Moving freight by rail is 3 times more fuel efficient than moving freight on the highway. Trains can move a ton of freight nearly 450 miles on a single gallon of fuel. Efficient use of fuel means fewer greenhouse gas emissions for our planet.
Fuel efficiency for trains is measured in terms of ton-miles, because the length and weight of trains varies greatly. We are constantly working to improve our efficiency. In 2009, CSX trains averaged 468 miles per gallon per ton. (Learn more at the American Association of Railroads’ website, www.aar.org .)
Here is the formula for our 2009 fuel efficiency rating: (From the 2009 R-1 Report)
Schedule 750, Fuel consumed (freight + switching) = 446,999,921 gallons
Schedule 755, line 110, Revenue Ton-Miles = 209,248,946,000 RTM
RTM per gallon = (209,248,946,000 RTM / 446,999,921 gals) = 468 RTM/gal
CSX has invested $1.5 billion over the last decade to improve its locomotive fuel efficiency and reduce the corresponding emissions. We are focused on 4 key areas to drive continued improvement:
CSX locomotive engineers are coached on locomotive simulators, developing best practices and improving their awareness of fuel-efficient train handling. The company also uses locomotive Event Recorder Automated Download (ERAD). Similar to a “black box” on an air-plane, ERAD monitors and records actual train operations and is used to provide feedback to the engineers on how to improve fuel efficiency. In addition, CSX invests heavily in training its employees on proper locomotive shut-down rules to eliminate unnecessary idling. Using the ERAD program, we saved more than 19 million gallons of fuel between 2005 and 2009, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 200,000 tons.
Locomotive Idling Reduction Technology
To reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions during idling, CSX has invested in 2 separate pieces of idle-reducing technology, Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) and Automated Engine Start Stop (AESS). As the name suggests, APUs provide auxiliary power to a locomotive allowing the larger diesel engine to be shut down. AESS acts similarly by automatically shutting the locomotive down when not in use and automatically starting it when needed. In addition to these systems, CSX invests heavily in training our employees on proper locomotive shut-down rules to eliminate unnecessary idling.
Locomotive Fleet Enhancements
CSX has added nearly 20 multi-engine locomotives (GenSets) to its fleet in the last 3 years. These locomotives have multiple diesel engines that are automatically activated (1 at a time) as the work determines. These units are replacing older switching locomotives and are 25% more fuel efficient. Learn more
Piloting New Technology
CSX is committed to implementing new technology that optimizes train operations for fuel efficiency. This new, real-time, energy management technology uses GPS, track grade and curvature data and train information to identify the most fuel-efficient throttle settings for each trip as the train moves across the railroad. In addition, methods of rail lubrication are being explored to reduce rail-to-wheel friction and increase fuel efficiency.
Calculating Fuel Efficiency
Ton-mile per gallon is a unit of measurement to describe the efficiency of hauling freight by various modes of transportation.
The rail industry tracks and reports revenue ton-miles in the “Annual Report to the Surface Transportation Board” (commonly referred to as the R1 Report). The “Ton-Miles of Freight” annual value is reported in Schedule 755, line 110 of the R1 Report. The rail industry also tracks and reports annual fuel usage in the R1 Report, Schedule 750, line 4. These two reported values are used to determine a system-wide train efficiency value.
For example, in 2010, the CSX ton-miles of freight reported in the R1 Report = 229,172,569,000 ton-miles and the CSX 2010 reported fuel usage = 490,049,749 gallons.
The 2010 CSX system-wide train efficiency metric equals (229,172,569,000 ton-miles) divided by (490,049,749 gallons) equals 468 ton-miles per gallon.
In other words CSX trains, on average, can move a ton of freight nearly 500 miles on a gallon of fuel, based on our 2010 revenue ton miles and 2010 fuel use.
For example, a heavy-duty diesel truck that hauls 19 tons of freight a distance of 500 miles would consume approximately 71 gallons of diesel fuel. The efficiency of this freight haul would be calculated as:
(19 tons times 500 miles) divided by (71 gallons) equals 134 ton-miles per gallon.
This efficiency might be stated as “a truck can move a ton of freight 134 miles on a gallon of fuel.”
Similarly, a typical train might haul 3000 tons of freight 500 miles and consume approximately 3200 gallons of diesel fuel. The efficiency of this freight haul would be calculated as:
(3000 tons multiplied by 500 miles) divided by (3200 gallons) equals 469 ton-miles per gallon.
This efficiency might be stated as “a train can move a ton of freight 469 miles on a gallon of fuel.”
In this example, the train is approximately 3.5 times more efficient at hauling freight.
Additional information about fuel efficiency for various modes can be found on Mother Nature Network .