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Solutionary Rail: A people-powered campaign to electrify America’s railroads and open corridors to a clean energy future

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When the United States seems intensely divided and polarized beyond collaboration, a new book declares that our railroads hold the promise of uniting communities and diverse sectors of our country in common cause for the common good. Solutionary Rail: A people-powered campaign to electrify America’s railroads and open corridors to a clean energy future was released in November 2016, just days after the 2016 election. 

The authors and organizers of the Solutionary Rail campaign make the case that the non-ideological coalition they are working to organize will bring diverse and often competing interests together in support of a public-private partnership to deliver jobs and renewed prosperity to rural and urban communities alike. They offer this hopeful message with a plan to move America forward - not backward - expanding clean, renewable energy and reducing sources of carbon in the atmosphere.

"Rail electrification, as proposed in this remarkable book, is that rarest of things: a genuinely new idea, and one that makes immediate gut sense," says author and activist, Bill McKibben, who wrote the forward for Solutionary Rail

Rail, unique among forms of mass transportation, can easily be electrified. Because electricity is increasingly coming from clean sources such as sun and wind, rail has the potential to serve as a clean and reliable form of transportation while invigorating communities along the way. The Solutionary Rail book proposes overhead rail electrification, powered by renewable energy accomplished in conjunction with track modernization. This infrastructural investment will bring to the United States the reliable, electrified, higher-speed service now common on public railroads in Europe, Asia and elsewhere.

Such service can draw significant portions of freight and passenger business lost to highways and aviation back to the tracks. Increased speeds, of up to 120mph, will revitalize rural communities along the tracks: Farmers will be able to ship their crops to market in a timely manner, public health problems caused by diesel exhaust will be greatly reduced and (eventually) coal dust will be eliminated in rural and urban communities alike.

The electrification infrastructure above the tracks will pass through diverse weather systems and countless rural power cooperatives, municipal and tribal utility service areas. High voltage transmission lines above those used for the trains will transport renewable energy from rural production sources to large urban markets, giving rural communities the opportunity to profit from currently untapped resources.

This proposal is a win for nearly everyone, railroad companies and the public alike, especially for rural communities, tribes, railroad workers and urban neighborhoods impacted by diesel from trucks, ships and trains.

Review copies of the Solutionary Rail book are available for press upon request. Additional resources, artwork and captions for publication can be found at:

Media Contacts:

person_outline  Full Name:Bill Moyer
phone  Phone Number:206-356-9980
business_center  Company:Backbone Campaign
language  Website:
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