How do they do this

There's some pretty smart people in this newsgroup.
Maybe someone can clear up this puzzler;
CSX ( railroad ) has been running TV ads that claim;
"We can move one ton of freight 486 miles on ONE GALLON of fuel........."
I'm sure it's not an outright lie, so how could they get these numbers ?
Maybe cars of the future should run on rails ??
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<RJ> wrote:

That's probably for a fully loaded train running on flat ground. A ton is nothing, those things are immense.
And yes, rail is a lot more efficient than even a semi-truck. Could be more efficient if/when they incorporate regen braking.
nate
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Train has 100 cars, each with 100 tons of cargo. Starts at Alphaville, travels 486 miles to Bravotown, burns 10000 gallons of diesel. Result is 486 ton-miles/gallon.
3000-5000 gallon tanks are (were?) pretty standard on big (3000+ hp) GM & GE diesels. 2-3 units on the headend (depending on geography), top up at each end, seems reasonable at a glance.
Steel wheel on steel rail is incredibly more efficient than rubber on asphalt. And they pay for their own roadway maintenance vs taxpayers paying for highway maintenance.

Well maybe if we all had our own track construction crews to lay rails to grandma's house.
Red (third generation railroader)
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<RJ> wrote:

AAR (Assoc American RR's) says the industry average in '07 was 436 miles/gallon overall based on mileage and consumption. The answer is as another poster already pointed out--high payload makes the divisor quite large/mile. Same effect as the miles/passenger mile in large commercial aircraft--when divide by 300+ passengers, the hourly consumption goes down on an individually basis quite rapidly as compared to an automobile.
The effect is most dramatically demonstrated if consider a 30 mpg car is 60 mi/passenger-mile when two are riding as opposed to only one.
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I suspect trains (even cargo trains) also have a huge aerodynamic advantage over cars due to having very small frontal area relative to weight.
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Larry The Snake Guy wrote:

They also tend to have less steep hills.
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<RJ> wrote:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/rail-trucking-greenest.php
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wrote:

"Perhaps most importantly, trucks don't require their own infrastructure, and are therefore capable of reaching any destination without advance notice."
Aren't the interstates and local roads the trucks' infrastructure? I don't know if having your business massively subsidized by the government really counts as a plus.
Loved the bit about trucks pulling 2 or 3 trailers too. Ever see one of those Australian "road trains" heading across the outback? They'd look great on the freeways of LA.
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snipped-for-privacy@rocketmail.com wrote:

The cool thing about those Australian road trains is that the tractors they use are only marginally more powerful than the typical one used here in the US. About 500 HP. 'Course there's NO hills either.
s
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Listening to late night radio, someone called the triple trailers "wiggle wagons". I can imagine that.
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On Jun 4, 9:10pm, snipped-for-privacy@rocketmail.com wrote:

"The grants made between 1850 and 1871 turned over to the railroad companies about 159 million acres of the public domain, an area exceeding five states the size of Pennsylvania." -----
- gpsman
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If you agree to spend billions of your own money on this risky venture, we'll give you a whole bunch of worthless (at the time) buffalo pasture and desert. Such a deal!
Anyway, that's startup funding in support of social policy, not ongoing, never-ending maintenance subsidy. Not the same thing.
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snipped-for-privacy@rocketmail.com wrote:

A large portion of it was not at all worthless even at the time--it sold very rapidly as the railroads moved westward.
But, I agree it was social/national expansionist policy of the time and served the intended purpose.
OTOH, the public roadways also pay a handsome dividend...
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gpsman wrote:

Um...it's a common misconception that the government simply gifted the developing railroads these lands. That's not true. The railroads were required to carry government traffic at reduced rates which more than made up for the value of the land. This was finally repealed in the 1940's and by then it had more than compensated for the land.
http://dev.aar.org/AAR/IndustryInformation / ~/media/AAR/BackgroundPapers/144.ashx
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On Thu, 04 Jun 2009 14:46:30 -0700, <RJ> wrote:

Its all in how to manipulate the numbers. If I read this site correctly (http://www.aar.org/~/media/AAR/Files/natl_freight_capacity_study.ashx ) the maximum capacity of a RR car is almost 300,000 lbs.(150 tons), including the weight of the car itself. An average train contains over 80 cars (eyeball average). That is a lot of weight being towed by a train. This is average, not maximum load. If you use the maximum load capacity, multiply the fuel mileage on a full train by the number of tons on the train could easily yield quite a large number of miles per gallon per ton.
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