your milage may vary

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by rogerw, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Not true, because to move that one ton of freight, the engine must move the whole train as well, and the engine gets nowhere near 500 miles on a gallon of fuel, although trains are more economical than trucks, and will likely grow more so as oil prices continue to climb.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The typical piggy back operation will haul 3 53foot trailers on 2 flat cars, so a 100 car train would carry 150 53 foot trailers. On the other hand a 53 foot trailer will require 1 tractor to get it across country, so 150 53 foot trailers will require 150 tractors to pull them across country. If you figure out how much fuel 1 tractor will burn crossing the country and then multiply it by 150, you can then compare that to how much fuel the train would burn crossing the country. Of course, the railroad would use helper engines to get the train over the mountains, and then run fewer engines, thus burning less fuel, across the plains.
  3. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    Good point russ. Its the quantity that a train can move I think. One loco moving one trailer car would not be cost effective. But one loco moving 20 40...... trailers it starts adding up
  4. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    I can't give exact figures (I don't have to fill the tanks), but a loose ballpark estimate based on experience(official disclaimer !), our (NS) intermodals with two 4000HP units on trains of 3500 tons (gross wt.) 270 miles from Pittsburgh over the Allegheny mountains to Harrisburg uses about 500 gallons per engine for about 945 ton/miles per gallon. No helpers are needed at this horsepower to weight ratio, and trains run track speeds up to 60mph. This figure may be somewhat misleading, as the gross to net weight ratio is much higher than trucks due to our vehicles light weights. Hope that helps? Bob
  5. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Andrew,
    Yes, it seems that you are indeed reading that datum correctly.
    So now we have two specific figures, the industry average of
    423tmpg, and the specific NS route getting 945tmpg. It seems that
    there is a wide variance, as Brian implied. I don't know the payload of
    a typical semi, but if it were hauling 40t at 6 mpg then it would be
    acheiving only 240tmpg.
  6. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    And including deadheading and transfers the actual city-to-city industry average would be somewhat lower still.
    I don't have the whole picture very clearly but when the Bush says
    "reduce our dependence on foreign oil" and then fails to provide the rail
    system with the same advantages as the trucking industry, it's nothing but BS, IMO. (definitely railroad-related)
  7. slekjr

    slekjr Member

    the following info is from

    Welcome to General - CSX Overview Environment

    Fuel Efficiency and Emissions

    The nation's freight railroads have improved fuel efficiency a dramatic 74 percent since 1980, which conserves fossil fuel and reduces emissions. When compared to the alternative, rail by far is the most fuel-efficient way to transport freight. For example:

    • Railroads now move a ton of freight nearly 410 miles for each gallon of diesel fuel used, up from 235 miles in 1980 and 332 miles in 1990. A truck, on average, moves a ton of freight about 100 miles for each gallon of diesel fuel.
    • In 2004, railroads consumed 3 billion fewer gallons of diesel and emitted 34 millions fewer tons of carbon dioxide than they would have if their fuel efficiency were unchanged from 1980 levels.
    • The U.S. Environmental Protection Administration has estimated that a typical truck emits approximately three times more pollution than a locomotive for every ton-mile.
    • Railroads carry 42 percent of the nation's intercity freight ton-miles but are responsible for just 9 percent of all transportation-related nitrous oxide transmissions and 4 percent of transportation-related particulates emissions, according to the EPA.
    You notice they say "moves a ton of freight" which implies to me net ton miles per gallon.
    The newer locomotives are more fuel efficent so this may even be true.
  8. chooch.42

    chooch.42 Member

    Hi,Charlie, Andrew and all. I want to modify my figure for NS over my run. The previous was based on memory estimate (Suspicious, at best) so checked two round trips for real fuel used - came up with a more reasonable 550 gross ton-miles/ gallon. Two newer units are using about 600 gallons each on a 275 mile run with 2400 GROSS tons. Train rolling resistance (car length/train length/axle count) probably effect this data,and your net ton miles go way down hauling emptys. Hope I got it right this time. Bob C
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Thanks for all that new info guys. Seems that the railways are getting "greener" all the time!


Share This Page