Railroads were one of the major factors in shaping the ability of the United States to expand and prosper. They were hailed in the Wild West as something that brought culture, supplies, and the law into distant territories. They have been playing a perpetually smaller role in the economy from the past to now—but railroads are resilient of nothing else. This article by David Blanchard explains how railroads are again becoming popular, and why so many trucking companies are growing increasingly dependent on what trains can offer them for supply chain shipping: “The railroads are in very good shape from an infrastructure, equipment and personnel basis,” says Rosalyn Wilson, senior business analyst with consulting firm Delcan. Compared with the other major transportation modes (trucking, water, air), railroads have gained market share, especially in intermodal, which combines rail with another mode, usually trucking. “More medium-sized trucking companies began to use intermodal for the first time [in 2011]to combat driver shortages and the high cost of adding to their fleet,” Wilson explains. The cost of transportation rose in 2011, and will continue to grow in 2012. However, the health of the economy alongside the reduced hiring of truckers means that companies must begin assuming there will come a point where hiring a trucker to haul their products simply isn’t a viable option. It is in these cases, according to Blanchard, that trains can help carry the load.