What is the longest train ever you ask? The BHP Iron Ore is the longest freight train on record at over 4.57 miles or 7.35km while The Ghan is the longest passenger train, with an average length of 774m.
But, there is more to this story below.
So, not all trains are created equal. Some are short, while others are long. There are many things to consider when looking at the length of trains and why they get longer or shorter.
But, before we consider those factors, what is a train? Very simply, a train is a series of cargo or passenger carriages attached to one locomotive or several locomotives that move on rails.
Trains vary in length depending upon their purpose.
Some trains were built to transport large amounts of cargo over long distances, and some were made to transport people over short distances.
You often think of trains in terms of city-to-city routes. However, you run across a record-breaking train that is longer than a regular-sized train every once in a while.
This article will be taking a closer look at the world’s longest trains, how the trains work, and the stories that go along with them.
What Is The Longest Train Ever Recorded?
The longest train ever recorded was a train by BHP Iron Ore, a train in Australia that was 4.57miles or 7.353 kilometers long and contained 682 cars, weighing a total 99,734 tons.
This incredible record occurred on the 21st of June 2001. Well, actually it was two world records that occurred on this day, this was the longest train ever and also the heaviest train ever too!
Apparently, the engineer who drove the train had to operate it like an airplane, as he could only see the first ten carriages from his position in the engine.
I’m glad it was him and not me, although I would have loved to be along for the ride.
Let’s dive deeper into some interesting facts about this amazing achievement.
Who Is BHP Iron Ore?
BHP Iron Ore or “BHP” as they are known, is a large Australian – British, highly diversified mining and resource company that extracts, processes, and refines, iron ore, coal, metals, and mineral on a global scale.
In 2021 BHP produced 253.5 million tons of iron ore! So you know why they operate the longest train ever!
What Was The Locomotive Used?
There were actually eight GE AC6000CW’s, as I am sure you have seen these around, these models are commonly used by CSX in the U.S. Now, they are not cheap locomotives, but they are strong, powerful, reliable, and were needed to pull the insanely heavy load.
These locomotives are diesel-electric locomotives and are among the world’s most powerful too. There were designed and manufactured to be the ultimate workhorse with a focus on pulling heavy train loads of coal and in this case iron ore.
How Many Cars Were Pulled & What Was The Load?
The BHP locomotive was pulling a total of 682 cars with an overall gross weight of 99,734 metric tonnes or 219.8 million pounds. You can guess what the cargo was, Iron Ore.
More About Train Journey
The train traveled North on the Mount Newman Railway, a privately owned ( by BHP) Australian railway that runs in total 264.7miles or 426 kilometers. (see the top left of the map below)
The average train on this route is still sizeable at 1.8miles or 2.89 kilometers long and each wagon carries up to 138 tonnes of product.
BHP Yandi is actually an iron ore mine named “Yandi Mine” it is located in the Pilbarra region of Western Australia, this is where the train gets loaded up.
Next stop Port Hedland!
Port Hedland is a deep water port and is known as a prime position known for exporting iron ore to Asia. Here the iron ore gets unloaded and the longest train ever prepares to make its way back down south to the mines again.
Enough of the BHP longest train ever, what about a passenger train?
What is the Longest Passenger Train?
The world’s longest passenger train is The Ghan, which runs between Adelaide and Darwin in Australia. It covers more than 3,000 miles, runs three times a week, and takes just under two days to complete its journey.
It’s named after the Afghan camel drivers who brought supplies to remote parts of Australia during World War II. The Ghan was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1947 on the 50th anniversary of the Federation, creating the Commonwealth of Australia.
What is the Longest Train Journey?
The Trans-Siberian railroad offers the longest train journey. It crosses over seven time zones and 6,000 miles of wilderness, starting in Moscow. It passes through cities like Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk before ending at Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast.
The trip takes seven days, during which passengers can witness the changing landscape. The train travels through some of Russia’s most isolated wildernesses, including forests and tundra. There are no large cities along the route, but passengers can see plenty of wildlife: elk, bears, and wolves roam freely on both sides of the tracks.
What is the World’s Longest Railway Network?
The world’s longest railway network is the United States rail network, covering about 148,433 km.
The U.S. railroads are owned by several privately owned or publicly traded companies. They are regulated by the federal government and overseen by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The FRA sets safety standards and oversees the maintenance of equipment and tracks, among other things.
The three largest freight railroads in the U.S. are Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP), Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (BNSF), and CSX Transportation, Incorporated (CSX).
These companies own rail lines throughout the country and offer services such as freight transportation and passenger rail service. The services are on trains operated by Amtrak, a government-owned corporation that provides intercity rail service throughout the United States.
Which is the Longest Nonstop Train?
The longest nonstop train in the world is the Trans-Siberian Railway. It stretches 9,288 miles from Moscow to Vladivostok, with stops in the cities of Perm, Yekaterinburg, and Novosibirsk. The trip takes seven days, with a few trains making the journey in six days.
The train passes through Russia’s vast taiga forests and crosses several bridges over huge rivers. It also passes through several time zones as it crosses Russia.
In addition to being the longest continuous train line globally, it is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in Russia.
What Is The Longest Length a Train Can Be?
Aside from the record above. Trains generally can be as long as 3,000 feet (914 meters) in length if they have only two engines pulling them along their track or route. The maximum length of a train is usually determined by the amount of available space in the rail network and the type of rolling stock used.
The length of a train is defined as the total distance between the front and back end of the last vehicle or caboose. The front end can be identified by its locomotive, which is also called a head unit. The back end is usually marked with a caboose that carries essential equipment and supplies for maintenance work.
On average, freight trains tend to be longer than passenger trains. They carry more cargo and need locomotives to pull them along their journey. Passenger trains only have one locomotive at each end of the train.
The longest common freight trains run on railways, such as those found in Russia or China. There are no speed limits on tracks except those imposed by braking systems or other limitations related to infrastructure and safety concerns.
Which Is The Longest Train Route in the World?
A second well deserved mention, The Trans-Siberian Railway is the longest train route in the world. It runs from Moscow to Vladivostok on Russia’s eastern coast, traversing six time zones and covering 9,300 miles (15,000 km). The Trans-Siberian has been in operation since 1916 and takes about seven days to complete if you leave Moscow and return from Vladivostok.
Train travel is an excellent way to see the world. The experience can be relaxing and exciting, but there are also many practical considerations when planning a trip.
One major consideration is how long your trip will take. If you’re planning a long-distance journey, you’ll want to know which railroads have the longest routes in the world. Here are other routes among the longest train routes ever:
- The Indian Railways Rajdhani Express is another long-distance train route that travels over 9,000 miles (14,500 km) between New Delhi and Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). The journey takes about 35 hours and has been in operation since 1969.
- The Kangaroo Route runs through Australia from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide and takes about 50 hours for this 8,000-mile route.
How Many Carriages Are On The Longest Passenger Train?
The longest train ever in history was a 44-carriage passenger train, The Ghan. The train comprises three classes; Premium Touring, Standard Touring, and Economy.
All passengers have access to a dining car and lounge car, while Premium Touring passengers have access to sleeper cabins.
The Ghan is operated by Great Southern Rail, which also operates other long-distance journeys, including the Indian Pacific and The Overland.
What is the Longest Train in the US
The longest train in the US is the Union Pacific Railroad’s (UP) Cheyenne Frontier Days Express. The train comprises eight locomotives and more than 200 cars, making it over 1.2 miles long.
The Cheyenne Frontier Days Express train has been operating since 1976 as part of the annual celebration of Wyoming’s statehood and cowboy heritage. In addition to providing rides for passengers, it also carries freight between Cheyenne and Denver, Colorado.
A second UP train, called the California Zephyr, is also famous for its length. It runs between Chicago and San Francisco twice a week during summer months and once weekly during winter months.
The longest passenger train in the United States is Amtrak’s Coast Starlight, which travels from Seattle to Los Angeles with stops in Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The Coast Starlight has six cars and can seat 1,000 passengers at one time.
Another notable mention of a long train route in the U.S is The Amtrak Cardinal, which goes between Chicago and New York and offers amazing views, especially in fall!
Conclusion: What is the Longest Train Ever?
The longest train ever was the amazing train operated by BHP. As you now know. The train was built by Australian mining company BHP Billiton to transport iron ore from their mines in Western Australia to the ports at Port Hedland. The distance was about 1,600 kilometers which took three days for the train to travel with an average speed of 28 kilometers per hour.
The idea behind building it was to reduce costs by reducing the number of locomotives required for each train. The BHP Iron Ore train is not only the longest train ever, but it’s also the heaviest train ever earning both of these titles in the one journey.
In terms of passenger trains, The Ghan is the longest. It is operated by Great Southern Rail between Adelaide, Alice Springs, and Darwin in Australia.
To kill your curiosity on the longest train ever, the above information has all you need to know.