With over 60 years of experience assisting clients in the rail industry nationwide, R.L. Banks & Associates, Inc. (RLBA) provides unparalleled expertise in freight projects around the world to a multitude of clients ranging from bulk and intermodal shippers to Class I railroads. The primary categories of Freight Rail services offered by RLBA are described below:

Operations & Service Planning

Railroads of all sizes seek to maximize the efficiency of their operations and the productivity of their assets. RLBA has decades of experience providing clients with superior analyses on current or proposed freight movements, examining all relevant capital and operational factors to enable clients to make informed decisions to support cost-effective solutions.

Cost & Rate Analysis

Freight rates are the fundamental component of the rail industry, being equally as important to freight shippers and receivers as they are to the railroads themselves. RLBA provides its expertise to rail customers nationwide, analyzing the current and forecasted markets to enable clients to make informed decisions and negotiate effectively with rail carriers.

Class 1 Railroad Negotiations

Freight shippers and receivers are often at a disadvantage when negotiating with railroads, due to a deficit of knowledge about rail industry standards regarding haul costs, rates and agreements. RLBA provides clients with the railroad expertise necessary to ensure a fairer negotiation process and outcome.

Railroad Operations Simulation

Rail Traffic Controller (RTC) is a state-of-the-art rail modeling software designed to provide detailed simulations of the operations and capital requirements of a given rail network. Using this cutting-edge technology, RLBA is capable of providing superior data-driven analysis to support any rail-related dispute or planning project. RLBA features extensive experience using RTC in the completion of projects involving infrastructure and maintenance cost estimation, freight rate disputes, capital investment forecasting and service planning.

Unit Train Volume Shipments

Shipping by unit train enables railroads to be highly competitive with other modes of transportation across greater distances but requires large-volume customers to be viable. RLBA has worked on unit train projects on behalf of clients representing every primary sector involved in high volume rail shipments across the country. RLBA provides the expert service planning, strategic, financial and negotiation assistance necessary to optimize bulk freight service.

Transloading Financial &  Business Planning

The bulk products moved by railroads often originate from or are destined to locations beyond the rails. The process of transferring, or transloading, these products between rail and another mode of transportation is a critical component of railroads and freight customers’ success. RLBA provides comprehensive transloading analysis services, conducting the necessary planning and feasibility studies for a transload operation while also providing expertise in demand assessment, capital costing analysis and business planning.

Intermodal Financial & Business Planning

The use of freight containers compatible with multiple modes of transportation, referred to as “Intermodal Transportation,” has experienced continued growth as freight customers and carriers seek ways to both increase freight volumes and efficiency. With decades of experience in this segment of the industry, RLBA provides its clients with assessing, planning and executing successful Intermodal development projects.


Moving bulk waste by rail is an important araa of interest to clients in the public and private sectors, requiring an understanding of the unique factors involved in this specialized class of bulk freight. RLBA performs operations, economic, engineering and equipment feasibility studies for clients initiating or expanding waste-by-rail projects.


The rapid growth in shipping crude-oil-by-rail has presented the industry with significant business opportunities and new challenges in railroad safety. RLBA assists clients with assessing opportunities in the market, analyzing financial and operating plans and ensuring safety-focused operating procedures.