Progressive Railroading

Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

All fields are required.

Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends


Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RailAmerica short line starts coast-to-coast fruit service, donates disaster-relief shipment for New York

A recently introduced coast-to-coast fruit service brought to a close five years of planning for RailAmerica Inc. and its partners, and helped open the door to a disaster relief shipment of apples and pears to New York.

RailAmerica announced that its 134-mile Cascade & Columbia River Railroad (CSCD) last week launched Washington Fruit Express, a long-planned joint effort between RailAmerica, Amtrak, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Washington Department of Transportation, ExpressTrak LLC and Washington state fruit growers to transport fresh fruit in rail cars from Washington to East Coast markets.

Washington Fruit Express moves apples, pears and cherries to eastern markets in refrigerated ExpressTrak box cars attached to Amtrak passenger trains — as many as six cars per trip.

The five-day service is designed to open new markets for Washington's fruit growers, relieve a long-haul truck shortage, save fuel, help reduce pollution, lower highway maintenance costs, and provide a new revenue source for the short line and other service partners.

CSCD last week loaded the first shipment of apples and pears into refrigerated box cars on its Brewster, Wash., line; the cars were coupled behind Amtrak's Empire Builder train, and moved to retail outlets in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and New England.

"Traditionally, this produce was moved by truck due to time sensitivity, but this solution allows rail to be highly competitive with trucks," said Gary Marino, RailAmerica chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement.

Washington Fruit Service also was able to play a role in New York disaster relief efforts. CSCD and other service partners late last week arranged a shipment of donated fruit to New York; 2,000 boxes of apples and pears Sept. 17 left Washington and are expected to arrive in New Jersey by early morning Sept. 22 for delivery to a local food bank.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/18/2001