Why can't the US build basic rail?

Devdas

Ad Honorem
Apr 2015
4,853
India
I was quite surprised that rail transport in US didn't switch to electrified track to control pollution and cost cost. Unlike their European counterpart.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,936
Sydney
the locomotives are often diesel-electric , the diesel power a generator
I suppose it's because of the fragmented ownership of the rail lines , most of the traffic is freight
not having an electric grid is a great saving both in installation , maintenance and operation
electric power is used for commuter traffic , in the US that would be the suburban lines

locomotives don't have to be changed to conform to whatever requirements apply on one line ,
diesel work everywhere
it also make it more economical for the manufacturers to have some "universal" type

the above is just a supposition , here is some ( pro electric )discussion on the subject
Electrification of U.S. Railways: Pie in the Sky, or Realistic Goal? | Article | EESI.
and an anti electric one
http://energyskeptic.com/2016/electrification-of-freight-rail/
 
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