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 • 2 218

  • Ryan Smith
    Ryan Smith  4 hours back

    I see Union Pacific trains all the time coming through Marion, Oh. We get over 70 trains a day coming through town with 2 sets of "double diamonds"

    • Just Paul
      Just Paul  14 hours back

      F in chat for BNSF in this video, copywrite's a bitch

      • Happily Ham
        Happily Ham  2 days back

        This biggest mistake my country, Canada, ever made, was getting rid of the majority of it's rail lines and putting all that cargo on the roads.

        • lonelyPorterCH
          lonelyPorterCH  2 days back

          a train thats 4.3 km long? Oh wow, thats huge :D

          • lonelyPorterCH
            lonelyPorterCH  2 days back

            Yeah, switzerland has no sea too, so we have a very dense train-net^^

            • Charles Kronberg
              Charles Kronberg  2 days back

              2:50 I spy a passenger!

              • Timmy Saavedra
                Timmy Saavedra  4 days back

                Tim I like it when I get it for free

                • RGB
                  RGB  1 weeks back

                  My dad has worked for BNSF for 20 years. It’s cool to see a video on the rail roads

                  • Poppys Bench
                    Poppys Bench  2 weeks back

                    In Australia,the east/west trains have a crew car behind the locos so they change crews on the move when duty cycles occur,so there are no delays.

                    • stephen heath
                      stephen heath  2 weeks back


                      • Michael Gordon
                        Michael Gordon  2 weeks back

                        One of the Western Australian iron ore miner are automating their ore trains - no driver or guard on board

                        • John Mike
                          John Mike  2 weeks back

                          The RO-LA system (Rolling highway) is one the rise in Europe, where you load a truck on a train, and take it to another city, it's more cost efficient for the trucker and obviously can take the time to rest

                          • mrpetehampson
                            mrpetehampson  2 weeks back

                            There isn’t a driver shortage, what there is a a shortage of good paying companies that pay Us truck drivers

                            • TheNecromancer077
                              TheNecromancer077  2 weeks back

                              Thanks for the info

                            • mrpetehampson
                              mrpetehampson  2 weeks back

                              TheNecromancer077 you would probably have to work 60 to 70 hours a week for that kind of money, I’ve driven in Canada and USA, Australia for 2 years before my visa ran out and currently back in England and I’m hoping to go over to New Zealand I just need a visa to get over there

                            • TheNecromancer077
                              TheNecromancer077  2 weeks back

                              Didn't Walmart started paying 70K? Because of the lack or truck drivers?? If you ask me that's a lot of salary

                          • Count Ricøla
                            Count Ricøla  2 weeks back

                            Forgot norway

                            • Quabbelfax
                              Quabbelfax  3 weeks back

                              wait a second, more than 12 hours for 444 kilometers? How slow are these trains

                            • Peter Griffin
                              Peter Griffin  3 weeks back

                              “Wind resistance “ I bet all the engineers are triggered

                              • Ken Rhinehart
                                Ken Rhinehart  3 weeks back

                                Incredibly fascinating!

                                • SportDogg2008
                                  SportDogg2008  3 weeks back

                                  How about the Great Lakes!

                                  • Bandrewson P
                                    Bandrewson P  3 weeks back

                                    Lathrop is a shit hole

                                    • Michael Niemiera
                                      Michael Niemiera  3 weeks back

                                      Kearny, NJ is pronounced Car-nee.

                                      • AJ Deere T680
                                        AJ Deere T680  4 weeks back

                                        1:45 i wonder why he blured BNSF when he talks about it later

                                        • Victor LOIC
                                          Victor LOIC  4 weeks back

                                          keep uploading those kind of videos , nice work !

                                          • Henry Clee
                                            Henry Clee  4 weeks back

                                            20 cents per mile per ton doesn't sound right

                                          • John Barron
                                            John Barron  4 weeks back

                                            Rail transportation will always be the number 1 method of moving bulk goods and intermodal containers throughout the US. No other method of transport will ever come even close to the energy efficiency of rail. Trucks have about 5 times as much rolling resistance as trains, and they have hundreds of times more aerodynamic drag per ton at highway speeds than 100+ car freight trains. The most efficient cargo planes have maximum cruising lift to drag ratios of about 20:1, which equates to 50 times more resistance than railroad. Not even the hyper loop can overtake traditional rail, even if it could completely eliminate aerodynamic drag. At high speeds (>200 mph), where magnetic levitation is most efficient, the currents induced in the stationary coils still contribute a considerable amount of magnetic drag on the train, on par with the rolling resistance of a semi truck. And on a freight train, aerodynamic losses are very small compared to rolling resistance, since freight trains rarely travel faster than 60 mph and have essentially infinite sectional density. Most of the gains left to be seen in transportation energy efficiency will involve revolutionary changes in propulsion/powerplant technologies for fossil fuel-burning engines, which take advantage of the stupidly high energy density of crude-oil derivative fuels but still lack in efficiency. All-electric prime movers rely on electricity generated elsewhere at efficiencies that can be much higher than fossil fuel combustion (solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, wind), however these prime movers face the logistical challenge of either storing this electrical energy onboard the train, which would require an insane mass of batteries and cooling fans, or receiving it from the railroad, which would require a very costly overhaul of existing railroad infrastructure that no one would want to pay for. The path of least resistance and minimum cost is to continue research on new diesel power cycle enhancements to efficiency.

                                            • Samsng Device
                                              Samsng Device  4 weeks back

                                              Up next: 🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊
                                              How do carrier pigeons work ..
                                              1 carrier ton of bird doodooo costs

                                              • Anuj marsha
                                                Anuj marsha  4 weeks back

                                                Sir I genuinely believe your channel is the best on YouTube for those who love economics, logistics and Entrepreneurship.
                                                Your videos provide valuable knowledge with simplicity. The way you talk, the way you present are fabulous.
                                                I want to know from where you gather this knowledge. Please share your sources. It will provide very great value

                                                • Nick McCann
                                                  Nick McCann  1 months back

                                                  when your dad works for Norfolk southern and you already know most of this

                                                  • Four Nines
                                                    Four Nines  1 months back

                                                    "This video was made possible by skillshare."
                                                    I didn't know skillshare handled freight logistics...

                                                    • Four Nines
                                                      Four Nines  4 weeks back

                                                      @Mike Tayon Exactly.

                                                    • Mike Tayon
                                                      Mike Tayon  4 weeks back

                                                      Did you even think before hitting enter? LOL

                                                  • Brad Wolf
                                                    Brad Wolf  1 months back

                                                    Rail transportation is a Chinese dominated industry. - Eugene Kwok

                                                    • ツMárshmålløwツ
                                                      ツMárshmålløwツ  1 months back

                                                      I just learn a lot from this video, thank you so much 💘💘💘

                                                      • Mikosch2
                                                        Mikosch2  1 months back

                                                        If I gave my two cents on this, that would be me half a ton of freight!

                                                        • Lord Karelia
                                                          Lord Karelia  1 months back

                                                          Wait, a train? It's illegal!

                                                          • ecodetroit
                                                            ecodetroit  1 months back

                                                            Bigger and heavier trucks damage roads. Railroads own thei track network and have an incentive to minimize wear. Trucks use PUBLIC road systems and have less incentive.

                                                            • Losh
                                                              Losh  1 months back

                                                              You missed BNSF through central Oregon on the map. That's their main line from Washington to California.

                                                              • Keith Ode
                                                                Keith Ode  1 months back

                                                                Haha the poor Oregon Trunk gets no respect.

                                                            • Nancy Pelosi
                                                              Nancy Pelosi  2 months back

                                                              RIP Stobe the Hobo where I learned about crew change without any ads for Skillshare

                                                              • Ray Lopez
                                                                Ray Lopez  2 months back

                                                                Notice how inefficient union rules require frequent crew changes, stopping and starting trains is energy and time inefficient. When is the driverless train coming? Runaway train!

                                                                • Ricardo S. Santos
                                                                  Ricardo S. Santos  2 months back

                                                                  Brazil in 6th place in the top six users of freight rail transport, what shame... At least the Mito is running the country now and Brazil can get some real progress.

                                                                  • Jason Learakos
                                                                    Jason Learakos  2 months back

                                                                    American freight trains are the best trains out there. Even compared to high-speed trains, they don't need government support like high-speed trains. The worlds longest train was from Australia, but the 8 locomotives pulling the train that was almost 700 cars long were built in the U.S. We have the largest locomotive, the Big Boy, and the strongest, the AC6000CW. The United States have the best trains.

                                                                    • TheZui
                                                                      TheZui  1 weeks back

                                                                      @Jason Learakos "Very fast." - That's approximately 43 mph. Not that fast if you compare it to West European freight trains who drive 50-60mph, with some going as fast as 75 mph.
                                                                      "We invented..." - Not sure how inventing something in the past makes you the best right now 🤔
                                                                      "Also, our freight network is the best in the world." - It is really not. You might have the longest network, but it is by far not the densest. Switzerland has a more dense one.

                                                                      Like I said: It is your opinion and I probably can't change that, but the facts are against you. Countries like Switzerland just are better in terms of railways

                                                                    • Jason Learakos
                                                                      Jason Learakos  1 weeks back

                                                                      @TheZui 48 hours from Chicago to L.A. by freight train. Very fast. We invented the dome car, Pullman, Shays, and superheated steam locomotives giving them more power. We built the worlds first transcontinental railroad, and Union Pacific makes more money than Google. Also, our freight network is the best in the world. We use electric on many passenger lines, like the Chicago South Shore and South Bend, and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. Electric locomotives require lots of overhead wire, and that is very pricey when building a railroad that crosses the continent. Diesel and steam are much better for hauling freight.

                                                                    • TheZui
                                                                      TheZui  1 weeks back

                                                                      Your freight trains are also pretty slow and you use Diesel instead of electric engines.

                                                                      American trains are not bad, but they are far from the best

                                                                  • Mikayel Միքայել
                                                                    Mikayel Միքայել  2 months back

                                                                    Oh sweetheart America is not the world

                                                                    • Devoted Cetacean
                                                                      Devoted Cetacean  2 months back

                                                                      I hate getting stuck at railroad crossings...

                                                                      • Steffen Swoboda
                                                                        Steffen Swoboda  2 months back

                                                                        When you talk about building new tracks and trying to make trains the best way to transport goods, you never heard about Germany, here it is going on the complete other way and it sucks.

                                                                        • BB B
                                                                          BB B  2 months back

                                                                          Everything is about the $$$$$ its alll about the $$$$$$$$$$ works the world spin. EVEYRTHING IS ABOUT THE $$$$$$$$$$. And dumbasses say money dont buy hapiness when litreally EVERYTHING is all about the $$$

                                                                          • Sam 89
                                                                            Sam 89  2 months back

                                                                            Thank you for including both miles and kilometers. The most annoying thing is having to pause a video to do a math conversion.

                                                                            • BGerbs66
                                                                              BGerbs66  2 months back

                                                                              Never thought my hometown (Long Beach, CA) would be mentioned in one of these.

                                                                              • Railway Zone
                                                                                Railway Zone  2 months back

                                                                                Great Video..

                                                                                • Maurice Jones
                                                                                  Maurice Jones  2 months back


                                                                                  • thaintriguing1
                                                                                    thaintriguing1  2 months back

                                                                                    Does skillshare have a class to teach you how to make smooth ad transitions?

                                                                                    • Sophie S
                                                                                      Sophie S  2 months back

                                                                                      Wait so in America the trains are still fully on fossil fuels? What about making trains run on electricity?

                                                                                      • Richard Nairn
                                                                                        Richard Nairn  2 months back

                                                                                        Hernando Malinche We aren’t talking about battery power. Much of Europe has electrified trains that use overhead wires. North America just has too big of a network and very remote rights of way where it would not be economical or efficient to electrify...

                                                                                      • Hernando Malinche
                                                                                        Hernando Malinche  2 months back

                                                                                        Sophie S Electricity doesn’t make sense for trains. Trains require a LOT of energy and you need energy sense fuel source like fossil fuels. Batteries just can’t compete. The train will need way too many batteries and the batteries will have to be thrown away which damage the environment.

                                                                                      • Richard Nairn
                                                                                        Richard Nairn  2 months back

                                                                                        The networks are far to large to electify...