I’m a supporter of using rail as a transportation resource to bridge markets and create jobs. And recently, I’ve heard of a project that is doing exactly this.
It’s called RailEx. And this is a dedicated train that is running from Wallula, Washington to Rotterdam, New York. There is a second train that runs from Delano, California also to Rotterdam. The trains take about five days to arrive at Rotterdam and are loaded with fresh vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, celery, carrots and in addition the trains are also carrying wine. The RailEx train is in a cold chain meaning that the product carried is maintained at a certain temperature. When I first heard of the RailEx project I was skeptical believing that this had already been tried before, and unsuccessfully.
It has been done before the difference here is that before the railroads would try and deliver the produce laden trains directly to major metropolitan centers on the east coast i.e., New York and Boston which involve further costs and rail congestion unlike Rotterdam, NY which is close enough but still far enough away to not have these logistical issues. My sense is that recent technological improvements to train operations, computers and refrigeration are also components that will make this project successful and in the end bring fresh food and wine to New Hampshire and Northeast consumers while at the same time opening up new markets for producers in the western part of the United States.
I can hear it now. NH politicans will have plenty of wine and grapes to eat. Just like Rome!
Rotterdam, New York is a good location to serve Northeast markets but I’m just wondering if a location in places like Portsmouth, NH, Portland, Maine or White River Junction, Vermont might be even closer to the markets that are being served. RailEx has made a multimillion dollar investment in the Rotterdam, NY facility so this is done but perhaps as the rail service gets more established there might be satellite or similar operations up here in New England. But I’m not going to waste much time asking state agencies like DRED to try and advance an idea like this in the name of needed economic development and jobs. I mean no disrespect but I think Commissioner George Bald has done absolutely nothing for this state. Yet he gets renominated!
This is a video I found on UTUBE about the RailEx service. And I’ll state my bias upfront I think the Price Chopper Supermarkets are better than the competition throughout New Hampshire such as Shaw’s, Hannaford, Deomoulas, etc. And I think with RailEx they’ll be even better!
Source: Iowa Public Television.