The Longest Train in the World

May 12, 2016

BHPB_Iron_Ore
Bahnfrend/Wikimedia

On June 21, 2011, a record was set in Western Australia that pushed the edge of technology of rail travel. This feat became the longest train in the world and the facts behind it are amazing.

BHP Iron Ore set the longest train record between the Yandi mine and Port Hedland in Western Australia in 2011. The train was 4.53 miles long and carried 82,000 metric tons, or about 181 million pounds of iron ore.  That’s the equivalent of carrying 247 Empire State Buildings. The train had 682 cars that were driven by eight General Electric diesel locomotives. Gross total weight for the entire train was 99,734 metric tons. This also beat the record for world’s heaviest train which was also held by BHP.

The locomotives were spread out among the cars in three pairs along with two single locomotives. The entire train was driven 170 miles by a single driver, and he trip took ten hours and four minutes. You can see the whole train below.

The record-breaking attempt was a test of the technology behind pulling longer and heavier trains. It beat the previous record that was set in 1991 in South Africa when an iron ore train pulled 660 cars that equaled a length of about 4.47 miles.

More Long Trains

The record for the longest train in the United States was a 3.5 mile train operated by Union Pacific from Dallas to Long Beach in 2010. It was a test to see if trains could be made longer through different power configurations, specifically locomotives that are placed throughout the line of cars. You can see it move by below.

The longest passenger train was a more than one-mile long train that had 7o coaches and was operated by the National Belgian Railway Company. It went from Ghent, Belgium to Ostend, Belgium, a distance of 38.9 miles, in 1991. It was a one-time train made specifically for a Belgian cancer research charity and dismantled after it made the record-breaking attempt. The journey was even broadcast on Belgium television.

The Longest Rail Line

The longest train route in the world travels more than 8,000 miles. The China-Europe Block Train starts in Yiwu, China and goes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and then ends in Madrid, Spain.  The route takes about 21 days to complete.

The route is longer than the Trans-Siberian railway which runs 5,772 miles, and the Moscow-to-Beijing route that runs 4,340 miles.

About the author 

Daniel Ganninger - The writer, editor, and chief lackey of Knowledge Stew, the author of the Knowledge Stew line of great trivia books, and editor of Fact World and the Knowledge Stew sister site on Medium. I hope you find things here to annoy those around you with your new found knowledge.

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