Jul
06
2008

Freight train miles per gallon

Trains are efficientCourtesy Sean Lamb When it comes to moving tons of freight, freight trains are very efficient (barges or ships might be even better). Someone asked FactCheck.org

"Can a freight train really move a ton of freight 436 miles on a gallon of fuel?" (click link to read)

The facts

Seven major railroad companies reported the following for 2007:

  • 1,770,545,245,000 ton-miles of freight were moved
  • 4,062,025,082 gallons of diesel fuel were consumed
  • That works out to be almost 436 ton-miles per gallon (435.88)

Trains today 85% more efficient than in 1980

The Association of American Railroads is boasting an 85.5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency for their trains since 1980.

“In fact, if just 10 percent of the freight currently moving by truck went instead by rail, the nation could save one billion gallons of fuel per year."

This information probably sounds like an advertisement for the railroad industry. I did use the Association of American Railroads website as a source.
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Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ES's picture
ES says:

Sound great! But what about moving the freight from the railroad station to their final destination? We will still need an intermediate to get the final product to the stores. Is the trucking company doing anything to try and economize their trucks?

posted on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 9:13am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Whenever they can, they piggyback onto a train (or cargo ship) but as you say they need to move the container onto wheels pulled by a trucker for the final leg of the journey.

posted on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 4:51pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

CP Rail does this often, more so than CN from what i see in Ontario Canada.

posted on Sat, 01/02/2010 - 12:38am
Mighty Mike's picture
Mighty Mike says:

Moving freight by truck is cheaper than moving it by rail, when the item(s) to be move is low volume. If the total weight is high, then rail transportation is cheaper. Coal, high volume liquids, steel, ect.. These items, as an example go directly to the manufacture from it's source. Rail depots are few and far between. It takes more labor to assemble, load and run a train than to do so with a trailer and tractor, which 98 % of the time has only one driver as opposed to two men in a engine cab. Many trucking companies will use one driver and tractor to haul a double trailer.
"Everything" moves by truck at least at some point along the line from source to the consumer. Exception is the very high volume products, as noted above.

posted on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 1:14am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

So much is being done to economize the trucks it is back fireing def ( diesel exhaust fluid) and dpf ( diesel particulate filters) are supposed to be one the trucks to reduse emissions and emprove economy but by putting them on the trucks they are getting worse fuel milage the trucks hit there peak fuel milage in the early 2000s before All this emission stuff became mandatory def and dpf when it comes to milage it's done to the way a person drives the weight they pull and the size of the motor they run bigger can be better if driven properly it's all about selective shifting a few other things can be done but not to extream glider kits low rolling resistance tires make sure the truck is in good running order a big problem is leaking charge-air cooler is not leaking right now trucks are rangeing between 4 to 9.5 miles to the gallon

posted on Thu, 03/03/2011 - 10:22am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

It's is impossible to make a 80,000 Lbs semi over the road to be economic.
These things get 6 miles per gallon down the road and that's down hill with the wind at your back.

posted on Wed, 02/15/2012 - 12:10pm
bryan kennedy's picture

Hmm, maybe I should open my new grocery store right next to the train station...yes, yes.

posted on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 11:25pm
lakawak's picture
lakawak says:

That is how it USED to be. You will still see older businesses are often near tracks..or where tracks used to be. For this very reason. You can still see some with loading docks on the track side of the building. Useless now since trucks can't get in the tight fit. But in the past, the goods came right off the train and into the store.

posted on Thu, 11/14/2013 - 6:55pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

what a helpful person bryan kennedy is you rock

posted on Mon, 10/20/2008 - 9:27am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Average trains weight is 10,000 ton if it takes 1 gallon to move 436 tones one mile then the train is burning about 23 gallons per one mile the fuel tank on a train holds 3500 gallons at that rate a train can go 160 miles on a tank it seems to me that they would need to go further than that to get fuel

posted on Thu, 03/03/2011 - 2:34pm
Jeremy Trucker's picture

Obviously, technology has something to do for today's trains being more efficient. Those who think otherwise must have been hiding in their caves for ages.

posted on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 7:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

The answer is no! Check the definition of a ton-mile.

Definition - ton mile is the movement of 1 ton 1 mile.

So, the train moved 436 tons 1 mile on 1 gallon.
The trip was not 436 miles on one gallon, as suggested. That 436 mile trip used 436 gallons, or more.

Most Diesel/Electric Locomotives hold 2,000 gallons of fuel. Using convoluted calculations, This train could run 872,000 miles before it needs more fuel.

posted on Tue, 02/10/2009 - 11:00pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Anonymous says,

"The answer is no!"

I do not know what the question was.

You are correct in saying

So, the train moved 436 tons 1 mile on 1 gallon.

The statement made in the article above was:

That works out to be almost 436 ton-miles per gallon

posted on Wed, 02/11/2009 - 7:00pm
Mighty Mike's picture
Mighty Mike says:

It's the "total" tonnage moved, (including the engine, rolling stock and freight) divided by the total gallons of fuel used to get the figure of moving 1 ton of freight 436 miles on one gallon of fuel. This figure will change as locomotives become more fuel efficient and freight loads increase.

posted on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 1:14am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

ton-miles per gallon is essentially a measurement of work per quantity of energy. Work is the multiple of mass times distance. Therefore, 436 tons moving 1 mile is the same as 1 ton moving 436 miles. It can be stated either way and is still correct. 1 gallon can move 1 ton 436 miles or 436 tons 1 mile.

posted on Mon, 02/16/2009 - 11:33pm
SF's picture
SF says:

The answer is no! Check the definition of a ton-mile.

Definition - ton mile is the movement of 1 ton 1 mile.

So, the train moved 436 tons 1 mile on 1 gallon.
The trip was not 436 miles on one gallon, as suggested. That 436 mile trip used 436 gallons, or more.

Most Diesel/Electric Locomotives hold 2,000 gallons of fuel. Using convoluted calculations, This train could run 872,000 miles before it needs more fuel.

You are using flawed logic. Trains achieve such massive efficiency numbers because of an economy of scale. You created the "872,000 miles before it needs more fuel" figure by having an imaginary train that weighs one ton. No train weighs one ton. However, it is likely that a fully loaded train (the most efficient method) weighs 1000 tons, and thus could move 872 miles before refueling. A bit more plausible now, eh?

posted on Mon, 10/12/2009 - 11:49am
Bruce the Farmer's picture
Bruce the Farmer says:

i agree with your statement. erks me when they say it cost just the price of one gallon of fuel, but my dirt farmer thinking tells me that tarin don't move itself, theres people involved , from the engineer to the track crews etc. , so what is a reasonable bottom line cost to move the amount of frieght they advertise per mile , my thinking says not very efficient without govt. subsidies to keep the RR in bussiness.

posted on Mon, 11/19/2012 - 11:47am
BN's picture
BN says:

The first statement of fact given was:

Seven major railroad companies reported the following for 2007: 1,770,545,245,000 ton-miles of freight were moved ...

On SF's interpretation of the definition of a ton-mile, a very large number of freight trains belonging to those seven companies each moved one ton of freight one mile and that's all they did in 2007.

Dividing 1,770,545,245,000 by the number of gallons burned in aggregate across those seven companies yielded the average of 436 ton-miles per gallon

posted on Wed, 03/24/2010 - 4:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am drawing a blank and need help- say one was to reduce the wieght of railway wheel by 72 lbs and assuming each car has 8 wheels then each car would have wieght reduction of 576 lbs if a train were 100 cars long the total weight reduced would be 57,600 lbs or approx 26 tons - what would be the fuel savings in gallons or MPG

posted on Mon, 07/12/2010 - 1:40pm
Shana's picture
Shana says:

As ARTifactor mentioned, the weight of the train wasn't factored into their estimation--so I can't really say how you would calculate that. Perhaps some math-whiz soul can help?

I will say that I'm not sure you could reduce the weight of the wheels that much. Those wheels are supporting a lot of weight above them and need to be super strong.

posted on Tue, 07/13/2010 - 9:33am
Dennis's picture
Dennis says:

I worked as a disatcher for an OTR trucking company and we got 5 mpg hauling 30 tons. I think that translates to a 6 ton mile per gallon. Why don't diesel OTR trucks do better?

posted on Tue, 05/04/2010 - 1:38pm
AndyK's picture
AndyK says:

Dennis, trains achieve greater efficiency through a number of means - the most important being scale. Trains use one large engine (sometimes more) to move a large amount of cargo. Trucks use a relatively small engine to move a small amount of cargo. Lots of small things, generally, are less efficient than one big thing.

Trains also gain efficiency because they don't stop & go as much as trucks do, allowing them to maintain a constant, more efficient speed. When moving cargo, getting going is the most energy intensive part. Stopping is also a problem, also creates wasted energy (heat - usually dispersed throught the brakes and tires).

There are lots of advantages that trucks offer, and they too have become more efficient, but a decentralized trucking system will never be able to compete - in terms of fuel efficiency - with a centralized rail system

posted on Wed, 05/19/2010 - 1:38pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

I think the rolling friction of steel wheels on smooth, steel rails is also an important factor.

posted on Thu, 05/20/2010 - 7:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I've been in the OTR industry my entire life, and yes all the things aforementioned are true in the trucking industry from the new emissions laws to how a person drives. One major difference as I understand rail travel is that those huge diesel engines run electric generators that in turn drive the train by electricity thus multiplying fuel efficiency exponentially. There is no logical reason why this has not come into effect in the trucking industry as of yet given current automotive manufacturing technology other than the initial cost of buying the trucks, and the fact that most seasoned drivers would complain and/or refuse to drive a commercial truck without a manual transmission that will help control the vehicle. Again if this was done in the industry you would see the same results as rail travel, by turning electric generators with diesel engines you'd see the fuel efficiency increase exponentially.

posted on Sun, 10/16/2011 - 1:27am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Exponentially? You clearly don't even know what the word means.

posted on Sat, 02/04/2012 - 3:46pm
VJ's picture
VJ says:

Dennis, you got 30 * 5 = 150 ton-miles per gallon

posted on Wed, 02/29/2012 - 4:50am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i agree.

posted on Thu, 05/20/2010 - 9:19pm
Rococo's picture
Rococo says:

Trains also run very efficiently because huge amounts of money have been spent to build a track that is almost level. If a train has to *go uphill,* a very long sloping track will be built, winding around mountains to stay with a 3% grade. Sometimes a train will go three times as far as a truck in order to get to the same destination.

Also note further economy of scale in *one* hopper car full of coal. These cars typically hold 100 tons of coal! A train just went past my house with 33 coal cars. That's a bigger errand than running to the grocery store.

At 436 ton-miles, the locomotive I just saw uses 7.57 gallons just going one mile with that 33-car train of coal; probably can't go more than 250 miles without filling up that 2000-gal tank. ouch.

posted on Fri, 05/21/2010 - 11:52am
Paul A's picture
Paul A says:

Want a better mileage number?
Subtract the weight of the freight from the loaded train and see how many gallons per mile it takes to move just an empty train. Then add the freight back onto the train and check the new gallons per mile.
Now subtract the gallons per mile with the train empty from the gallons per mile fully loaded and you'll know how many gallons it takes to move a ton of freight. I suspect that number will be much different than the Railroads are advertising.

posted on Mon, 05/24/2010 - 8:13pm
bryan kennedy's picture

But for comparison's sake you'd need to look at a similar calculation for OTR or road based tractor-trailer traffic.

posted on Tue, 07/13/2010 - 2:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I live by a RR track and see coal trains once or twice an hour, usually will 250 cars plus. So what would the mpg be for that

posted on Tue, 06/15/2010 - 5:06pm
djb's picture
djb says:

This comes under the category of "too good to be true". The energy content of a gallon of diesel in not sufficient to move a ton 436 miles in a vehicle than is not free of friction. I suspect they arived at this number by calculating the difference between travleing 436 miles empty and traveling the same 436 miles with a ton of freight. The effect of adding 1 ton of freight to the train would be nil considering the emense weight of the empty train.

posted on Wed, 06/16/2010 - 9:37am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

The article says they divided the weight of the FREIGHT by the amount of diesel fuel. The weight of the train is not included but obviously also needed to move.

posted on Thu, 06/17/2010 - 9:16am
august's picture
august says:

The real question is in getting to that 1000 ton mark total load limit how many tons of that 1000 are on average is not a freight that can be off loaded? Such as engine rail car weight and so on.

Example if the total average of off loadable freight is 600 then it would be 60% of the figure. in short gross weight freight and net weight freight, The denser the average material hauled the increase net fuel to ton ration because of less rail car dead weight.

posted on Fri, 09/24/2010 - 2:40am
Jim's picture
Jim says:

How much percentage is goods actually hauled? Being a trucker, I can say that a truck is limited to 80,000 lbs max gross weight, (truck, trailer, fuel, freight combined) on average, an empty truck and trailer is between 33-35000 lbs which leaves on avg 45000 lbs of loadable freight, so apx 60% of a truck and trailer combo is goods hauled,(guessing on the percentage) whats the empty weight of a freight train and how much actual freight can it haul? Thats where you get into how efficient it is to haul freight by a train and don't even go into time lines, a truck with 2 drivers can legally go from LA, CA to NY,NY in about 2 days, how long would that train take to go the same distance? I think your strawberries would be fuzzy by the time it pulled into New Yorks produce market.

posted on Sat, 10/09/2010 - 6:06am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Thanks for the data on trucking, Jim. I was surprized that trucks can go clear across the nation in 2 days.
I once hopped on a fast train carrying the mail. When they stopped in Fargo for 3 minutes to change crews I was seen crouching between the tires of a piggy-back mail truck. I was kicked off the mail train and ended up on a flat-bed all the way across N Dakota and Montana. Lots of long stops. Once on a siding in the mountains we waited 3 or 4 hours for a pusher to get us going again.

posted on Mon, 10/11/2010 - 7:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

A freight train weighs MUCH more then 1000 tons. A loaded grain train with 112 cars on average is about 15,000 tons. Loaded coal trains can be as heavy as 20,000 tons. Am empty train with only 70 cars or so is still close to 3,000 tons.

trains are a very efficient method of transporting large quantities of cargo over a large distance.

(rail road conductor here for CP Rail)

posted on Sun, 12/26/2010 - 5:09pm
FitzNS's picture
FitzNS says:

Let us see here. Basically they are saying a train can move 436 tons one mile on 1 gallon of diesel fuel.

Looking at trains vs., semi both are important but first lest look at this. One 80,000 pound semi does the same amount of damage to a road as nearly 10,000 cars. Tax payers pay to maintain roads but we do not pay to maintain railroads.
Next trains move massive tonnage at one time usually over a long distance. To cite this the typical loaded coal train running along the Front Range here in Colorado is between 16,000 and 17,000 tons and runs from the Wyoming coal fields to northern Florida in 48 hours. Four locomotives are required to move this tonnage over the 2.12% ruling grade of the Palmer Divide. In comparison semis could be subjected to up to 9% grade on Colorado highways with I-70 one of the heaviest traveled truck routes in the state having areas of over 6% grade. The Moffat Subdivision running from Denver to Utah over the Continental Divide has max grade of right around 3%. So rail beds are graded for less effort and more efficiency. Another benefit to railroad efficiency is say a loaded coal train comes over the Palmer Divide all four locomotives will be hard at work but on the return trip they will climb the Palmer Divide with usually two locomotives online and the other two just being pulled offline so they are returned to a loaded train with minimal fuel consumption. So if truckers pulled each other’s semi cabs back to a loaded trailer they'd be on the same page as the railroad. Next railroads will also load fuel onto locomotives based on the trip they are taking less fuel equals less weight meaning more efficiency. To cite this, loaded coal train going over the Palmer Divide will have half tanks of diesel which cumulatively is 10,000 less gallons of diesel fuel meaning less weight to pull. How many trucker put in a half tank of diesel for more efficiency when climbing a mountain? The reason for half tanks is the extra weight isn’t needed for traction over the Palmer Divide however when tackling the Moffat Subdivision a train will be packed to capacity with fuel for purposes of traction.
Speed yes in most areas is faster by truck but in some cases I train will outrun a truck. Most highways are still sitting at 65mph Colorado being an exception to this with I-25 running at 75mph but some semis are still limited at 65mph by governors. But if one were to take a trip to the transcontinental line between Los Angeles and Dallas you could find intermodal trains clipping along at 70mph to 75mph while carrying almost 280 semis worth of trailers. BNSF trains can also be found running 70mph in areas of Illinois. But a truck and a train together running through the heart of Los Angeles and the train will win. While a truck is stuck hitting lights and traffic the train is sunk below street level running around 40mph completely isolated from grade crossings and traffic.
Lastly friction looking at semis I'd estimate 18 wheels at 8" wide each so at least 144" of contact with the road that is if 1" of the tire radius is in contact with the road it may be more or less I do not know. I can say newer locomotives however have a contact area with the railroad tracks of approximately the size of a dime. So contact area per wheel and the reduced friction of metal on metal as compared to rubber on asphalt or concrete allows a train to achieve friction levels vastly superior to those of trucks.
I'm not saying trucks are not important but if we improved railroad infrastructure and got trucks off the road it help our road system improve vastly. Let trains move stuff close to its destination such as a big city such as Denver, Dallas, and so on then truck to that city and smaller cities located within 500 or so miles of the larger cities.

posted on Sun, 02/27/2011 - 10:25pm
FitzNS's picture
FitzNS says:

Look at it this way if you put two locomotives together weighting 220tons each that be 440tons very close to the 436ton claim so then those 2 locomotives would travel 1mile on 1 gallon of fuel approximately.

posted on Sun, 02/27/2011 - 11:11pm
FitzNS's picture
FitzNS says:

One last thing I forgot to touch on is that trains also utilize dynamic braking. Basically the electric motors that provide power to the axles for forward movement are used as brakes. The reversal of the motors turns them into generators and the power off these is collected into batteries and used later to once again power forward movement. No here is a future thought if we put these heavy coal trains and other trains on to over head electric lines for power rather than getting electricity from an internal diesel engine then all this dynamic braking power could be shot straight back into the grid.

posted on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 2:53am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

All the talk about gross and net fuel economy for trains is worthless. I don't care how much of the fuel is consumed by the weight of the train and how much by the cargo, only that, all tolled, the industry was able to move X number of tons on Y number of gallons of fuel, for an average of Z gallons per ton of freight. The amount of fuel consumed includes that consumed by the weight of the train, so attributing all the fuel consumed to the load really, truly does tell you what the fuel cost of the marginal ton of freight is.

And that's what's important. Adding one ton of freight will cost X amount of fuel, compared to the Y amount of fuel that ton of freight would consume if transported by truck. Do I dislike the way that the facts are presented in the RR industry's commercials? Yeah, it bugged me from the first day I saw it, but, as someone pointed out above, the difference between the fuel economy of a train and truck is of such great magnitude that it's almost not worth discussing. Trains win, hands down, for medium- to long-hauls.

Building an efficient distribution network using trains would be good for the U.S. economy (hello, high fuel costs driving prices and hurting sales, anyone?), but we can't spend that kind of money to have things work around here. No siree. Sorry. We're broke, and about to regress to third world-status.

posted on Wed, 03/02/2011 - 10:26am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

That's why we can't have nice things?

posted on Wed, 03/02/2011 - 1:13pm
Clev's picture
Clev says:

The 436 ton-miles figure was taken by dividing the amount of ton-miles of FREIGHT hauled by the total number of gallons used for the ENTIRE fleet--including switch engines in yards, helpers, empty cars being hauled... everything except for passenger trains (and they're a pretty tiny percentage.) That's about the worst case you can get, and it's pretty darn impressive.

posted on Fri, 09/09/2011 - 1:00pm
Fred Barkley's picture
Fred Barkley says:

LAX airport has dozens of commercial airline companies flying into it. All sharing the same runnways for arrival and departure. Can we envision a rail system shared by all railroad companies. All interconnected for efficiency. A dozen lines moving east west and 2 dozen moving north south. Creating a very cost effective rail grid where no point in the us would be less than a 4 hour drive from the grid.

posted on Sat, 11/05/2011 - 5:55am
Daryl Oster's picture

According to Professor Roger Kemp, a HSR (High Speed Rail) expert [ http://www.engineering.lancs.ac.uk/people/Roger_Kemp ]
Passenger trains actually use more energy per passenger-mile than today's more efficient cars and jets when compared at the same load factor.
http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/002197.html (see attached graph)

Trains were originally designed to achieve low rolling resistance to move coal and other mined materials, so they are very efficient at moving very heavy loads at relatively slow speed. Trains are also very labor efficient. A typical 100 car freight train typically uses about 1/3rd the energy of 18 wheel road trucks on a ton-mile basis (5mpg X 30T = 150ton miles per gallon). But a freight train on average only moves 14 miles per hour compared to a truck average speed of 45 miles per hour.

The rail industry spends a lot of money advertising that trains are energy efficient, accurately claiming that trains can move a ton about 500 miles with a gallon of fuel.
http://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-csx/projects-and-partnerships/fuel-ef...
This leads people (especially politicians) to falsely believe that trains are also efficient for moving people. The main reason that trains are not energy efficient at moving people is that they cannot be effectively loaded to exploit their high load capacity of 100 tons per car. To fully load a train car with people it would have to carry over 1,650 average people per car. Multiplied by 100 cars per typical freight train that would be 165THOUSAND people ( a mid size city ) packed into a single train like sardines in a can!

Another reason trains are not good for moving passengers is that most people are not content to travel at 14mph. Aerodynamic resistance increases with the square of velocity, so every time the speed doubles, the air resistance quadruples. At at 14mph the air resistance of a train is about 1/8th of the rolling resistance. At 40mph the air drag is equal to the rolling resistance, but at 200mph, the aerodynamic drag is 95% of the resistance of a train.

Cars and jets are much less cost, and much faster than trains for moving people. The ONLY reason people still use trains to travel is that the rail industry lobbyists spend millions of dollars to convince the governments of the world to tax the 90% of people who do not use trains to pay over 90% of the cost for the few people who do use trains! If the few people who still use trains had to pay the full cost no one would travel by train (unless they happened to work on a freight train).

A 150 years ago trains displaced muscle powered transportation because the cost to travel by train was less cost and much faster than to use donkey carts. 75 years ago cars and airplanes displaced trains for the same reasons: cheaper and faster. In the year 1910 90% of Americans used trains to travel between cities, now it is less than 1% (even though the government spends billions of dollars per year on passenger trains).

The cost of building ET3 capable of 400mph is less than a tenth the cost of building HSR that is only capable of half the speed. ET3 eliminates more than 99.9999% of air resistance and rolling resistance that cars AND trains experience. The cost to create the vacuum to accomplish this is less than 5 gallons of gasoline of electric energy equivalent to remove the air from a mile of double tube ET3 system. It would take more than 100 years for the air to leak back into the tubes (as proof consider that old CRT type TVs require more than a hundred times higher quality vacuum the ET3 to operate, and many still work after more than 50 years).

posted on Sun, 12/18/2011 - 11:38am
COEngineer's picture
COEngineer says:

Daryl, you bring up some interesting points. However, I think there are some flaws in your logic. First, a passenger train does not need to be as heavy as a freight train precisely because the passengers will never weigh as much as freight, so there should be some efficiency gained there. Second, the argument that trains moving at higher speeds are less aerodynamic applies equally to every type of transportation. Trains come out ahead in aerodynamic loss (compared to individual cars, trucks, etc) because the cars of the train are right behind one another. I believe the primary reason passenger trains aren't used more is because of the convenience we have come to expect from individual automobiles. Heck, I can barely get people to carpool with me - how is anyone going to convince them to ride a train?!

posted on Mon, 10/08/2012 - 2:53pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

With the "me now" society we live in, people aren't willing to wait an extra 24 hours for their purchases to come by train...

posted on Sat, 01/21/2012 - 7:56am
ghulam abbas's picture
ghulam abbas says:

what is per km cosumption of passenger train

posted on Tue, 02/07/2012 - 6:32am
John Stacey's picture

Good grief, what are all these esoteric calculations about? The AAR simply state (and I believe them) that they actually moved 1,770,545,245,000 ton-miles of freight using 4,062,025,082 gallons of diesel fuel which equates overall to be almost 436 ton-miles per gallon. That include net train weight, incline grades, rolling friction, braking, starting, every factor you can think of that might come into play. In actual fact, not theory, the AAR can move 1000 pounds 872 miles using 1 gallon of fuel. Compared to this, trucks are not on the same planet and, regardless of technical advances, never will be. Trains built America, not trucks. With increasing energy costs, its high time to be rebuilding that wonderful infrastructure, not be tearing it down.

posted on Sat, 08/25/2012 - 1:36pm
Dlorah's picture
Dlorah says:

Comparing the fuel efficiency of a train to a truck or a truck to a car is like comparing the taste of an apple to an orange. They are all different and really can't be compared to each other. Trains have steel wheel that rotate against steel tracks. This is extremely good for fuel efficiency but not so great for traction or having a train drive on a regular road. Trains have less wind resistance per ton of gross weight and the propulsion systems are also more efficient per ton of weight. You really need to compare equivalents to make any type of judgement as to what is more fuel efficient. To answer your direct question, semi-trucks have also increase their fuel efficiency over the years but they will never be as fuel efficient as a fully loaded 100 car freight train.

posted on Wed, 09/10/2014 - 4:35pm

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