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The Wall Street Journal has a story on issues surrounding the "virtual pipeline," and it's hard to know where to begin sorting out what's what. The easy part is defining our terms: a virtual pipeline is the mile-long, or longer, hookup of railroad tanker cars that carry oil from places like North Dakota to refineries throughout the country. The issue in the Journal piece is that the oil trains aren't bound by the same safety regimen as traditional pipelines, and that their routes are often state

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No one hurt in accident caught on film by train buff

James Wood was recording a video of a passing Union Pacific because his four-year-old son has a fascination with trains. He wound up with dramatic footage of a puzzling accident at a Utah railroad crossing.

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Chicago-area mom drove around gates at railroad crossing, dies in collision with train

Gates were down and functioning properly at the railroad crossing, according to witnesses. Tristan Hicks Williams, 26, drove her minivan around them anyway.

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While the fuel efficiency of new vehicles is clearly an important issue today, it's certainly not the only area where emissions and fuel consumption can be reduced. Carmakers are scrambling to reduce all their energy use to save money. The latest effort from Honda is the new Auto-Max rail car. Honda worked with Greenbrier companies to develop the Auto-Max and has now deployed 400 of them. Honda is shipping 82 percent of its vehicles by rail and the new rail cars can hold up to 22 vehicles compar

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John R. Stilgoe, Robert and Lois Orchard Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Graduate School of Design, predicts that trains will once again play a key role in shaping American life. Based on an analysis of real estate investment patterns along railroad corridors, Stilgoe predicts that trains will make an important comeback, and not only for long distances but also back for freight, mail and express packages.

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