Re: Loaded and empty hoppers

The Gounleys <gounleys@...>

On Wed, 24 Sep 2003 at 15:18:50 -0500 Allen Rueter wrote:

This just shows you how cost effective a back haul is, the train Tim
is talking about went from MN/WI -> StLouis -> CO over Tennessee pass ->
UT with ore, then back to CO for a load of coal to any where from
Southern IL to WI.
and On Wed, Sep 24, 2003 at 10:41:30AM -0400, Tim O'Connor wrote:

In more recent memory, the SP ran unit coal trains from Utah to Wisconsin
and the empty trains were then sent to the Missabe Range, where they were
loaded with taconite for the return trip to Geneva Steel in Provo Utah.
The trains were incredibly efficient racking up better than 80% loaded
miles. Most railfans don't realize that empty coal trains use almost as
much fuel as loaded coal trains on the flatlands! The incremental cost
of sending the trains back loaded was so small that they economically
transported iron ore almost 2,000 miles!
The economics of the car cycle in question were not so good as it might appear. An empty train of hoppers at speed consumes a lot of fuel because of wind resistance from the empty cargo areas. Having seen how little of the cargo area the Reading used when hauling ore from Port Richmond to Bethlehem in hoppers, the return trip of ore would have required quite a lot more power to handle an ore load as heavy or heavier than the outbound coal (depending on how well the cars were sized to the coal's mass), plus wind resistance at a given speed probably nearly as great as an empty train. Still, it was a superb piece of marketing.

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