Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Longest Train


Where can I find the Longest length of a railroad train in the USA that is recorded?

—Benny Ray, Retired Locomotive engineer, AT&SF Railroad


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Of course, the answer depends on the location (U.S. vs. worldwide) and date, as "records" are made to be broken. See:

Longest train ever

Longest Freight Train
David Umhauer wrote: "In the very late sixties the N&W ran a 550 car train along the Ohio River. a news photo appeared in Trains Magazine. It was a one shot. They never tried to repeat it."

Guinness Railroad World Records
"LONGEST TRAIN: The longest and heaviest freight train on record was one about 4 miles in length consisting of 500 coal cars with three 3600 hp diesels pulling and three more in the middle, on the Iaegar, WV, to Portsmouth, OH stretch of 157 miles on the Norfolk & Western RR on Nov 15, 1967. The total weight was nearly 47,250 tons."

Longest freight train
"From The Guiness book of railway facts and feats: The heaviest and longest train, with the largest number of wagons recorded, was run on the 3'6" gauge Sishen-Saldanha railway in South Africa on 26-27 August 1989. The train consisted of 660 wagons each loaded to 105 tons gross, a tank car and a caboose (guards van). The train was moved by nine 50kv electric and seven diesel electric locomotives distributed along the train. The train was 7.3km (4.5miles) long and weighed 69393 tons, excluding locomotives. It travelled 861km (535 miles)."

Longest train in the world
"The longest train ever was a freight train:
Length: 7.353 KM
# of cars: 682
# of engines: 8 diesel/electric
Company: BHP Iron Ore
Location: Port Hedland, Australia
Length of trip: 275 KM - 171 Miles
Date of trip: June 21 2001"

Guiness World Records
"Longest Freight Train: The longest train ever was 7.353 km (4.568 miles) long, and consisted of 682 ore cars pushed by 8 powerful diesel-electric locomotives. Assembled by BHP Iron Ore, the train travelled 275 km (171 miles) from the company's Newman and Yandi mines to Port Hedland, Western Australia, on June 21st, 2001."

6/29/2006 4:06 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Gene Lewis

In the dusty corridors of my memory I seem to recall that the Norfolk & Western put a 350 car coal train together in the Portsmouth, Ohio, area just to see how long a train they could handle. The time period? late 1980s? I think Trains Magazine carried an item on it. Perhaps their index would contain a reference.
30 EML

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

7/02/2006 12:03 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Trains, probably at least 15 years ago, had a feature on Kansas City Southern, describing the huge trains that greatly exceeded the siding length, and required "saw by" when meets occurred.

—B D P

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

7/06/2006 5:51 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: N Kent Loudon

I don't know if anyone has heard of the utterly humongous trains operated by a mining outfit in a remote area of Australia. They are literally hundreds of cars long, with dozens of "distributed power" units spaced throughout, and... operated with a one-person crew!

Actually, the "driver" has very little to do as most of their operation is controlled by radio and computers.


[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

7/08/2006 11:29 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: FC Gamst
Subject: "Very little to do"?

Yes, the iron ore trains of the three principle roads in "the Pilbara" of NW, state of Western Australia might well be the longest frts. in the world, certainly the heaviest. To exchange information, the mangers of these roads attend the periodic "Heavy Haul" conferences held at various worldwide locations. I have not done a car count but 45,000 tons is the heaviest revenue tonnage that I know of. A problem is such a long train ties up the seaport terminal. Thus shorter trains are ordinarily run. A friend, managing one of the roads, did a 45,000-ton ore train some 10 years ago and was not pleased with the effect the arrival of this behemoth had on his efficient terminal ops.

During my field trips I did not find that the Pilbara engine driver had "little to do." In train control, the driver has both asynchronous and synchronous control of his head-end and DP units. As on any downgrade with tonnage trains, the driver can "urinate away" his air and can otherwise exceed the ruled ratios of brake pipe pressure to allowed maximum reduction pressure (not the possible 26 lbs. with a 90 lb. pipe). Then, there is the "do" with a variably fading dynamic on any set of units, DP or Head end. Balancing a train on a downgrade is not a cut and dried task.

The fact that the driver handles his DP units via coded, digital radio signals does not remove his control or obviate his responsibilities for the performances of the remote locomotives, anymore than it does for the trailing units in his head-end consist, signal-controlled via electrical control cable and inter-unit air hoses. If a driver has a set of head-end units and three sets of DP units, he necessarily has four motive power variables to handle in his train control.

In traffic control, the Aussie driver also executes meets and sometimes passes on the ST line according to the rules. The Pilbara ops were begun by US managers and original had AAR Standard Code rules but today we find Aussie managers and Australian-style rules. When handling a train under interrelations among the operating and air brake rules and outside environment conditions (having slow orders, civil speed restrictions, MOW ops, sun-kink warnings, etc.) anywhere in the world, the cognitive demands and processes of the driver/engineer/Fuehrer/etc. are considerable, even though an uninformed observer would see no overt physical movement on his part. More than the wheels on his train are continuously turning.

The below pertains to DP ops in the US and in the land of Oz.


Distributed Power (DP): Allows control and monitoring by an engineer from his lead, controlling locomotive of the power and braking for a number of locomotives placed at separate locations, to the rear, in his train consist. Two-way, coded, digital, data-radio communication exists between a head-end DP
radio and its electronically mated counterparts on each remote locomotive. Each locomotive in a DP train operates on a unique digital address. The DP engineer manually or automatically transmits control signals via the coded data-radio telemetry to each remote locomotive he operates. DP allows control by the engineer from the lead locomotive of the power and braking of locomotives placed at separate locations in a train consist. Thus, the road engineer no longer has to rely on transmitting voice-radio signals to a helper engineer on
a separately crewed locomotive back in the train. With DP, the engineer can handle long, heavy trains more safely than by non-DP methods. Distribution of power and braking throughout a train results in quicker and smoother starting and stopping of a train, reduces train transit time, and allows trains of great tonnages otherwise not feasible. DP reduces in-train forces – preventing the buckling of a train and the lifting off the rails of a light car and lessening damage to lading.
Older DP required that an engineer manipulate multiple sets of controls, for the lead and remote locomotives he operated. Newer DP equipment allows the engineer to use one set of controls for operation of his lead and remote locomotives. Here the engineer operates using the function keys of a “summary screen's” throttle and dynamic brake controls. Both older and newer DP can be operated either automatically in a synchronous mode or manually in an asynchronous, “independent control” mode. Thus, when enabled in independent mode by his settings on the head end, the engineer can operate his remote DP locomotive(s), as he commands, separately from his lead locomotive. Hence, he can be beginning to balance, under dynamic braking, his lead locomotive on a downgrade, while shoving under full throttle power with his remote locomotive, still on an upgrade or level track. Study of DP finds some of the same issues as with an RCL (radio-Remote Control Locomotive), including chip malfunctions and control via coded radio signals. DP operations were formerly called remote control locomotive operations. Drop (also, running/flying switch): A switching move

[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

7/09/2006 2:03 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: N. Kent Loudon

Fred, I take your comments under advisement. It appears that the driver on these trains is well occupied.

The information I got from an Aussie fan was that he takes a "whole lot of music CD's to belay boredom"! Never trust a railfan!


[from the R&LHS Newsgroup.]

7/10/2006 9:02 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

See related discussion.

2/27/2011 12:16 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Search for: Longest railroad train

2/27/2011 12:30 AM  

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