Entails movement of goods and people from place to place on trains that are run on rail tracks. Modern trains that are run on electric power are currently in use in more-developed countries. They are faster and cause less pollution.
ADVANTAGES OF RAIL TRANSPORT
- It is economical for transportation of bulky goods over long distances.
- It is less affected by delays caused by extreme weather conditions such as heavy rainfall.
- Rails occupy less space as compared to roads which are wide.
- Causes little pollution in the environment especially where modern electric trains are in use.
- It is economical in the use of labori.e. one engine can pull several wagons
- It is relatively fast especially where electric trains are in use.
- It is convenient to clients in terms of time because trains run on a regular schedule.
- Special cargo e.g. petrol, vehicles and cattle can be transported using specifically designed wagons. Still perishable goods are transported in refrigerated wagons.
- It is less likely to be affected by theft and accidents
- Most railway stations have warehouses where goods can be stored awaiting collection.
- Trains have direct routes on which they move and one can predict the various stations they will pass through
- It is more comfortable for passengers travelling for long distances as they can sleep.
DISADVANTAGES OF RAIL TRANSPORT
- It can only serve areas where there are railway lines
- Not flexible.
- Cannot be utilized while the tracks are being constructed unlike road transport-it has to be laid out in totality for it to be used.
- It is a slow means of transport when numerous stops to load or off-load cargo have to be made. This makes it an unsuitable means of transporting perishable goods.
- A break down along a railway line could easily result in a buildup of goods and passengers, resulting in alternative means of transport being sought.
- It is an expensive means of transport for small quantities of goods and for short distances.
- The loading and offloading at the start and end of each journey present opportunities for damage and loss of goods.
- Construction and maintenance costs of railway lines are high.