Fuel costs?

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,636
Location
Nottingham, England.
Are there any "reasonable" estimates available for what it costs in diesel fuel to run two locomotive with an average consist from Chicago to Emeryville, or Chicago to Los Angeles?
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
AU Supporting Member
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
33,178
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Joined
May 24, 2022
Messages
7
Location
Emeryville, California
I'm very interested in this question, as I've been doing some research into the climate impacts of Amtrak travel vs. air travel. Amtrak must know exactly how many gallons of diesel it takes to operate a single run of the California Zephyr, for example. Is there anyone in this forum who has access to that data?
 

rs9

Service Attendant
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
144
Location
Chicago
On the note of climate impacts: in doing this research myself, one thing I learned is that the overall warming impact of flying is essentially double whatever the impact of a plane's CO2 emissions are. This is because planes emit water vapor, nitrous oxides and soot that also have greenhouse effects.

I've read numerous studies on the plane vs. Amtrak debate, and there are different conclusions reached. Some studies say after 600 miles, plane travel becomes more efficient. I also read about a theoretical DC-Spokane non-stop flight vs. Amtrak, where the expert said the train would provide a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions.

So while we might not have a readily accessible answer yet, the tipping point for me is the Tier IV Siemens locomotives that are being rolled out. With estimated 10-16% fuel savings and 95% reduction in particulates (including nitrous oxides) that are harmful to humans, if nothing else Amtrak wins from the pollution standpoint.
 

Qapla

Engineer
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
2,403
Location
Gator Country Florida
Some studies say after 600 miles, plane travel becomes more efficient

Don't know about 600 miles being a magic number ... but I will have to agree that if you are planning to go 600 miles east out of NYC the plane is certainly a better option than the train - heading west or south is another story altogether.
 
Joined
May 24, 2022
Messages
7
Location
Emeryville, California
On the note of climate impacts: in doing this research myself, one thing I learned is that the overall warming impact of flying is essentially double whatever the impact of a plane's CO2 emissions are. This is because planes emit water vapor, nitrous oxides and soot that also have greenhouse effects.

Planes are also pumping C02 directly into higher strata of the atmosphere, and that alone multiplies the "radiative forcing" effect (a.k.a. greenhouse effect) by 1.9–2.7.

@Qapla 🤣 Yes I'm still waiting for the Chunnel to be extended a bit farther so I can take the Eurostar from NYC to Paris at 320 kilometers per hour. (And Amtrak will have trained me well for the 18-hour journey.)
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
4,886
Location
Baltimore. MD
@Qapla 🤣 Yes I'm still waiting for the Chunnel to be extended a bit farther so I can take the Eurostar from NYC to Paris at 320 kilometers per hour. (And Amtrak will have trained me well for the 18-hour journey.)
Better read "Tunnel through the Deeps" before you get too excited about the prospect. OK, so that novel is set in a parallel universe, but it was pointed out that anyone building a transatlantic tunnel would have to deal with crossing the Mid-Atlantic Rift, an active seismic zone where the European and North American tectonic plates are moving apart. Also, I'm not sure I'd want to be in a train with a mechanical problem while hurtling through a tube at abyssal depths.
 
Top