Table of Train Weights

Here are some trains, and their weights. The headline figure is weight per linear meter of length, but also includes other metrics of interest. Not included is any feature of interior design, such as the number of seats or the number and location of doors, as those reflect choices about seated vs. standing capacity and about the relative importance of quick boarding and alighting.

Most trains on the list are low-speed commuter trains, but a few are high-speed. All are EMUs, except for high-speed trains with dedicated power cars and two DMUs that are included for comparison. All are single-deck except the TGV Duplex, which is as light as a single-deck TGV.

All figures are in metric units. Length and width are in meters, weight in tons, and (short-term) power in megawatts. Load is the average weight in tons per axle; it is not the same as the axle load, which is the maximum loaded weight per axle. To the best of my ability, I’ve tried to give dry weights, without passengers, though I believe the N700 Shinkansen number is with passengers.

For English units, 1 metric ton per linear meter equals 0.336 short tons per linear foot.

Train Lng Wt Width Pow P/W Ld Wt/lng
E231 Series 200 256 2.95 1.52 5.9 6.4 1.28
E231 Series motor 20 28.5 2.95 0.38 13.3 7.1 1.43
DBAG Class 423 67.4 105 3.02 2.35 22.4 10.5 1.56
Talgo AVRIL 200 315 3.2 8.8 27.9 15 1.57
E233 Series 200 319 2.95 3.36 10.5 8 1.59
FLIRT, Swiss 74 120 2.88 2.6 21.7 12 1.62
A-Train, Japan (E257) 185.5 306 2.95 2.9 9.5 8.5 1.65
Desiro Classic 41.7 69 2.83 0.55 8 11.5 1.65
E751 Series motor 20.5 34 2.98 0.58 17 8.5 1.66
DBAG Class 425 67.5 114 2.84 2.35 20.6 11.4 1.69
FLIRT, Finnish 75 132 3.2 2.6 19.7 13.2 1.76
N700 Series 405 715 3.36 17.08 23.9 11.2 1.77
CAF Regional 98 175 2.94 2.4 13.7 14.6 1.79
E351 Series 252 456 2.84 3.6 7.9 9.5 1.81
BR Class 357 83 158 2.8 1.68 10.7 9.9 1.9
TGV Duplex 200 380 2.9 8.8 23.2 14.6 1.9
X60 107 206 3.26 3 14.6 14.7 1.93
Coradia Cont., 4 cars 71 140 2.92 2.88 20.6 14 1.97
Francilien (SNCF Z 50000), 8 cars 112.5 235 3.06 2.62 11.1 13.1 2.09
Zefiro 380 215 462 3.4 10 21.6 14.4 2.15
A-Train, UK HSR (BR 395) 121 265 2.81 3.36 12.7 11 2.19
LIRR M-7 26 57.5 3.2 0.8 13.9 14.4 2.21
Velaro CN 200 447 3.27 8.8 19.7 14 2.24
MNRR M-8 26 65.5 3.2 0.8 12.2 16.4 2.52
Silverliner V 26 66.5 3.2 0.8? 12? 16.6 2.56
Colorado Railcar, 1-level 26 67 3.2? 0.96 14.3 16.8 2.59
Acela Express 202 566 3.16 9.2 16.3 17.7 2.8

The table separates Japanese, European, and American trains, the latter two with hardly any overlap. I did not include too many French and British commuter trains, and those are fairly heavy by European standards, but even they are a bit lighter than the M-7, the lightest modern FRA-compliant train (British trains tend toward 2 t/m, French trains toward slightly more). I did include the lightest European trains I know of but not all the Japanese trains, selected mainly for the big Tokyo-area workhorses (E231, E233) and longer-range, higher-speed JR East trains that I thought were comparable to the needs of longer-distance American regional lines.

Eyeballing the non-American trains, I think it’s fair and unambitious to think of a train of the future that weighs 1.8 tons per meter, can achieve 15 kW/t, and is capable of 160 km/h. Multiple vendors beat that, often by a large enough margin to cushion against the slight weight increase coming from a wider loading gauge. The upshot of this is that any regulatory overhaul and regional rail revival in the US has to be coupled with a large train order replacing older, less capable trains over time, which means dropping an order for several thousand EMUs over 20 or so years. No single company can make all of these, but sharing in the order, as was done for the R160, could work.

This entry was posted in High-Speed Rail, Regional Rail, Transportation. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Table of Train Weights

  1. ant6n says:

    One could also mention the mr-90.

  2. It would be interesting to see what this means for operating costs from lost speed over time.

    • Alon Levy says:

      There are so many other variables involved – for example, power. The E231, the lightest train on this list, is very weak, since the services it runs on are at urban transit scale and speed, the main emphasis is on cost and maintainability rather than performance.

  3. Andy Guthrie says:

    Just for comparison with a relatively fast, light-weight train that ONCE ran in the US–any idea where a North Shore Line Electroliner would land on that table?

  4. Pingback: Train Weights, Bilevel Version | Pedestrian Observations

  5. ant6n says:

    This thread may be dead, but I had a thought – is it possible that the high weight of silverliner V and M-8′s is due to them being independent units? They need all their traction equipment, and cannot share that across multiple cars; plus, of course, the fact that they don’t have shared boogies.

    I wonder how much a three-car articulated FRA compliant emu would weigh.

  6. ant6n says:

    ic3, a danish DMU, 3 segments, 4 bogeys, 2 of them Jacobs bogeys, 58.80m, 97t, 1.65t/m.
    Renfe 594, a derivative version that exists in Spain, 2 segments, 4 bogeys, non of them shared, 47.35m, 97t, 2.03t/m.

    It seems that taking a married pair and turning it into a three-segment train with shared bogeys can stretch it out without too much of a weight penalty, thus reducing weight per length.

  7. ant6n says:

    (sorry about screwing up the links so many times…)

    ic3, a danish DMU, 3 segments, 4 bogeys, 2 of them Jacobs bogeys, 58.80m, 97t, 1.65t/m.
    Renfe 594, a derivative version that exists in Spain, 2 segments, 4 bogeys, non of them shared, 47.35m, 97t, 2.03t/m.

    It seems that taking a married pair and turning it into a three-segment train with shared bogeys can stretch it out without too much of a weight penalty, thus reducing weight per length.

  8. Pingback: Loopy Ideas Are Fine, If You’re an Entrepreneur | Pedestrian Observations

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