How Freight Trains Connect the World

  • Published: 05 March 2019
  • Learn for free with Skillshare for two months by being one of the first 500 to sign up at

    Subscribe to Half as Interesting (The other channel from Wendover Productions):

    Get the Wendover Productions t-shirt:

    Check out my personal channel:

    Support Wendover Productions on Patreon:

    Email: [email protected]

    Animation by Josh Sherrington
    Sound by Graham Haerther (
    Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

    Special thanks to Patreon supporters Alec M Watson, Andrew J Thom, Arkadiy Kulev, Chris Allen, Chris Barker, Connor J Smith, Daddy Donald, Etienne Dechamps, Eyal Matsliah, Hank Green, Harrison Wiener, James Hughes, James McIntosh, John & Becki Johnston, Keith Bopp, Kelly J Knight, Ken Lee, Kyle, KyQuan Phong, Manoj Kasyap Govindaraju, MyNameIsKir, Plinio Correa, Qui Le, Sheldon Zhao, Simen Nerleir, and Tim Robinson

    Music by
    Select footage courtesy the AP Archive
    Select footage courtesy Bigstock:

    BNSF train clip courtesy Scott Hiddelston


Comments • 2 221

  • cartman4885
    cartman4885  6 days back

    Nice video except for the fact that their is no driver shortage in the US because if there was we would make more and get more hours................

    • devin dodson
      devin dodson  6 days back

      Locomotives cabs have bathrooms too and a fridge that works more like a cooler & there is freight engines that have 6,000 hp but typically you won’t see those on the rails (due to low numbers made of the models and it’s just unnecessary cause the ones with 6,000 hp are damn near the same length as two regular 4,500 hp motors together which means more maintenance and more cost over all and the more fright you have you can just put regular 4,500 hp motors together) most (damn near all) engines you see pulling the train have 4,500 hp

      • SummerDxVYT
        SummerDxVYT  6 days back

        1:46 Why id you blue the Railroad Logo we all know what it is its BNSF Railway

        • Ryan Smith
          Ryan Smith  1 weeks back

          I see Union Pacific trains all the time coming through Marion, Oh. We get over 70 trains a day coming through town with 2 sets of "double diamonds"

          • Just Paul
            Just Paul  1 weeks back

            F in chat for BNSF in this video, copywrite's a bitch

            • Happily Ham
              Happily Ham  1 weeks back

              This biggest mistake my country, Canada, ever made, was getting rid of the majority of it's rail lines and putting all that cargo on the roads.

              • lonelyPorterCH
                lonelyPorterCH  1 weeks back

                a train thats 4.3 km long? Oh wow, thats huge :D

                • lonelyPorterCH
                  lonelyPorterCH  1 weeks back

                  Yeah, switzerland has no sea too, so we have a very dense train-net^^

                  • Charles Kronberg
                    Charles Kronberg  1 weeks back

                    2:50 I spy a passenger!

                    • Timmy Saavedra
                      Timmy Saavedra  2 weeks back

                      Tim I like it when I get it for free

                      • RGB
                        RGB  2 weeks back

                        My dad has worked for BNSF for 20 years. It’s cool to see a video on the rail roads

                        • Poppys Bench
                          Poppys Bench  3 weeks back

                          In Australia,the east/west trains have a crew car behind the locos so they change crews on the move when duty cycles occur,so there are no delays.

                          • stephen heath
                            stephen heath  3 weeks back


                            • Michael Gordon
                              Michael Gordon  3 weeks back

                              One of the Western Australian iron ore miner are automating their ore trains - no driver or guard on board

                              • John Mike
                                John Mike  3 weeks back

                                The RO-LA system (Rolling highway) is one the rise in Europe, where you load a truck on a train, and take it to another city, it's more cost efficient for the trucker and obviously can take the time to rest

                                • mrpetehampson
                                  mrpetehampson  3 weeks back

                                  There isn’t a driver shortage, what there is a a shortage of good paying companies that pay Us truck drivers

                                  • TheNecromancer077
                                    TheNecromancer077  3 weeks back

                                    Thanks for the info

                                  • mrpetehampson
                                    mrpetehampson  3 weeks back

                                    TheNecromancer077 you would probably have to work 60 to 70 hours a week for that kind of money, I’ve driven in Canada and USA, Australia for 2 years before my visa ran out and currently back in England and I’m hoping to go over to New Zealand I just need a visa to get over there

                                  • TheNecromancer077
                                    TheNecromancer077  3 weeks back

                                    Didn't Walmart started paying 70K? Because of the lack or truck drivers?? If you ask me that's a lot of salary

                                • Count Ricøla
                                  Count Ricøla  3 weeks back

                                  Forgot norway

                                  • Quabbelfax
                                    Quabbelfax  4 weeks back

                                    wait a second, more than 12 hours for 444 kilometers? How slow are these trains

                                  • Peter Griffin
                                    Peter Griffin  4 weeks back

                                    “Wind resistance “ I bet all the engineers are triggered

                                    • Ken Rhinehart
                                      Ken Rhinehart  4 weeks back

                                      Incredibly fascinating!

                                      • SportDogg2008
                                        SportDogg2008  4 weeks back

                                        How about the Great Lakes!

                                        • Bandrewson P
                                          Bandrewson P  4 weeks back

                                          Lathrop is a shit hole

                                          • Michael Niemiera
                                            Michael Niemiera  1 months back

                                            Kearny, NJ is pronounced Car-nee.

                                            • AJ Deere T680
                                              AJ Deere T680  1 months back

                                              1:45 i wonder why he blured BNSF when he talks about it later

                                              • Victor LOIC
                                                Victor LOIC  1 months back

                                                keep uploading those kind of videos , nice work !

                                                • Henry Clee
                                                  Henry Clee  1 months back

                                                  20 cents per mile per ton doesn't sound right

                                                • John Barron
                                                  John Barron  1 months back

                                                  Rail transportation will always be the number 1 method of moving bulk goods and intermodal containers throughout the US. No other method of transport will ever come even close to the energy efficiency of rail. Trucks have about 5 times as much rolling resistance as trains, and they have hundreds of times more aerodynamic drag per ton at highway speeds than 100+ car freight trains. The most efficient cargo planes have maximum cruising lift to drag ratios of about 20:1, which equates to 50 times more resistance than railroad. Not even the hyper loop can overtake traditional rail, even if it could completely eliminate aerodynamic drag. At high speeds (>200 mph), where magnetic levitation is most efficient, the currents induced in the stationary coils still contribute a considerable amount of magnetic drag on the train, on par with the rolling resistance of a semi truck. And on a freight train, aerodynamic losses are very small compared to rolling resistance, since freight trains rarely travel faster than 60 mph and have essentially infinite sectional density. Most of the gains left to be seen in transportation energy efficiency will involve revolutionary changes in propulsion/powerplant technologies for fossil fuel-burning engines, which take advantage of the stupidly high energy density of crude-oil derivative fuels but still lack in efficiency. All-electric prime movers rely on electricity generated elsewhere at efficiencies that can be much higher than fossil fuel combustion (solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, wind), however these prime movers face the logistical challenge of either storing this electrical energy onboard the train, which would require an insane mass of batteries and cooling fans, or receiving it from the railroad, which would require a very costly overhaul of existing railroad infrastructure that no one would want to pay for. The path of least resistance and minimum cost is to continue research on new diesel power cycle enhancements to efficiency.

                                                  • Samsng Device
                                                    Samsng Device  1 months back

                                                    Up next: 🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊🕊
                                                    How do carrier pigeons work ..
                                                    1 carrier ton of bird doodooo costs

                                                    • Anuj marsha
                                                      Anuj marsha  1 months back

                                                      Sir I genuinely believe your channel is the best on YouTube for those who love economics, logistics and Entrepreneurship.
                                                      Your videos provide valuable knowledge with simplicity. The way you talk, the way you present are fabulous.
                                                      I want to know from where you gather this knowledge. Please share your sources. It will provide very great value

                                                      • Nick McCann
                                                        Nick McCann  1 months back

                                                        when your dad works for Norfolk southern and you already know most of this

                                                        • Four Nines
                                                          Four Nines  1 months back

                                                          "This video was made possible by skillshare."
                                                          I didn't know skillshare handled freight logistics...

                                                          • Four Nines
                                                            Four Nines  1 months back

                                                            @Mike Tayon Exactly.

                                                          • Mike Tayon
                                                            Mike Tayon  1 months back

                                                            Did you even think before hitting enter? LOL

                                                        • Brad Wolf
                                                          Brad Wolf  1 months back

                                                          Rail transportation is a Chinese dominated industry. - Eugene Kwok

                                                          • ツMárshmålløwツ
                                                            ツMárshmålløwツ  2 months back

                                                            I just learn a lot from this video, thank you so much 💘💘💘

                                                            • Mikosch2
                                                              Mikosch2  2 months back

                                                              If I gave my two cents on this, that would be me half a ton of freight!

                                                              • Lord Karelia
                                                                Lord Karelia  2 months back

                                                                Wait, a train? It's illegal!

                                                                • ecodetroit
                                                                  ecodetroit  2 months back

                                                                  Bigger and heavier trucks damage roads. Railroads own thei track network and have an incentive to minimize wear. Trucks use PUBLIC road systems and have less incentive.

                                                                  • Losh
                                                                    Losh  2 months back

                                                                    You missed BNSF through central Oregon on the map. That's their main line from Washington to California.

                                                                    • Keith Ode
                                                                      Keith Ode  1 months back

                                                                      Haha the poor Oregon Trunk gets no respect.

                                                                  • Nancy Pelosi
                                                                    Nancy Pelosi  2 months back

                                                                    RIP Stobe the Hobo where I learned about crew change without any ads for Skillshare

                                                                    • Ray Lopez
                                                                      Ray Lopez  2 months back

                                                                      Notice how inefficient union rules require frequent crew changes, stopping and starting trains is energy and time inefficient. When is the driverless train coming? Runaway train!

                                                                      • Ricardo S. Santos
                                                                        Ricardo S. Santos  2 months back

                                                                        Brazil in 6th place in the top six users of freight rail transport, what shame... At least the Mito is running the country now and Brazil can get some real progress.

                                                                        • Jason Learakos
                                                                          Jason Learakos  2 months back

                                                                          American freight trains are the best trains out there. Even compared to high-speed trains, they don't need government support like high-speed trains. The worlds longest train was from Australia, but the 8 locomotives pulling the train that was almost 700 cars long were built in the U.S. We have the largest locomotive, the Big Boy, and the strongest, the AC6000CW. The United States have the best trains.

                                                                          • TheZui
                                                                            TheZui  2 weeks back

                                                                            @Jason Learakos "Very fast." - That's approximately 43 mph. Not that fast if you compare it to West European freight trains who drive 50-60mph, with some going as fast as 75 mph.
                                                                            "We invented..." - Not sure how inventing something in the past makes you the best right now 🤔
                                                                            "Also, our freight network is the best in the world." - It is really not. You might have the longest network, but it is by far not the densest. Switzerland has a more dense one.

                                                                            Like I said: It is your opinion and I probably can't change that, but the facts are against you. Countries like Switzerland just are better in terms of railways

                                                                          • Jason Learakos
                                                                            Jason Learakos  2 weeks back

                                                                            @TheZui 48 hours from Chicago to L.A. by freight train. Very fast. We invented the dome car, Pullman, Shays, and superheated steam locomotives giving them more power. We built the worlds first transcontinental railroad, and Union Pacific makes more money than Google. Also, our freight network is the best in the world. We use electric on many passenger lines, like the Chicago South Shore and South Bend, and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. Electric locomotives require lots of overhead wire, and that is very pricey when building a railroad that crosses the continent. Diesel and steam are much better for hauling freight.

                                                                          • TheZui
                                                                            TheZui  2 weeks back

                                                                            Your freight trains are also pretty slow and you use Diesel instead of electric engines.

                                                                            American trains are not bad, but they are far from the best

                                                                        • Mikayel Միքայել
                                                                          Mikayel Միքայել  2 months back

                                                                          Oh sweetheart America is not the world

                                                                          • Devoted Cetacean
                                                                            Devoted Cetacean  2 months back

                                                                            I hate getting stuck at railroad crossings...

                                                                            • Steffen Swoboda
                                                                              Steffen Swoboda  2 months back

                                                                              When you talk about building new tracks and trying to make trains the best way to transport goods, you never heard about Germany, here it is going on the complete other way and it sucks.

                                                                              • BB B
                                                                                BB B  2 months back

                                                                                Everything is about the $$$$$ its alll about the $$$$$$$$$$ works the world spin. EVEYRTHING IS ABOUT THE $$$$$$$$$$. And dumbasses say money dont buy hapiness when litreally EVERYTHING is all about the $$$

                                                                                • Sam 89
                                                                                  Sam 89  2 months back

                                                                                  Thank you for including both miles and kilometers. The most annoying thing is having to pause a video to do a math conversion.

                                                                                  • BGerbs66
                                                                                    BGerbs66  2 months back

                                                                                    Never thought my hometown (Long Beach, CA) would be mentioned in one of these.

                                                                                    • Railway Zone
                                                                                      Railway Zone  2 months back

                                                                                      Great Video..