How Freight Trains Connect the World

  • Published: 05 March 2019
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    Animation by Josh Sherrington
    Sound by Graham Haerther (
    Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

    Special thanks to Patreon supporters Alec M Watson, Andrew J Thom, Arkadiy Kulev, Chris Allen, Chris Barker, Connor J Smith, Daddy Donald, Etienne Dechamps, Eyal Matsliah, Hank Green, Harrison Wiener, James Hughes, James McIntosh, John & Becki Johnston, Keith Bopp, Kelly J Knight, Ken Lee, Kyle, KyQuan Phong, Manoj Kasyap Govindaraju, MyNameIsKir, Plinio Correa, Qui Le, Sheldon Zhao, Simen Nerleir, and Tim Robinson

    Music by
    Select footage courtesy the AP Archive
    Select footage courtesy Bigstock:

    BNSF train clip courtesy Scott Hiddelston


Comments • 2 311

  • Stephen Powdexter
    Stephen Powdexter  2 days back

    Many comments but: what's with all those crew changes in the northwest route Chicago-Seattle? It sounds like we still have some featherbedding like when railroads still had to employ fire-men when they switched from coal to diesel.

    • Dennis De la Mara
      Dennis De la Mara  6 days back

      5:27 *are trains

      • Joseph Cotter
        Joseph Cotter  6 days back

        Please stop passing on the misinformation of a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. There isn't a shortage of truck drivers, there is a shortage of truck driver pay. The average truck driver makes between 45k-65k for 60-80 hours of work with most closer to the 45k mark. When taking into account overtime pay one would get if not driving a truck, said driver would make more money working at Walmart. Add to that truck drivers don't get any benefits usually other then self contributing plans where the companies put none of their own money into and the calculus is that it has degraded to barely over a minimum wage job. This is for an often dangerous job where one is in the case of OTR living away from home, eating unhealthy and overpriced junk food from truck stops, etc... The job is just flat out underpaid and the companies would rather churn drivers then pay a reasonable wage.

        • Tacit Dionysus
          Tacit Dionysus  2 weeks back

          So, where is the rest of the 'world'.

          • Duncan08
            Duncan08  2 weeks back

            Got really confused when he said Glasgow. Didnt know there was one in Montana.

            • Dylan Shramko
              Dylan Shramko  2 weeks back

              I think I'm at the wrong Wendover

              • Trains of Canada
                Trains of Canada  3 weeks back

                More train videos please ;)

                • SharkyCartel Railroad
                  SharkyCartel Railroad  3 weeks back

                  actualy 9000 horsepower is the strongest locomotive in america

                  • The Q
                    The Q  4 weeks back

                    !!!!! 2:52 Most locomotives DO NOT have 6,000HP. The ones that do/did were not in service long. For various reasons. Most locomotives average from 4300-4500HP. Not upwards of 6,000. There were only three models of American diesel locomotives built that reached or exceeded 6,000hp none were built in large numbers at the rated horsepower, and only one remains in active service at that horsepower due to its historical significance since it is a twin engine unit built in the 1970s.

                    In the 1990s there was a race set up by the large American railroads between the two major diesel-electric locomotive builders, Electromotive Diesel (EMD) and General Electric, to build a diesel locomotive that could meet or exceed 6,000HP using only one engine to reduce maintenance. Both companies had a very hard time meeting this goal due to mostly engine trouble and in the end very few of these were built. Although G.Es locomotives were used to set the worlds longest and heaviest train record.

                    Many railroads like union pacific encountered reliability issues and also the problem that since most trains are pulled by more than one locomotive if one broke during transit the others could pick up the slack. But this does not work if you lose 6,000+hp going up a 3% grade.

                    • Kj_mast_er
                      Kj_mast_er  4 weeks back

                      Quality Stuff, you need a prize or something

                      • Ed Porter
                        Ed Porter  4 weeks back

                        Soon we will see giant batteries being hauled by freight trains.

                        • hedgehog3180
                          hedgehog3180  4 weeks back

                          I mean it would be pretty simple to fully automate freight trains, automated trains are already common in metros and high speed rail is highly automated. Not that there's really a need since it requires so few people already.

                          • zazugee
                            zazugee  4 weeks back

                            "trucks go anywhere" <-- nope, they also go where there are roads
                            unless you're talking about a totaly 4x4 offroad capable truck and not a semi-truck

                            • Karla Hernández
                              Karla Hernández  4 weeks back

                              I'm a logistics teacher, and this video is just awesome. Thanks so much for the illustration.

                              • Rex Appleby
                                Rex Appleby  4 weeks back

                                It's amazing how cheap and fuel efficient they are.

                                • Timmy Failure
                                  Timmy Failure  1 months back

                                  I live right by a chicago trainyard!

                                  • Stranger Happened
                                    Stranger Happened  1 months back

                                    *1. The largest economies are only compared by PPP GDP,* not by nominal one, which is useless.
                                    2. It was strange to hear that the USA is a good example of how railway/freight systems work considering the fact that it is the most atypical among any and all countries of noticeable size.

                                    • iamthinking2202 _
                                      iamthinking2202 _  1 months back

                                      7:15 played that ticket to ride corridor well

                                      • wantaferrari
                                        wantaferrari  1 months back

                                        "How freight trains connect the US"

                                        • J J
                                          J J  1 months back

                                          tbh I think focusing on the US in this video is sensible. For example, things are different in Europe. With the exception of things like Amazon (which have the same issues in the US), we have a lot more demand for high speed cargo, and given that our cities are much, much closer together - time lost changing modes is easily overtaken by trucks. There is also a capacity issue as our rails are already at maximum capacity for passenger trains - and given that the cargo has to be loaded onto trucks ANYWAY, there's really not much point in sending cargo by train unless it is - as you say - low value bulk (for example coal). Additionally, cargo such as coal can be loaded directly at the mine, and unloaded directly at the customer (for example power stations), so there's efficiency gains there. Our trucking industry is also a lot more efficient than the US, in both fuel efficiency, time, and labour costs.

                                          • Ganesh Mantri
                                            Ganesh Mantri  1 months back

                                            Video header: world
                                            Actual video : USA USA USA

                                            • Silentatroman
                                              Silentatroman  1 months back

                                              It’s not a shortage of drivers, it’s the lack of good jobs for the drivers

                                              • N George
                                                N George  1 months back

                                                I love trains

                                                • Nitish Bharadwaj
                                                  Nitish Bharadwaj  1 months back

                                                  The title should have been:
                                                  How freight train connect the US

                                                • Graham Crichton
                                                  Graham Crichton  1 months back

                                                  Only 4 of the 12 largest economies are in Europe. Hilarious.

                                                  • Graham Crichton
                                                    Graham Crichton  3 days back

                                                    @kempo 95 it will certainly be interesting to see!

                                                  • kempo 95
                                                    kempo 95  3 days back

                                                    Brexit is only going to bring that number more down. Probably not really, since the Brexit doesn't seem to decrease the economy that much from the respective countries but the UK's economy is relatively slinking.

                                                  • Graham Crichton
                                                    Graham Crichton  3 days back

                                                    @kempo 95 trust me, with all this Brexit talk going on, that is amusing.

                                                  • kempo 95
                                                    kempo 95  4 days back

                                                    Not really, since Europe has mostly small countries with relatively low population numbers.

                                                • Rips
                                                  Rips  1 months back

                                                  I wish he talked about Canada more

                                                  • Cornelius Dr Vanderbilt
                                                    Cornelius Dr Vanderbilt  1 months back

                                                    The best is to Walk, then
                                                    The best is Bicycle, then
                                                    The best is Motorized Bicycle, then
                                                    The best is Motor Car ...Plane, Shuttle...
                                                    For freight: Railways are ... Lorries / Trucks cannot carry large amount of cargo ...
                                                    Marine Transportation for very large amount cargo appears cheaper but loses out on time to Railways ...
                                                    Efficient and Economic Transportation of Goods is a combination of all ...

                                                    • AviaNokke
                                                      AviaNokke  1 months back

                                                      European: Starts a passenger railroad compan in USA.
                                                      USA: ok
                                                      European: Suggest electric trains.
                                                      USA: We don't do that here.
                                                      European: ok.
                                                      USA: We need diesel for our long trains, they are suuuuuper long
                                                      Canada: Am I a joke to you?
                                                      USA: Dead mem-
                                                      Canada: You are a meme and old.
                                                      USA: SANCTIONS!
                                                      Canada: ok, we need to build a wall.
                                                      USA: Really? We are closed off to Canada and Mexico now.
                                                      European: Lets start a new company in Canada.

                                                      • TheAVgeekTeam
                                                        TheAVgeekTeam  1 months back

                                                        Gracias Moyano por darle empleo a lxs camionerxs ✌🏻✌🏻🇦🇷

                                                        • 58metzger
                                                          58metzger  1 months back

                                                          Thank you for using metric system

                                                          • Henry Windsor
                                                            Henry Windsor  1 months back

                                                            Now do one on trucks!

                                                            • StandardDifferent aka. samsausage

                                                              In Europe DB operaites cargo primarily in lot's of european contury such as the UK.

                                                              • Jason jamrs
                                                                Jason jamrs  1 months back

                                                                I love trains

                                                                • William Harp
                                                                  William Harp  1 months back

                                                                  i used to deliver loads to the Memphis rail yard and it was a mad house.

                                                                  • ARailway
                                                                    ARailway  1 months back

                                                                    Thanks for this video.

                                                                    • Amen Brother
                                                                      Amen Brother  1 months back

                                                                      Canada would not function without rail or tractor trailer

                                                                      • phillyslasher
                                                                        phillyslasher  1 months back

                                                                        Wait a fucking minute. Didn't you make a video about why "American trains suck"? lol then you go and do THIS video? America doesn't suck at trains, I'm pretty sure one loaded boxcar on a US freight train is carrying more goods than all of Europe moved by rail in the last 40 years combined :p Problem is, European fanboys are so fixated on SPEED that they don't even realize they are missing out on the true economic worth of a rail system.

                                                                        • xwingsarecool yt
                                                                          xwingsarecool yt  1 months back

                                                                          I live in New York, where there is a major CSX and Amtrak yard, a lot of commuter rail services, and subways everywhere, yet the only trains I see most of the time are subways and the occasional freight train by the crossing near my school

                                                                          • Kyle Comadoll
                                                                            Kyle Comadoll  2 months back

                                                                            Look at 7:30 there's a old southern pacific auto rack. I know I'm a bit late.

                                                                            • Timwi Heizmann
                                                                              Timwi Heizmann  2 months back

                                                                              You said that it might take an hour to walk the entire length of some of those superlong trains, and you mentioned that they’re sometimes staffed by only one person (the driver). That raises the question what happens if a problem occurs near the end of the train that forces the train to stop. Will the driver walk the entire distance to inspect the problem, and then potentially walk back to the locomotive if they managed to fix it on their own? Or do they just stop, call for help and then wait?

                                                                              • Trish Littlejohn
                                                                                Trish Littlejohn  2 months back

                                                                                where I live the trains take abt. ten seconds to pass but the gates close about a gazillion minutes before the train arrives

                                                                                • Oliver McGee
                                                                                  Oliver McGee  2 months back

                                                                                  You said Chicago is as Far East CSX but Chicago is as far west as CSX can go

                                                                                  • Sven Långström
                                                                                    Sven Långström  2 months back

                                                                                    In Sweden where I live, 80% of all the tracks is electrified so the "1 gallon per ton of freight" fuel consumption is a lot less since our energy grid is based on mostly hydropower and nuclear energy
                                                                                    Edit: But since it's electrified then you're not able to stack containers on top of each other

                                                                                    • zazugee
                                                                                      zazugee  4 weeks back

                                                                                      according to the video, most tracks are private owned by freight companies in the US
                                                                                      they appear to be single line cheap tracks, because they transport low value freight
                                                                                      radicaly different from smaller countries that focus on high value passengers cars
                                                                                      they build more expensive double and express electrified lanes

                                                                                    • zazugee
                                                                                      zazugee  4 weeks back

                                                                                      high speed lines need lower aspect ratio cabins
                                                                                      stacking is fine for freight because lower speed helps in reducing costs
                                                                                      but not so for passengers

                                                                                    • Sven Långström
                                                                                      Sven Långström  4 weeks back

                                                                                      @Krishna Mohan Sharma yeah we also have dubble decker passenger trains but they are only just tall enough to fit between the train and the cable. So at the moment, you only have room for one container

                                                                                    • Krishna Mohan Sharma
                                                                                      Krishna Mohan Sharma  4 weeks back

                                                                                      In India you can stack a container on a container even in electrified routes. Passenger trains dont operate in those routes. moreover India also has double decker trains.

                                                                                  • Riley Mannion
                                                                                    Riley Mannion  2 months back

                                                                                    That's the one shitty thing about Canada getting stuck behind a 4km long train that's doing 10km/ hour though the city😂

                                                                                    • Ishan Dey
                                                                                      Ishan Dey  2 months back

                                                                                      'How Freight Trains Connect the World'. More like 'How Freight Trains Connect USA'

                                                                                      • Trevor Bayless
                                                                                        Trevor Bayless  2 months back

                                                                                        Trains are more superior and will always be more superior

                                                                                        • Nice Try NSA
                                                                                          Nice Try NSA  2 months back

                                                                                          Train: moves 0.001 mph
                                                                                          India: super duper fast extreme high speed train

                                                                                          • cartman4885
                                                                                            cartman4885  2 months back

                                                                                            Nice video except for the fact that their is no driver shortage in the US because if there was we would make more and get more hours................