Electrification of US Railways

Submitted by Kristian on Mon, 11/16/2020 - 17:44

Electrification of US Railways

Electrification of US RailwaysThe US is changing significantly as a result of industry experts and activists binding together to create a series of electrified railways. The goal is to replace a series of diesel locomotives with electrical engines across the United States. These wires would provide a nationwide electricity transmission system that would help deliver a series of renewable energy resources across the United States. The plan includes several data points that could lead to the advantages of an electrified railway across the US system. Government analysts and industry analysts are skeptical if the plan will be properly implemented within the next few decades. 

Long-haul transportation is much more efficient with electricity via train than it is through a truck. The physics of steel rolling along steel can be much more energy-efficient as rubber and concrete produce more friction. Trains can also be more aerodynamically efficient than trucks and this leads to less pollution and less energy that needs to be used to drive a locomotive. 

A robust rail system that uses electric energy can perform better rather than using trucks on the roadway. A more robust railroad system could replace a substantial amount of truck traffic and lead to shipping costs lowering considerably. 

Even tho trains are more efficient than trucks, not every train will be as equally efficient. A diesel powertrain is able to transfer only 30 to 35% of its energy to the wheels. Powering trains with electricity over diesel can have many other benefits such as lowering emissions. Eliminating diesel-powered locomotives could reduce air pollution including organic compounds, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, and soot. This can improve the environment and public health. 

Switching from diesel to electricity will make sure that there are alternatives that lead to greenhouse gas emissions improvement across the world. 

The number of US railways that are running on electricity is still relatively low but the switchover from diesel to electric can lower some of the upfront power costs and the electrical systems costs significantly. Railroad operators have continued to switch to electric power across the USA and with a few passenger trains now switching over, we are starting to see a difference in the scheduled operations and electrical supplies of trains nationwide.

As the industry continues to evolve and the chance for items like high-speed rail come into the US rail industry, we will see overwhelming results in the transportation industry related to rail travel, shipping, and green house gas emissions. Contact us today to learn more!