Facts About Freight Trains

By Alexis Vega-Singer ; Updated January 09, 2018

Do you ever sit in your car at a railroad crossing, waiting for a freight train that never seems to end pass by? Here are some facts to ponder the next time you are stuck watching an endless parade of freight cars make you late for work.

Fuel-Efficient Trains

According to the Association of American Railroads, a freight train uses only one gallon of diesel fuel to move a ton of freight 436 miles.

Types of Freight

Coal accounted for nearly 44% of the freight carried by railroad in 2007. Chemicals, farm products, and non-metallic minerals together accounted for another 24%.

Tons of Freight

In 2006, 1,988,434,982 tons of freight originated in the United States, which was carried by 31,844,305 freight cars.

Miles of Rail

Texas has the most miles of rail in the U.S.: 10,804. There are 45 freight railroads operating in Texas alone.

Heaviest Freight Train

According to Guinness World Records, the heaviest freight train on record weighed 220 million pounds and was more than four and a half miles long.

About the Author

Alexis Vega-Singer has been an editor for ten years, doing general copyediting and developmental and production editing for ESL textbooks. She has an A.M. from Harvard in Greek and Latin Philology.