日能源效率也得到很大提升,轻型铝质货运车厢,双层货板和高燃油效率的节能车头的应用使每英里/每加仑汽油(美国)运输的货物吨数从332提升到457,提高了38%。

But the fastest-growing part of rail freight has been “intermodal” traffic: containers or truck trailers loaded on to flat railcars. The number of such shipments rose from 3m in 1980 to 12.3m in 2006, before the downturn caused a slight falling back. Behind this lies the tide of imports coming into the West Coast ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. A special rail expressway for freight, the Alameda Corridor, was opened in 2002 to link the ports to the big national rail routes, bypassing the 200 level crossings (grade crossings, in America) on the original branch lines that used to cause huge traffic jams on the roads as mile-long freight trains rumbled across. The corridor, one of the biggest infrastructure projects in modern America, was completed on time and on budget for $2.4 billion by a public-private partnership considered by many to be a model for other rail schemes, such as California’s proposed high-speed passenger line.

但是铁路货运发展最快的还要算“联运”铁路运输:集装箱或载货挂车被装在平板货车厢上,装载数量由1980年的300万增长到2006年的1230万,但在经济衰退前有轻微下滑。背后的原因在于美国西岸港口城市长滩和洛杉机的进口货物有不断增长的趋势。2002年开通的特快货运铁路线——阿拉梅达(Alameda)把港口和国家主干铁路线连接起来,并绕过了原始铁路各支线上的200个平交道口(美国铁路道口)。从而大大减轻了数英里长的货运列车隆隆驶过平交道口时造成的严重公路交通堵塞。阿拉梅达(Alameda)铁路线作为现代美国最大的基础设施项目之一,在240亿美元的预算资金投入下由公私合营公司如期完成,许多人认为它可以作为其它铁路计划的示例典范,如加州提议建造的高速客运列车线就可以用它作为参考样本。

Despite lots of investment—amounting to $460 billion since 1980, and equivalent to 40% of revenues in recent years—capacity constraints and rising fuel costs pushed up freight rates from 2003 until the onset of recession, since when they have levelled off. This has caused unhappiness among some coal companies which have no alternative means of transport. Although most American rail corridors involve two railroads covering the same origin and destination points, in reality competition is limited. Usually one route is more direct than the other, and if a mining company has sidings and a branch line linked to one railroad it cannot quickly and easily switch to another. Even so, American rail freight is among the cheapest in the world, costing less than half as much as in Japan or Europe. After adjusting for differences in purchasing power it is cheaper even than in China (see chart 3).

尽管投资巨大——自1980年以来总值达4600亿美元,等同于近年铁路总收入的40%——但从2003年开始,运力的限制和不断上升的油价推高了货运价格,这种情况一直持续到到经济衰退开始才算持平。运价的高涨引起了一些只能依靠铁路来运煤的煤矿公司的不满。尽管大多数美国铁路线都包含两条覆盖同一起点和终点的铁轨,但实际上它是限制了竞争。通常一条线的起点到终点的运行距离比另一条要短。如果一个煤矿公司有铁路岔线和分支线连接到一条铁路上,它就不太容易和快速地转到另一条铁路上。即便如此,美国的货运铁路运输仍是世界上最便宜的,其运费还不到日本或欧洲的一半。扣除因购买力差距影响的调整因素,它的运费甚至比中国还便宜(见图3)。

But the past ten years have seen another source of growth, as interstate highways have become clogged in places and have shown the effects of a lack of investment. Since one freight train can carry as much as 280 lorries can, railways can help to limit the rise in road congestion. Trucking companies such as J.B. Hunt have come to see the advantage of putting trailers on flat wagons for long-haul and using roads only for local pickup and delivery. This move was also spurred, according to Mr Phillips, by a shortage of lorry drivers. He says that tougher drink-driving rules and social changes have shrunk the numbers of “good ole boy” truckers inured to a life on the road. Most hauliers now suffer labour turnover of 100% a year.

但是过去十年也见证了另一种运输方式的发展,这是由于一些地方的州际高速公路受投资缺乏的影响,公路变的拥堵不堪。既然一辆货物列车的运载能力是卡车的280倍,那么铁路能帮助改善公路不断拥堵的状况。象J.B.亨特(JB Hunt)这样的卡车运输服务公司逐渐看到把载货拖车放到平板车厢上进行长距离运输,而公路运输只提供当地取货和投递的优势。菲利浦斯(Phillips)先生说,由于卡车司机的匮乏,这项举措得到了鼓励推动。他说严厉的醉驾惩罚条例和社会变革使能够适应路上生活的‘好老弟‘司机数量锐减。现在大多数运输公司每年雇员的跳槽率都达到100%。

Freight railways’ very success is starting to create difficulties for them. The Department of Transportation estimates that many are already exceeding their theoretical capacity and are congested. It estimates that lots more investment will be needed, because capacity will have to rise by nearly 90% to meet forecast demand by 2035. The investment bill could rise yet more because of a change in the pattern of trade: in 2014 the Panama Canal opens a second lane, doubling its capacity and allowing it to carry bigger container vessels and bulk ships. Coming through to Gulf of Mexico and East Coast ports, these vessels will increase the need for better rail links inland.

货运铁路巨大成功也开始给他们制造难题。运输部估计许多货运列车已经超过他们理论上的运载能力,铁路运输交通变得拥挤不堪。要满足到2035年的运输需求,列车运载能力必须增长将近90%,估计还需要投入大量的资金到铁路运输行业。由于商业的形式的变化使得项目投资额度还会增加:2014年巴拿马运河即将开通第二条河道,到时它的货物吞吐量将增长一倍,能承载更大吨位的集装箱货船和大宗货物船只。在墨西哥湾和东岸港口卸货的货船将需要更加完善的内陆铁路网络来满足其日益增长的运输需求。

In addition the freight railroads face a $15 billion bill for a new safety system to control trains on lines that also carry passengers or dangerous chemical cargoes. This system, Positive Train Control (PTC), is intended to stop or slow a train automatically if a driver goes too fast or passes a red signal. The bill to introduce PTC was signed by George Bush in 2008 only a month after a crash between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train in California, causing 25 deaths and 135 injuries. The railway companies complain that only 3% of crashes are caused by the sort of human error that PTC is designed to avert and that claims that the system will improve efficiency on the network are unfounded. Whereas the FRA says that the new safety system will apply to only 65,000 miles (out of a total of over 140,000), the industry reckons it will cover more than half the network. The railways are seeking tax breaks and other subsidies to reduce the cost of complying.

此外,货运列车还面临150亿美元的资金缺口,这笔资金将用于安装全新的安全系统以控制在线营运的列车(包括旅客和危险化学品货物列车)。这套系统称作列车自动控制系统,当列车车速太快或司机擅闯红色信号灯时,这套系统就会工作让列车自动停下来或减速慢行。早在2008年,乔治.布什就签署了引入PTC的议案,是在Metrolink双程列车与加州联合太平洋货运列车发生相撞的事故一个月后,这次事故造成25死135伤。铁路公司抱怨说PTC是被设计避免人为失误造成的撞车事故,但这样的人为事故率只占所有撞车事故的3%。他们还抱怨这个PTC系统所声称的能够有效提高列车网络运营效率根本毫无事实根据。而联邦铁路管理局说这套新的安全控制系统将应用在6万5000英里铁路上(铁路总里程约为14万多英里),铁路行业估计它将覆盖大半个铁路网络。铁路正在寻求税费减免和其它资助资金以减少自己需支付的费用。

Another looming threat is re-regulation. Fed up with increasing rates, customers, notably chemical, coal, agribusiness and utility companies, are complaining that these are evidence that the railroads are abusing their market power. The railroads retort that despite record traffic and profits, their return on investment since 2000 has been only 8%, which according to the Surface Transportation Board, another federal regulator, barely covers the cost of capital. They also say that freight rates are usually governed by what their competitors—ie, truckers—charge. When higher diesel costs put up trucking rates, the railways follow suit.

另一个迫在眉睫的威胁是联邦政府会收回铁路管理权。在饱受了一路攀升的运费价格痛苦后,货运铁路客户——特别是化学品,煤炭,农业综合经营集团和公共事业公司抱怨他们有足够证据表明铁路公司在滥用他们的市场权。铁路反驳说尽管有破记录的铁路运输量和利润,但据另一个联邦管理机构水陆运输委员会数据统计自2002年以来,他们的投资回报一直维持在8%,大多情况下还不够抵销资金成本的费用。他们还说铁路运价通常掌握在他们的竞争者手中——比如卡车运输业。当高价的柴油把卡车运输价格提升上去,铁路运价也随之提高。

Politicians from West Virginia have been pushing a bill in Congress that threatens to re-regulate the railways. The industry seems confident it will not get through, but risks will remain: opposing PTC could play into the hands of those who wish to increase oversight. In his annual letter to shareholders in February Mr Buffett said that BNSF, like Berkshire Hathaway’s electric utilities, required “wise regulators who will provide certainty about allowable returns so that we can confidently make the huge investments required to maintain, replace and expand the plant.”

西弗吉亚州的议员们一直在国会中推动扬言要收回铁路管理权的议案。铁路行业看起来信心十足认为此项议案不会获得通过,但是隐患仍然存在:因为反对PTC很可能让想加强铁路监管的人有机可乘并占据上风。在每年二月份巴菲特致电给他们股东的例信中说,同伯克希尔哈撒韦的电力公用事业公司一样,伯灵顿北方圣太菲铁路公司(BNSF)需要“开明的管理者提供可靠的免税回报额以使我们有信心投入大笔所需资金来维持,并购和扩大公司的规模。”

The emergence of express intercity rail services may cause the freight railways the biggest problem of all. The policy is not only laid down by the president but also often has enthusiastic support at state level. The railways can hardly oppose Mr Obama’s plan to boost high-speed rail, but they are apprehensive about what it will mean for them.

横空出世的城际特快铁路服务也许会让货运铁路面临最为棘手的问题。这项政策不但由总统制定而且总是得到各州的热情支持。铁路行业不可能反对奥巴马推动高速铁路的计划,但是他们忧虑的是此项计划给他们带来的影响将是什么。

The problem is not the creation of new corridors with trains rattling along at 150mph. Such lines, like those proposed in California or between Tampa and Orlando in Florida, would have their own track, separated from existing lines though on the same strip of land as a freight railway. The expertise to build and run these lies mainly in Europe and Japan, where engineering firms and the technology and consulting arms of national railways have been eyeing the American market eagerly.

问题并不在于建造可以让列车以150英里每小时疾驰于铁轨的新铁路专线。象加州提议修建或是弗罗里达州的坦帕和奥兰多之间的那些铁路线会使用自己专用的铁轨。尽管这些轨道与现存的货物铁轨线路在同一区域带,但它们彼此间是分离的。建造和运营这样线路的专业团队主要在欧洲和日本,那里的国家铁路工程公司和技术咨询部门一直热切地注视着这块炙手可热的美国市场。

The trouble for the freight railways is that almost all the planned new fast intercity services will run on their tracks. Combining slow freight and fast passenger trains is complicated. With some exceptions on Amtrak’s Acela and North East corridor tracks, level crossings are attuned to limits of 50mph for freight and 80mph for passenger trains. But Mr Obama’s plan boils down to running intercity passenger trains at 110mph on freight tracks. Add the fact that freight trains do not stick to a regular timetable, but run variable services at short notice to meet demand, and the scope for congestion grows.

货运铁路公司的烦恼在于几乎所有计划中的快速城际列车服务将运行在他们的铁轨上。让慢速货物列车和快速客运列车在同一轨道上运行将会使交通情况变得相当复杂。除了美铁阿西乐和东北铁路轨道线以外,货运列车需要以50英里每小时,客运列车以80英里每小时限速通过平交道口。但奥巴马计划的目标是让城际列车在货运轨道上的运行时速达到110英里每小时。货运列车通常都没有固定的运行时刻表,他们是根据临时通知来提供不同的服务来满足客户需要,这就扩大了铁路交通拥堵的机会。


Return of regulation
管理回归


The freight railroads have learned to live with the limited Amtrak passenger services on their tracks. Occasionally they moan that Amtrak pays only about a fifth of the real cost of this access. Some railmen calculate that this is equivalent to a subsidy of about $240m a year, on top of what Amtrak gets from the government. Freight-rail people regard this glumly as just part of the cost of doing business, but their spirits will hardly lift if the burden grows.

货运铁路已经学会接受让有限的美铁客运服务使用它们的铁轨。偶尔他们也会抱怨美铁只支付了实际铁路使用费用的五分之一。一些铁路员工计算了下这笔费用相当于一年2.4亿美元的资助资金,与美铁从联邦政府得到的补贴接近。铁路货运公司只能无奈地把美铁未支付的那些费用当作部分运营蚀掉的成本。如果负担再加重的话,他们的士气恐怕很难再提升起来。

Their main complaint, however, is that one Amtrak passenger train at 110mph will remove the capacity to run six freight trains in any corridor. Nor do they believe claims that PTC, due to be in use by 2015, will increase capacity by allowing trains to run closer together in safety. So it will cost billions to adapt and upgrade the lines to accommodate both a big rise in freight traffic and an unprecedented burgeoning of intercity passenger services. Indeed, some of the money that the White House has earmarked will go on sidings where freight trains can be parked while intercity expresses speed by.

然而他们最主要抱怨是时速110英里每小时的美铁客运列车运营在任何一条铁路线上都将有6辆在此路线上运营的货运列车需要停运。他们也不相信预定在2015年投入使用并声称能让列车在更短的安全距离上运行的PTC系统能够使运力增加。因此需要花费数十亿美元改造升级铁路以解决增长迅速的铁路货运和前所未有蓬勃发展的城际客运服务。事实上,白宫已拨专款用于兴建铁路岔线轨道以便在城际特快列车驶过的时候货运列车能够在岔线上临时躲避停靠。

Federal and state grants will flow to the freight railroads to help them upgrade their lines for more and faster passenger trains. But already rows are breaking out over the strict guidelines the FRA will lay down about operations on the upgraded lines, such as guarantees of on-time performance with draconian penalties if they are breached and the payment of indemnities for accidents involving passenger trains. The railroads are also concerned that the federal government will be the final arbiter of how new capacity created with the federal funds will be allocated between passenger and freight traffic. And they are annoyed that there was little consultation before these rules were published.The railroads are also concerned that the federal government will be the final arbiter of how new capacity created with the federal funds will be allocated between passenger and freight traffic.

联邦政府和州政府用于货运铁路的拨款即将到位以帮助他们升级改造铁路线以应对更多和更高速的客运列车。但是对于联邦铁路管理局即将为改造后的铁路制定严格的操作规程,激烈的口水战就已四处爆发了。操作规程包括铁路应保证提供按时服务,一旦破坏规程就要遭到严厉处罚;对于包括客运列车在内的事故损失,铁路公司要负责支付赔偿金。他们很气恼在这些规定生效前很少对他们进行过相关意见的咨询。铁路运营商也关心掌握最终决断权的联邦政府如何将联邦政府的资金合理分配给客运列车和铁路运输以创造新的运能。

There have been some heated meetings between freight-railroad managers and FRA officials.Henry Posner III, chairman of Iowa Interstate Railroad, ruefully notes that freight railroads, in the form of passengers and regulation, “are getting back things that caused trouble”.

货运铁路管理者与联邦铁路管理局的官员之间已经有过不少激烈争辩并继续下去。波斯纳亨利III( Henry Posner III),爱荷华州州际铁路线总裁,沮丧地表示以客运形式管理的货运铁路会带来更多的麻烦。