Our future Northern Lights Express (NLX) needs every opportunity to create a yearly profit. The additional revenue could then be reinvested in the line, making the experience of riding our new line even better.

Here are just three ways.

First, rent real estate in, around, and above NLX stations. Passenger-train corporations, such as the Japan Railways Group, make money by developing real estate inside, around, and above their stations. Each NLX station could be home to a 24-hour restaurant or convenience store. For example, there is a Walgreens located on a wide bridge over Interstate 80 and east of U.S. 395 in Reno, Nevada. If Americans can build convenience stores over interstate highways, we can build stores and restaurants over NLX tracks.

Second, companies such as SolaRoad have started installing photovoltaic solar panels on the surfaces of bike paths and highways that get full sunlight. This power created by these panels is sold to local electrical grids for a profit. Why not install miles of solar panels between the rails of our Northern Lights Express that get full sunlight and then sell that electricity to the local electrical grids for a profit?

Third, restart the United States’ railway post office, beginning with the Northern Lights Express. Decades ago, discontinuing point-to-point railway post offices and the revenue they paid railway companies caused the decline of many U.S. passenger trains. Not only would rebuilding the railway post office mail delivery system save energy while reducing delivery time to communities within the NLX corridor, nationwide it would bring back many U.S. passenger trains.

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James Patrick Buchanan


The writer is a lifelong passenger-train supporter and advocate.

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