Rail Alternatives to Snake River Barging

This presentation, June 30, 2022, discussed the capacity of the Snake River system to mode shift grain off of barges and onto trains.

Check out our UPDATED LSR Barge2Rail slidedeck HERE. It provides a lot of useful information and maps to support our policy recommendations/action steps

Watch our newest presentation on Solutionary Rail's work on barge to rail mode shift at:

Don't miss our Action Steps document. View or download the PDF of Planning for Resilience - Action Steps HERE.

The Pacific Northwest is home to the greatest potential salmon habitat in the lower 48 - but access to the most prime salmon streams is blocked by 140 miles of slackwater reservoirs and 4 dams, primarily operated for barging grain from the Inland Northwest to ports on the Washington and Oregon coasts. The Lower Snake River Dams Benefit Replacement Draft Report (released June 2022) commissioned by Governor Inslee and Senator Murray acknowledges that we can replace LSR barging with rail, but does not detail a plan for doing so.

The Solutionary Rail Team has been working on elements of such a plan.

We've collaborated with rail planner Tom White who joined us on this call, as well as Paul Didelius and others in the PNW to analyze the capacity for and energy footprint of a mode shift from barge to rail in the area currently served by the LSR barges. Tom's detailed analysis reveals potential increased trip capacity and opportunities for electrification.

A deep dive into the current and historical rail service illuminates a series of potential steps in the path forward.
Listen and learn how mode shift from barge to rail could:

1. Reduce truck miles on the road to lower wear and tear costs, improve safety and reduce truck emissions.

2. Create more competition for grain transport and better prices for farmers and co-ops.

3. Reduce GHG emissions from trains through use of battery/electric and fuel cell hybrid AND largely replace traction power impact by recovering much of that power through regenerative braking.

Take action:
Let Senator Murray, Governor Inslee, as well as Senator Cantwell and other policy leaders know about this research.Recommend that they integrate these rail improvements into their plan to breach the Lower Snake dams. Again, please utilize our LSR Barge2Rail slidedeck and share it with policy makers to support our recommendations. Thank you!

Here's our previous conversation with Tom White on his work related to LSR barge to rail mode shift:

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