If you’ve seen a freight train this month, you might have seen your Christmas present go by. For the people in the country’s shipping business, Christmas began a year ago when they started deciding how many trucks….railroad locomotives….and train cars would be needed would be needed to get potential gifts to retailers. Union Pacific’s vice-president Jack Koraleski says the railroad started unloading Christmas gifts from ships at the west coast ports and putting them on trains headed to Missouri and other states on the U-P system. [upac3] About one-third of the business goes to Chicago, with the rest going to places like St. Louis, Dallas, Memphis, San Antonio, and El Paso where merchandise is put on trucks or other railroads for more distant distribution. A look at the trains’ manifests tells us what will be hot this Christmas season–electronic gadgets, toys, sporting goods, even tennis shoes. Koraleski says a well-planned train can carry 280 containers of Christmas goods…. He says you can’t tell from the shipping lists what brands are involved—just what the items are. He says shipping Christmas goods amounts to seven or eight percent of the railroad’s shipping business each year.
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