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31: Intermodal Trains Change the Bottom Line (editor's title)

BNSF piggyback train along Columbia River
Intermodal traffic, consisting of truck trailers or shipping containers loaded on flatcars, dates back to the beginning of railroading, but started becoming popular and important only in the 1950s. Substantial growth began in the 1980s, and in 2003, intermodal revenue surpassed revenue from transporting coal for the first time ever on U.S. Class I railroads. In this view, a BNSF Railway intermodal train travels eastward along the Columbia River at Horsethief Lake, Washington, in 2008. The Columbia River is an important transportation artery in the Pacific Northwest, providing the only water-level route through the Cascade Mountains. The BNSF line along the north bank was completed in 1908 by the Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway; Union Pacific already occupied the south bank. Today, both railroads operate near-capacity, while barges ply the waters and highway I-84 parallels the Union Pacific line on the Oregon side of the river.

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Alternate Title Railroad History in a Nutshell
Source Scott Lothes, Corvallis, Oregon
Coverage Spatial, Horsethief Lake, Washington; Temporal, January 16, 2008
Rights Scott Lothes
Date Created 2008-01-16
Resource Type
Extent 8.2 megapixel RAW file
Depicted Railroad
Location Horsethief Lake, Washington
Creator Description Scott Lothes grew up in West Virginia and Ohio, and has a bachelorís degree in mechanical engineering. He worked for three years as the assistant editor of an engineering magazine, and then spent two years living, traveling, and teaching English in Asia. He won the 2003 Trains magazine photography contest and was co-winner of the Center's 2006 Creative Photography Award. Lothes has been studying railroads in literature for several years, and hopes to continue those studies in graduate school.
Collection Scott Lothes Collection
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