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Average length of North American railcars

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:26 pm
by NSSD70ACe
Hey all,

I was wondering if anyone knew what the average length of a North American rail car is? I didn't turn up anything on Google but another (unconfirmed) source said it was around 50 feet. Would that be about right?

Thanks,

-NS

Re: Average length of North American railcars

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:47 pm
by trnwatcher
I would guess it might be closer to 60'. Single door box cars and older gons are 50' (mostly) but the rest of the NA freight car fleet is over 50'. I would think you could take a sampling from a recent freight car guide and see what you could come up with.

Re: Average length of North American railcars

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:55 pm
by PatAzo
I would guess longer than 50'. You talking average so half the cars in the fleet(s) would have to be shorter than 50'. About the only thing shorter are two bay hoppers. I'm going to guess closer to 60' but I haven't done any analysis.

Google can be a good tool but Google is filtering the results they give you based on a variety of metrics. Where you live, pages other people have visited, who pays them the most and so forth. It's best suited to pop culture and marketing driven search results.


http://www.progressiverailroading.com/c ... 015--45023

https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/customers ... equipment/

Re: Average length of North American railcars

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:42 pm
by rob
When I don't know the length of my train I multiply the number of car by 55 and it gets real close. So I would thing 55ft would be the average.

Rob

Re: Average length of North American railcars

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:07 pm
by trnwatcher
rob wrote:When I don't know the length of my train I multiply the number of car by 55 and it gets real close. So I would thing 55ft would be the average.

Rob
I was guessing 55 to 57 feet as an average. Autoracks and TOFC flats throw these numbers off but they are such a small percentage of the overall freight car fleet. Between 57' coal hoppers, 3\4 bay CH's and 55+' oil cans they seem to make up a larger percentage of the freight car fleet.

Re: Average length of North American railcars

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:27 pm
by AARR
Lots of 40' high-side gondolas, aggregate and coal hopper cars and 2-bay covered hopper cars out there these days to keep the average lower. Between 55-60' seems about right IMHO.

Re: Average length of North American railcars

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:31 pm
by NSSD70ACe
Thanks for all the replies everyone. It seems the general consensus is about 55-60', so I'll play it on the greater side and use 60 for my calculations.

Thanks again,

-NS