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Title:Intermodal train loading methods and their effect on intermodal terminal operations
Author(s):Rickett, Tristan
Advisor(s):Barkan, Christopher P.L.; Edwards, John R.
Department / Program:Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline:Civil Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):intermodal trains
intermodal terminals
Abstract:The second largest source of revenue for North American railroads is the transport of intermodal freight. In comparison to truck transport, railway intermodal transport is more efficient due to the low-friction interface between the steel wheel and steel rail, closely coupled railcars, rolling stock capable of transporting multiple trailers and/or containers on a single railcar, and the ability to form long trains operated by a small number of operating personnel. In spite of its energy efficiency relative to trucks, rail intermodal freight has a higher fuel consumption rate than railroad bulk freight. This is due to its greater aerodynamic drag and the higher operating speeds that are required to compete with trucks. In 2008, Class I railroads spent $12.2 billion on fuel, representing 25.8% of their total operating expense. Maximizing the use of railcar wells and platforms and minimizing gap lengths between containers and/or trailers improves asset use as well as fuel efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag. In this thesis, I summarized the physical and operational components of an intermodal terminal and how to measure an intermodal terminal’s performance. I reviewed how North American railroads measure intermodal train loading and discussed how loading performance is affected by terminal operations. I described how a machine vision system developed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign evaluates intermodal train energy efficiency based on the container/trailer loading arrangement and the type of rolling stock used. I analyzed terminal loading data and demonstrated how it can be used to evaluate loading performance and specific processes within a terminal. This research investigated how railroads can reduce intermodal train fuel consumption through improved loading practices while minimizing negative impacts to terminal performance.
Issue Date:2014-01-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Tristan Rickett
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-01-16
Date Deposited:2013-12

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