We know they are heavy, in fact really heavy, so how much do trains weigh? An empty freight train can weigh anywhere between 30-80 tons. A fully loaded freight train can weigh from 3,000 to 18,000 tons depending on the attached cars.
The weight of a train can vary depending on if it’s made to carry goods or people, the length of it, its age of it, and how full it is.
As you know a “train” is made up of multiple cars and a minimum of one locomotive. Depending on the number of cars attached, you can estimate how heavy the entire train is. Well, this is how you start the calculation.
If the goods that are being transported are heavy, a train can have around 6-8 locomotives!
Let’s dive a little deeper into the different weights of trains.
How Much Does an Empty Train Car Weigh?
A single car on a train can weigh between 30-80 tons and can carry at least 100 tons of goods. In total, a freight car has a total weight of approximately 130 tons
However, passenger cars like coaches and sleepers can still be heavier compared to empty freight cars.
How Much Do Trains Weigh?
An average train can weigh anywhere between 3,000 to 18,000 tons. The weight can be a lot heavier if there are more cars attached to the train, naturally.
For example, the average weight of a grain pulling train is about 19,188 tons and the total weight of the locomotives that would be needed to be used for this train is about 848 tons.
This is to ensure that it effectively pulls the weight of the grain-loaded cars which is about 18,340 tons.
How Much Does a Full Train Weigh?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, a train can weigh anywhere between 3,000 to 18,000 tons, however when locally made, some trains only weigh around 1,500 to 6,000 tons.
The overall weight will depend on whether or not the train is carrying goods or people.
Also, you have to consider how many cars the train is hauling.
How Much Does a Freight Train Engine Weigh?
The average weight of a train engine (also known as a locomotive) is around 210-220 tons.
With that said, with the different models and types of train engines, you can expect the weight to differ depending on the manufacturer.
Some examples of freight train engines and their respective weights are the following:
- GE ES44AC weighs about 212 tons
- GE C44-9W weighs about 198 tons
- AC6000CW weighs about 212-216 tons
How Much Does a Passenger Engine Weigh?
Compared to freight train engines, passenger engines are a lot lighter, with the average weight of a passenger engine being around 115-120 tons.
Just like freight engines, the weight of a passenger engine can differ depending on the manufacturer.
Some examples of passenger engines and their respective weights are the following:
- EMD F40PF weighs around 117-127 tons
- P32AC-DM weighs about 124 tons
- Siemens Charger weighs about 120 tons
How Much Does a Loaded Coal Train Weigh?
When a freight train is hauling coal, it can have around 135-150 cars. Each car can carry a weight of around 175 to 231 tons of coal.
Each car will weigh around 207 to 250 tons while traveling.
What are the Lightest Trains and How Much Do They Weigh?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the passenger trains are lighter compared to freight trains, which is why the lightest trains you’ll find are mostly passenger trains.
Firstly, one of the reasons why passenger trains are lighter is because they only carry around 10-25 cars at a time. Secondly, an empty passenger car weighs about 68-72 tons.
Remember, this is in comparison to freight trains that can haul up to 200 cars when they are required to.
So, what are the lightest trains and cars on the market today?
Here are some examples:
- AmTrak’s P32AC-DM which weighs around 124 tons
- Superliner Coach II weighs about 68 tons
- Superliner Sleeper II weighs about 72 tons
What are the Heaviest Trains and How Much Do They Weigh?
Now that we’ve discussed the lightest trains, let’s move on to the heaviest trains in the world today.
The trains listed below are all freight trains that can carry heavy materials such as iron ore and coal and the numbers that are mentioned are their corresponding gross weight.
So, what are the heaviest trains in the world today?
- Norfolk & Western Railroad Freight trains can weigh about 43,699 metric tons
- Saldanha in South Africa can weigh about 70,543 metric tons
- BHP in Australia holds the record here and had the world’s longest and heaviest freight train weighing about 99,734 metric tons!
To know more about this insanely heavy freight train, click HERE.
How Much Does a Train Wheel Weigh?
Since trains are made of heavy materials and should be durable to travel while carrying heavy goods, it’s important that their wheels are also durable.
Depending on the type of train and the exact model of the wheels, a wheel can weigh up to 1.2 tons each.
Here are the different types of train wheels and their corresponding weights:
- A standard train wheel can weigh anywhere between 0.11 tons to 0.24 tons.
- Lighter-weight train wheels can weigh anywhere between 5 to 20 tons.
- KLW wheels can weigh anywhere between 0.18 tons to 1.15 tons.
- Individual wheels are the ones that are not attached to an axle. These wheels weigh anywhere between 0.2 tons to 1 ton.
Well, I hope I’ve answered your questions.
How Much Do Trains Weigh – Conclusion
So, know you know the answer to the question “How much do trains weigh” and before you look for a black and white answer, you need to investigate.
Look at the number of cars, the locomotives, the length, the age and build quality and of course, identify the load that the train is carrying.
Add all of that together and you have the weight of a train, or thereabouts.