By: Chris Morrison
With transportation costs up, one of the oldest icons of the Industrial Age is once again coming to prominence. Trains are the object of interest in the United States at levels not seen for decades, with some of the most foresightful investors around — including the world’s richest man, Warren Buffet — placing billions of dollars on old-line companies like Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern.
The reason behind the trend is fairly obvious. Most investors have begun to believe that today’s high fuel prices are permanent (see the interview with Chris Nelder, below, for more). In addition, trains are seen as a good way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as one train can tote as much freight as hundreds of trucks, or as many people as thousands of cars.