Serving the Track Maintenance needs of the Midwest since 1987


wheat field

3 Industries That Rely on The Railroad System

According to the BLS, Railroads haul the most freight of any transport type in the US when you consider both the amount of weight carried as well as the sheer distance it must travel. It’s clear that without the railroad system, many industries would cease to operate as the sheer volume of their output would be impossible to carry by other other means to transportation. Supporting the claim that the railroad system is an integral part of the economic backbone of the country, the BLS also states that the railroad system is a great barometer of how well the economy is doing. Nevertheless, here are 3 industries that strongly rely on the railroad system to have their needs met.

1 – The Automotive Industry

It would be all too easy to state that the coal or steel industry relies on railroads the most, that would be a given. Who relies on steel? There are two “essential” industries that we will list below, but this is a good example of an industry that is more commercially oriented but strongly relies on freight. Not only are cars great, big pieces of steel put together well, but they’re also reliant on rail transport to get to where they need.

Sure, when you visit a dealership and they need to deliver your car before you can drive it home, perhaps that one car may be driven down or towed to your location, but how does all of the inventory get there? Multiple dealerships with hundreds of cars, they are not manufactured on location of course! These are things civilians outside of the industry do not consider. There are 40+ automotive plants in the United States alone, consider how many cars are produced in the country by the leading manufacturers. The railroad system carries all of their output to the respective states they need to end up in.

2 – Construction

Without train freight, construction would occur at a pace far too slow for anyone’s needs. Construction is always ongoing, as society continues to modernize to the latest advancements in architectural standards, developing new land, or renovating existing infrastructure, train freight supplies the materials. Steel, stone, wood, plastics, and minerals all heavy cargo and without powerful locomotives and well maintained tracks, they’d never make it there. According to the AAR (Association of American Railroads), freight railroads moved 1.5 million carloads of lumber, steel, and other materials in 2018. Not only that, but 20% of all steel products are immediately used for the purposes of construction after processing at steel mills.

3 – Food and Agriculture Products

The term “from farm to table” has become incredibly popular in recent years. As the developed world asks greater questions about what a good diet entails, how much meat we should eat, and what are the most sustainable methods of farming, agriculture, and consumption, the railroads are always at work to transport agricultural products under the current demands.

While freight carries many things relevant to farming such as fertilizers or goods such as canned foods, grain is one of the most important things transported. Things such as corn, oats, wheat, rice, barley, etc, are used in just about every food industry you can think of. These base ingredients are the essence of the country’s dietary needs; consider how much grain is needed to feed livestock alone.

Midwest Railroad Contractor

At RS Track, we pride ourselves on our track rehabilitation and maintenance. When the tracks are down, so too are these industries (and many more) that make up much of the country’s need for raw materials.

If you are seeking a qualified railroad track contractor, look no further than R&S Track. We boast a 100% customer satisfaction policy and are a compliant and certified Railroad Track Contractor.

Contact us today to receive price estimate or if you have any questions you’d like to ask us!

railroad track steel ties

Constructing New Tracks? Which Railroad Ties to Use

Whether you are constructing new railroad tracks to replace old and worn tracks, or you’re doing maintenance on current tracks, the most essential part of having a stable track line is what ties you choose to use. There is always a question of what the situation demands, what budget allows for, and what is available and in what quantities. For this reason, there are several different materials that are used depending on the circumstances.

Wooden Railroad Ties

A variety of wood types were used when creating wooden rail ties such as hardwood and softwood timbers. The main benefit to using wood is that it is relatively inexpensive and can be obtained in greater quantities—which is important when you’re laying down track, the miles add up. However, these benefits have been fading as the years draw on as timber becomes much more difficult to acquire.

 The drawback to using wooden ties is that wood is susceptible to rotting due to moisture. Splitting is another issue that compromises the integrity of that particular railway track. Not as common, but dangerous nonetheless, is that wood ties can catch fire.

Overall, wood has a good balance of longevity and cost which makes it a solid option for using in your railway ties. It’s also the most commonly used tie—according to the RTA, which states that roughly 15 million of the 17 million installed ties are wood. That’s over 90%!

Concrete Railroad Ties

Concrete rail ties benefit from being very inexpensive to purchase and can at times be easier to acquire compared to timber. Concrete rail ties are also excellent for carrying heavier weights and are very stable, thus allowing for higher rail speeds.

Steel Railroad Ties

Steel ties have in the past been badly abused due to rapidly changing conditions and technology imposed on them. Many of these old steel ties are actually still faithfully in service today globally which is a testament to steel despite being outdated in design.

Modern steel ties can handle significantly heavier loads and environmental conditions. Creosote-treated wood ties and concrete ties are more impractical to install compared to steel. One of the reasons is that steel can be neatly stacked and transported more easily, it’s also lighter and can be more easily installed onto the existing track ballast than other materials.

Railroad Tie Installation

R&S Track is a premier railroad contractor in the Midwest United States. We have proudly been in business for over 27 years and have had the confidence of numerous companies seeking a variety of solutions including but not limited to:

  • Consulting
  • Surveying
  • Project Design
  • Railroad Tie Installation/Track Maintenance
  • New Track Construction

We have a 100% track record of customer satisfaction. Don’t believe us? Drop us a line and references will be available on request. Call us now at (402)-564-1801 for any service inquiries or price estimates!

railroad track dry lands

What Does a Railroad Track Contractor Do?

The Importance of the Railway System

While many people might consider railroads a thing of a bygone era, they still offer an incredibly means of transport for a variety of raw materials and goods that must make their way across the contiguous United States. Steel, lumber, and all manner of incredibly important industrial necessities make their way en masse through railroads. Without these materials, many industries would come to a screeching halt as their means of production has been stifled. As you might imagine, this means that the railroad system in the United States serves an incredible important function as part of the backbone of the economic growth of the country.

What Services do Railroad Track Contractors Offer?

In the aforementioned paragraph, we talked about how important the railway system is to economic growth and for the function of many critical industries. Because of how important the railway system is, it means that there must always be talented people who can maintain the integrity of the railroads to ensure their proper functioning.

Railroad Track Consulting

How many people do you know have intimate knowledge of how railroad tracks work? Like all industries a compliant and certified railroad track contractor can offer professional counsel on how to lay tracks, repair them, maintain them, and most importantly understand what to look for when performing an inspection.

Railroad Track Rehabilitation

Track rehabilitation provides the bulk of services for many railroad contractors. Many existing railways have been around for several decades. From rain to snow to sunshine the elements beat on these tracks every single day. Spanning hundreds of miles it isn’t unusual that many parts of tracks become exceedingly worn over time and are in need of serious repair lest they risk derailments, loss of cargo, and other impediments to business as well as passenger safety.

Track maintenance and rehabilitation go hand in hand. Remember it’s not just the tracks themselves that require touch ups but also the more intricate parts such as the switches, bolts, fasteners.

New Rail Construction

We’ve already observed how critical the railway system is to industry, so it makes sense that laying new tracks is important after project design and surveying efforts have brought forth the best solutions for current pathing needs. As companies grow and expand, naturally they will need to be a part of a new line or connected to a current track line so that they can transport their goods as efficiently as possible.

Midwest Railroad Contractor

R&S Track has been servicing the track maintenance needs of the Midwest since 1987! We have an excellent—no pun intended, track record of getting the job done. We are OSHA safety compliant, DOT safety compliant, as well as ISNET certified.

Servicing railways is a job that has a level of danger that comes with it. It is crucial that you partner with a railroad contractor that not only can get the job done, but also respects the rails.

Contact us today for all of your railway servicing needs and we’ll be happy to answer your call as well as any questions you may have.