Railroads Hopping Aboard Green Marketing Trend

Train pushed as eco-friendlier option—and environmentalists are conceding the point
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2008 8:08 PM CDT
A conductor waves on a freight train west of Calgary. Shipping across North America is booming as fuel prices spike and highway congestion worsens.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Often maligned as noxious-fume-spewing bad citizens, railroad companies are hopping the green train, the Wall Street Journal reports. Campaigns by Norfolk Southern and CSX tout clean-burning diesel engines that "can move a ton of freight 423 miles on a single gallon," and Union Pacific claims diverting 25% of truck freight to trains would prevent 800,000 tons of pollution by 2025.

"In general, train transportation is much more fuel-efficient that trucking," a representative for one green group concedes, though others say railroads have been slow to make meaningful environmental changes. Still, companies hope the greener image will gain traction; increased highway congestion and high fuel prices are driving demand, and they'll need public funding to increase capacity.