Despite Economy, Waste-by-Rail Interest is on the Rise by both the Private Sector and Public Agencies

Rail HaulMost recently, WIH Resource Group has been contacted and retained by a range of public and private sector clients to assist in performing wastebyrail feasibility studies, facility siting studies, waste generator radius market studies and to conduct financial analysis for various clients throughout the nation. 
While waste volumes are down on average between 25% and 35%, a growing interest in railroading waste from large metro areas (Cities) to more remote rail-served, or near rail- served, landfills is on the rise.
The timing of this renewed interest in Wastebyrail is interesting as general freight volumes for the major Class One Railroads are down considerable so the railroads’ interest in potential Wastebyrail programs might be of greater interest now then when other freight is maximizing the railroads’ system capacity.
Of particular interest is that Investor mogul Warren Buffett and his investing company, Berkshire Hathaway, made a bid last week to acquire BNSF Railway for $34 billion.
BNSF LocomotiveBerkshire Hathaway already owned about 22 percent of BNSF, the nation’s second largest Class One railroad.
The deal, which including Berkshire’s previous investment and the assumption of $10 billion in Burlington Northern debt brings the total value to $44 billion, represents what Mr. Buffett said was a big bet on the United States Railroads.
He told CNBC in an interview that railroad operators cannot do well unless American businesses were producing goods and customers were buying them.

This move by Buffett will most likely spur even more interests in railroad transportation.  Railroad transportation compared to Trucking allows for an approximate 3:1 ratio of weight and volume per rail car to that of an individual truck.  By comparison, and on a per ton calculation, rail emits a much smaller percentage of harmful diesel-fuel carcinogens than that of trucking.  In addition, the cost for rail transportation is almost a third to that of trucking costs for the same traffic lane. 

In terms of the future of Wastebyrail, it makes the most economic sense when regional disposal rates exceed $65-$75.00 per ton, such as in the Northeast part of the U.S. and Northwest, and where the nearest regional rail-served landfill is between 250-350 miles one way from the waste generators.  Seattle, Los Angeles, New York and New Jersey are a few examples of where Wastebyrail makes sound economic sense, especially as siting new landfills is increasingly more difficult in large metropolitan areas.
WIH Resource Group is a leader in Providing Client Specific Recycling and Waste Management Solutions.  WIH Resource Group provides its clients with recycling and comprehensive business solutions, specializing in, among other services, waste management operational performance assessments, transportation / logistics, alternative fuel use, solid waste planning, waste and recycling market studies and environmental services.
WIH Resource Group also has in-depth experience in assessing needs and enhancing recycling programs.  WIH Resource Group and its unique team have extensive program background and experience assisting local government clients assessing and optimizing their recycling programs. 
As an example, in the past WIH has completed multi-facility Material Recovery Facility (MRF) performance assessments for King County, Washington and recently completed assisting Apache County Arizona in conducting a recycling feasibility study.

Sources: WIH Resource Group & Berkshire Hathaway

Should you have any questions about this news or general questions about our diversified services, please contact Bob Wallace, Principal & VP of Client Solutions at WIH Resource Group and Waste Savings, Inc. at

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