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考研英语真题解析 铁路问题

论坛   2011-09-14 09:04 【 】【我要纠错

In recent years, railroads have been combining with each other, merging into supersystems, causing heightened concerns about monopoly. As recently as 1995, the top four railroads accounted for under 70 percent of the total ton-miles moved by rails. Next year, after a series of mergers is completed, just four railroads will control well over 90 percent of all the freight moved by major rail carriers.

Supporters of the new supersystems argue that these mergers will allow for substantial cost reductions and better coordinated service. Any threat of monopoly, they argue, is removed by fierce competition from trucks. But many shippers complain that for heavy bulk commodities traveling long distances, such as coal, chemicals, and grain, trucking is too costly and the railroads therefore have them by the throat.

The vast consolidation within the rail industry means that most shippers are served by only one rail company. Railroads typically charge such“captive”shippers 20 to 30 percent more than they do when another railroad is competing for the business. Shippers who feel they are being overcharged have the right to appeal to the federal government's Surface Transportation Board for rate relief, but the process is expensive, time consuming, and will work only in truly extreme cases.

Railroads justify rate discrimination against captive shippers on the grounds that in the long run it reduces everyone's cost. If railroads charged all customers the same average rate, they argue, shippers who have the option of switching to trucks or other forms of transportation would do so, leaving remaining customers to shoulder the cost of keeping up the line. It's a theory to which many economists subscribe, but in practice it often leaves railroads in the position of determining which companies will flourish and which will fail. “Do we really want railroads to be the arbiters of who wins and who loses in the marketplace?” asks Martin Bercovici, a Washington lawyer who frequently represents shippers.

Many captive shippers also worry they will soon be hit with a round of huge rate increases. The railroad industry as a whole, despite its brightening fortunes, still does not earn enough to cover the cost of the capital it must invest to keep up with its surging traffic. Yet railroads continue to borrow billions to acquire one another, with Wall Street cheering them on. Consider the $10.2 billion bid by Norfolk Southern and CSX to acquire Conrail this year. Conrail's net railway operating income in 1996 was just $427 million, less than half of the carrying costs of the transaction. Who's going to pay for the rest of the bill? Many captive shippers fear that they will, as Norfolk Southern and CSX increase their grip on the market.

31. According to those who support mergers, railway monopoly is unlikely because

[A] cost reduction is based on competition.

[B] services call for cross-trade coordination.

[C] outside competitors will continue to exist.

[D] shippers will have the railway by the throat.

32. What is many captive shippers' attitude towards the consolidation in the rail industry?

[A] Indifferent.

[B] Supportive.

[C] Indignant.

[D] Apprehensive.

33. It can be inferred from paragraph 3 that

[A] shippers will be charged less without a rival railroad.

[B] there will soon be only one railroad company nationwide.

[C] overcharged shippers are unlikely to appeal for rate relief.

[D] a government board ensures fair play in railway business.

34. The word “arbiters” (Line 7, Paragraph 4) most probably refers to those

[A] who work as coordinators.

[B] who function as judges.

[C] who supervise transactions.

[D] who determine the price.

35. According to the text, the cost increase in the rail industry is mainly caused by

[A] the continuing acquisition.

[B] the growing traffic.

[C] the cheering Wall Street.

[D] the shrinking market.

名师解析

31. According to those who support mergers, railway monopoly is unlikely because

在那些支持铁路公司合并的人看来,垄断之所以不可能发生,是因为

[A] cost reduction is based on competition. 成本的降低源于竞争。

[B] services call for cross-trade coordination. 服务需要跨行业协调。

[C] outside competitors will continue to exist. 外部竞争者将继续存在。

[D] shippers will have the railway by the throat. 托运商将掐住铁路公司的咽喉。

【答案】 C

【考点】 事实细节题。

【分析】 题目问的是支持并购的人为什么认为铁路行业内不会形成垄断。根据题干关键词 “支持者,合并,不可能”可以定位到第二段。支持者认为“Any threat of monopoly, they argue, is removed by fierce competition from trucks.”意思是“因为要和卡车竞争,所以不存在垄断的可能”。所以[C]最符合文章的意思。[A]不对,文章说支持者认为合并能降低成本,而不是竞争降低成本。[B]不对是因为文中只是说可以更好协调服务,而不是跨行业。[D]把主语和宾语弄反了,而且也不是支持者的观点,所以也是错误的。

32. What is many captive shippers’ attitude towards the consolidation in the rail industry?

许多受控制的托运商对铁路行业合并的态度是

[A] Indifferent. 冷淡的。 [B] Supportive. 支持的。

[C] Indignant. 义愤的。 [D] Apprehensive. 担心的。

【答案】 D

【考点】 态度题。

【分析】 本题问的不是作者的态度,而是货主的态度,要求考生根据文中所提供的线索做判断。通过题干关键词“shipper,attitude”来定位,如:“But many shippers complain that...”(第二段),“Many captive shipper also worry...”(第五段),“Many captive shippers fear that...”(第五段),我们可以判断出货主的态度是“忧虑的”,对未来的状况“忧心忡忡”。所以[D]是正确的。

33. It can be inferred from paragraph 3 that 从第三段中我们可以推断出

[A] shippers will be charged less without a rival railroad.

如果没有其他铁路公司的竞争,托运商被收取的费用将会少一些。

[B] there will soon be only one railroad company nationwide.

很快全国就会只剩下一家铁路公司。

[C] overcharged shippers are unlikely to appeal for rate relief.

被多收费的托运商不大可能会申诉减免费用。

[D] a government board ensures fair play in railway business.

政府部门保证铁路行业的公平竞争。

【答案】 C

【考点】 推断题。

【分析】 [A]正好与原文意思相反。从第三段第二句中,我们得知“铁路公司合并后,铁路公司向货主们收取的费用比以前有竞争的时候高20%至30%”,所以费用不是少一些,而是多一些。[B]缺乏依据,因为文中说绝大多数托运商将由一家公司服务,但是这不意味着只剩下一家公司,所以也是不对的。[C]是正确的,因为文章里说到,“货主们如果认为铁路公司收费过高,可以向联邦政府的机构申请降低费率。但是因为申诉的过程耗时费钱,而且只有在极端的情况下才会这么做”。由此,我们可以推断出他们不大可能提出申诉。[D]说“政府能保证铁路行业内的公平竞争”,这种说法缺乏依据。文中提及“水陆运输委员会”可以调节运输费率,但是这和公平竞争还是不同的。

34. The word “arbiters” (Line 7, Paragraph 4) most probably refers to those

单词“arbiters”(第四段第七行)很有可能指的是那些

[A] who work as coordinators. 担任协调员的人。

[B] who function as judges. 行使法官职能的人。

[C] who supervise transactions. 作监督交易工作的人。

[D] who determine the price. 决定价格的人。

【答案】 B

【考点】 词义题。

【分析】 词义题一般在文中都可以找到答案,要么上文,要么下文。“arbiter”的意思是“仲裁者”,属于超纲词汇。出题人考的就是看考生能否通过上下文猜测到这个单词的含义。首先定位在第四段的最后一句“Do we really want railroads to be the arbiters of who wins and who loses in the marketplace?”,其实它要表述的内容已在前一句出现了。“It’s a theory to which many economists subscribe, but in practice it often leaves railroads in the position of determining which companies will flourish and which will fail”。由此,我们可以猜测出“arbiter”指的是“those who are in the position of determining something”,或者“someone who can determine who wins and who loses in the marketplace”, 就可得出答案[B]。[D]项虽有“determine”一词,但是意思不对。文中说的铁路决定了托运商的命运,就好比是商场中的裁判,能决定谁赢谁输。[D]项仅仅提到决定价格,无法完整的表达出这个单词的意思。

35. According to the text, the cost increase in the rail industry is mainly caused by

根据本文,铁路行业的成本增加的主要原因是

[A] the continuing acquisition. 不断的收购。

[B] the growing traffic. 逐渐增长的运输量。

[C] the cheering Wall Street. 欢呼的华尔街。

[D] the shrinking market. 逐渐缩小的市场。

【答案】 A

【考点】 事实细节题。

【分析】 本题的出题思路主要是,通过确认铁路成本提高的主要原因来考查考生对文中因果关系的把握。通过关键词“cost increase,cause”来定位。发现最后一段第一句话里面提到“许多‘受制’客户还担心他们很快将遭遇一轮新的费率大涨价。目前的铁路公司所赚的钱不足以支付固定投资的费用,但是即使这样,铁路公司为了并购还在借很多的资金。所以,铁路的经营成本提高”。[A]是正确的。至于[B],文中提到“铁路公司还没有足够的钱去增加投资,以满足快速发展的交通的需要”,但是,这并不是引起成本提高的主要原因,文章的重点并不在此。[C]、[D]毫无依据,都是错误的。

难句解析:

1. But many shippers complain that for heavy bulk commodities traveling long distances, such as coal, chemicals, and grain, trucking is too costly and the railroads therefore have them by the throat.

【结构分析】 本句是一个复合句,“complain”后面接两个宾语从句,第一个宾语从句的主干是“trucking is too costly”,而“for”引导的是一个表示对象的状语。“the railroads therefore have them by the throat”是另外一个宾语分句,可以翻译成:铁路公司就会“掐住他们的脖子”。

2. Shippers who feel they are being overcharged have the right to appeal to the federal government’s Surface Transportation Board for rate relief, but the process is expensive, time consuming, and will work only in truly extreme cases.

【结构分析】 本句由“but”连接的并列句。第一个分句的主干是“shippers have the right…”。“shipper”的后边跟了一个“who”引导的定语从句。第二个分句的主语是“the process”,双谓语:一个是系表结构,另外一个是“will work”。

3. It’s theory to which many economists subscribe, but in practice it often leaves railroads in the position of determining which companies will flourish and which will fail.

【结构分析】 本句是由“but”连接的两个分句。第一个分句的主干部分是“It’s theory”,后边紧跟了一个“which”引导的定语从句。“but”后边的分句的主语是“it”,谓语是“leaves”。“determining”的后边接了两个并列的宾语从句:“which companies will flourish and which will fail”。

全文翻译:

近年来,铁路公司一直在彼此联合,合并成超大型集团,引起人们对垄断的极大关注。近至1995年,最大的四家铁路公司占有整个铁路运输业务量的近70%。到明年,一系列兼并活动完成之后,四家铁路公司将控制90%以上的铁路运输业务。

支持组建超大型铁路集团的人声称,兼并将使得成本大幅降低,服务项目更好协调。他们认为,由于公路运输的激烈竞争,垄断的威胁已经没有了。但是许多托运商抱怨说,对于诸如煤炭、化学制品和粮食这样依赖长途运输的大宗商品来说,公路运输花费太大,这样铁路公司就会“掐住他们的脖子”(制约住他们)。

铁路运输业内的大规模联合意味着多数客户将不得不依赖一家公司的服务。通常,铁路公司对这些“受制的”客户的收费要比存在另一铁路公司竞争业务时多20%—30%。如果托运人认为收费过高,他们有权上诉到联邦政府的“水陆运输委员会”以争取价格下调,但是这个过程既耗财又耗时,并且只有在真正极端特殊的情况下才有作用。

铁路公司对“受制”客户的收费进行区别对待的依据是,从长远来看,这样做会降低所有人的成本。他们认为,如果铁路公司向所有客户收取同样的平均价格的话,那么那些可以使用公路运输或其他交通工具的客户将会转移,使剩下的客户来承担铁路正常运作的开销。这种理论得到了多数经济学家的认同,但在实际操作中,它使铁路公司获得了一个决定谁成谁败的权利。“我们是否真的想让铁路公司成为在市场上决定谁败谁荣的裁决者呢?”马丁·贝科维奇问道。他是一位常常代表铁路客户的华盛顿律师。

许多“受制”客户还担心他们很快将遭遇一轮新的费率大涨价。从整体来说,虽然铁路行业有炫目的资产,但它的收入仍然不足以支付为满足不断增长的运输需要而进行的固定资产投资。然而铁路公司仍然继续贷款数十亿美元来进行收购,而华尔街也鼓励它们这样做。请想一想今年南诺弗克公司和CSX公司为兼并康雷尔公司所花的102亿美元吧。康雷尔公司1996年铁路运营纯收入为4.27亿美元,这还不足这宗交易运作成本的一半。谁来支付其余的费用?许多“被控”客户担心像南诺弗克和CSX公司一样,联合铁路公司也将加强对市场的控制。

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