Re: Union Pacific and autonomous trains [from Trains newswire]
Author: Milton Freewater
Date: 05-07-2021 - 07:43
Even parked 50% of the time (on the side of the interstate because the rest stops are the same ones our smaller economy needed 40 years ago) truck drivers AND equipment runs CIRCLES around the high tech, monster train rail industry.
That's why trucks have 90% market share, and Class 1's don't even bother with regionally competitive pricing.
Class 1's are hyper-perfecting circa late 1900's railroading. If they want a more relevant future or market share it will need to be O-D direct, smaller trains that don't waste so much capital and labor trying to get or stay huge. That's where the real savings lie (peopled or robotized).
The 20th Century was an interesting time to be a railroader, but the decision makers will prefer automation in the end because it will be not only cheaper but more reliably safe at any hour, independent of how much of the labor pool would prefer to have a pot habit or heck just draw unemployment. Old hands can hate on it, but to the extent people try to keep people staffing trains railroads will slip another notch competitively.
Ever consider that high annual cost per employee is what drives Class 1's to run stupid scale aggregated trains? At least they've noticed hump yards aren't where it's at anymore.