We celebrate National Ship Via Rail Day on May 10. It annually brings to the spotlight the advantages of shipping by rail and utilizing railroads and continues to promote railroad and short-line railroad shipping, which has been a focus of Progressive Rail Incorporated. If you’re a younger reader, you may not know that trains were once the best way to transport and ship mail and packages before online shopping was. For the more mature readers, don’t worry; we’ve got your backs with some fascinating facts and historical timelines so you can go down memory lane.
History of National Ship Via Rail Day
Before there was FedEx, D.H.L., and U.P.S. delivery of more oversized items and items in bulk were transported via trains. A freight train, cargo train, or goods train is a group of freight cars or goods wagons hauled by one or more locomotives on a railway. These trains transport cargo between the shipper and the intended destination as part of the logistics chain. There are even specially designed cars for trains that can transport bulk material, intermodal containers, general freight, or specialized freight. The majority of tonnage carried by most freight railroads is bulk cargo, which is seen as commodity cargo that is transported in large quantities still in its original packaging.
Typically, these freight and cargo trains can transport shipbuilding and construction materials, household goods like furniture and appliances, vehicles, liquids like diesel and petroleum, food, and beverages in bulk. Though rail transportation is more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly than road transportation, rail has lost much of its freight business to the alternate form of transport because of its shortcomings regarding flexibility. Unlike road transportation, which uses trucks, rail transportation ensures that goods that would otherwise be delivered on multiple trucks are transported in a single shipment. This saves a lot of money when it comes to transportation costs. External costs for rail freight transport are also very low, and as a result, many governments have encouraged the transition of freight from trucks to trains, citing the environmental benefits.
In May of 2021, on the 100 anniversary of completing the Transcontinental Railroad in Promontory Point in Utah, Progressive Rail Incorporated established National Ship Via Rail Day to emphasize the advantages of shipping by rail utilizing railroads and to promote railroad and short-line railroad shipping.
National Ship Via Rail Day timeline
Wagonways mark the beginning of modern rail transport, making horse-drawn wagons practical.
Great Britain exports locomotives to the United States, and cargo delivery is via rail.
Electric and diesel locomotives gradually start replacing steam locomotives.
The majority of steam locomotives retire from regular service routes.
National Ship Via Rail Day establishes Progressive Rail Incorporated to promote rail shipping.
National Ship Via Rail Day FAQs
What is the most common freight train?
A boxcar is almost certainly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a train car. It is because boxcars are the gold standard of rail freight, constituting the majority of many trains.
How fast can a freight train go?
According to F.R.A. researchers, trains carrying freight can currently travel at speeds of up to 70 mph to 80 mph but unloaded trains typically travel at speeds of 40 to 50 mph.
How much fuel does a train hold?
A locomotive can hold 4,000 gallons of fuel on average and can be powered twice during its daily trip. Railroads are responsible for operating their fueling stations.
National Ship Via Rail Day Activities
Take a ride on a vintage train
A handful of authentic, vintage trains are still in service that now caters exclusively to travelers seeking luxury transport. These trains have been restored to reflect their golden age, and many people travel this way when they want an authentic experience. Look into the options locally, and book your next trip via train. You won’t regret it.
Read a book about the history of trains
There is a very long history of trains and how they have adapted through the years, from the type of cargo they transport to their interiors; it’s a fascinating look at transport through the ages. Pick up a book from your local bookstore or search for some online resources where you can immerse yourself and learn something new about something that has been around for centuries.
Ship something via rail to a loved one
This may be a tad trickier than the other two suggestions, but some train services will still do this for you, even if you are not moving something in bulk. Send your loved one a special care package or a new appliance via train, all in the name of the experience. It will illustrate what it felt like in the old days, and you are assured of the safe shipping of your cargo since these trains very rarely stop while traveling.
5 Crazy Train And Railroad Facts
Abraham Lincoln is responsible for train travel
The president’s body was transported through 180 cities on his way to Lincoln’s home in Illinois.
A horse was faster than the train
In 1830, the first American locomotive was defeated by a horse after a friendly railside race.
Loving trains is a hobby
There is a global community of train enthusiasts who are interested in all things railway related.
We almost didn’t have a U.S. railroad
The Great Depression railroad systems failed the railway system to motor vehicles transport.
The land is historic
The world’s longest train journey was from Portugal to Vietnam, covering 10,056 miles in 12 days.
Why We Love National Ship Via Rail Day
Trains are historical
Trains have been around for centuries and have delivered various services, from transporting goods and cargo to hosting guests in five-star rooms on long, cross-country journeys. We love the romance of a train ride and the safety and efficiency of shipping via rail. Trains are the ultimate throwback and need to be celebrated.
Shipping started somewhere
Today, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to getting our purchases shipped to us with courier services like FedEx and D.H.L. Group, but we need to look back and appreciate how far we have come since the days when the only mode of transport or shipping were trains. Trains are an underappreciated shipping method and can, in many cases, be safer than air or water.
It’s a throwback to the old days
We live in a world where experiences matter more than material things, so when it comes to seeking our exclusive, luxury experiences, people seek out unique ways of travel for one. Travel by train today is vastly different from in the early 1900s, with fully custom rooms, bathrooms, and even storage for your car. If you have the means to try it you may never look back.
National Ship Via Rail Day dates