FreightWaves is reporting that Greenbrier, a railcar manufacturer and lessor, has new goals for freight car design that are part of the company’s sustainability plans.
The report says that one goal is to reduce the tare weight of cars, so that fuel efficiency will improve, as well as enable customers to load more volume in each car, and even lower the number of cars needed for a given shipment. Shortening the car length so that more cars can be moved on a given train is another goal. The volume of cargo held by each car, however, would remain the same as current cars.
Greenbrier is also working on articulated freight cars, which means that cars will share axles with other cars, thereby reducing the overall weight of a given car.
Greenbrier points out that “By reducing the space between railcars through the sharing of axles, more railcars can be included in trains, allowing for greater efficiency through a larger volume of transported products. In particular, when intermodal railcars are articulated, there is significantly less slack throughout the train, which makes accelerating and braking more fuel-efficient and safer overall.
The company has also joined the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT), a nonprofit organization that is focused on the danger to highway safety posed by heavier trucks. Congress may be considering a project that would test the performance and safety of 91,000-pound trucks on highways. Other initiatives to put longer and heavier trucks on the road also exist. Greenbrier works with others to oppose these initiatives in an attempt to keep more traffic on the railroad.
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