How Trains Are Used Worldwide
More and more businesses these days have turned to using the railways as a means to transport their products. This is especially true when the distances that need to be traveled are great.
Because shipping by train is so much more economical and environmentally-friendly, many governments are working to encourage businesses to transport their products in this way. Many trains that carry bulk freight such as iron ore and coal have to pull cars that weigh up to 130 tons each.
With some trains being up to 7 km long, the weight can get up around the tens of thousands of tons per train. That’s where the economic benefits of train transport really kick in. Some rail cars have open tops to allow for bulk loading and unloading of minerals and other bulk freight. Low-loader rail cars are used to transport vehicles and refrigerated cars are used to transport food items that need to stay cool and fresh. Most rail lines also have tanker cars that are used for transporting liquids and gases. Because these rail cars are usually used to transport dangerous freight, special handling is required by trained personnel.
The rail lines in some countries have trains that allow trucks loaded with freight to simply drive on and drive off rail cars once they reach their destination. These cars are called ‘piggyback’ trains and are becoming more popular as they save time and money for both railways and trucking companies. Many rail lines in the United States are switching over to this form of freight transport. Some rail lines have even started using specially-built rail cars that allow for ‘double-stacking’ of cars, saving even more money for customers.
Rail Industry Improvements
One of the biggest improvements to the global transport industry has been the use of large, steel containers to create intermodal transport systems.
By having containers that are all the same size, companies can load their products into the large boxes, have these containers loaded onto trucks and then shipped to rail cars and container ships that will carry the containers to distant ports around the world. The simple loading and unloading of these containers is accomplished by industrial cranes and takes very little time – compared to loading and unloading individual trucks for transport. There are at last count 18 million containers being used among various shipping companies around the world.