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Through the center of my tiny town passes a mainline for at least three freights per day, and innumerable commuter runs between Gardner and Boston. The many who live directly across the streets (one on each side of the tracks) from the tracks must either become oblivious, deaf, or demented, for be the rail-rules are that prior to each crossing the horn has to be blown three times. Be it day or middle-of-night, not just a toot-toot-toot. It's a TOOOOOOOOOT . . .T0000000000000000=== TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOt. The freights go on through the W. MA Hoosac Tunnel and then probably interline the freight on routes all over the country.
I'm almost a mile distant, but often I'm wakened. And the mile+ long consists of condolas and tanks and box cars and myriad intermodal units (most carrying JB Hunt trailers or containers) . . . actually shake the ground so that things rattle in my dwelling. A lot of weight goes, it seems, unregulated over the rails.
But far better there than over the highways. Just the wear and tear of commercial-laden roads is a disaster. The railroads are built to survive it nicely. The ton/mile differential of fuel consumption/costs between truck and rail should render long-haul trucking extinct before long, even without the driver cost factor. On one typical freight I counter 129 trailer/or/container units. Over the road, each would have had to have a driver in a cab hooked to it. The train crew is, I believe 2 individuals.
Transportation, even disruptive and potentially dangerous, is inherent in "advanced" civilization. We can't very well expect to shut a lot down that we may feel less than green about unless we significantly change society as a system. We want the products of progress, we have allow them to get from wherever to your local whatever, even if the ways and means might deafen . . . . or less likely, detonate. Or . . . . do we revert to having the less of the pre-consumer frenzy days and what we do have make locally out of whatever there is available?
An hour ago I finished reading WASTE AND WANT by Susan Strasser. I recommend it. I also recommend that we should be preparing for a socio-revision that not only curtails trans-global shipments, but even criminalizes interstate commutes every weekday amid "rush-hour" 10 mph (av.) traffic into and out of major cities while all the cylinders of 100 mph/ zero-60 in 5 seconds/ engines are all firing. We consider that an aspect of progress?