Reducing the drag of freight train cargo gives fuel saving benefit

Research undertaken by Nasa claims freight trains waste millions of gallons of diesel every year as a result of poor aerodynamics.

It says that adding dividers or bracing struts along the top of open top freight wagons gives around 4% improvement in fuel consumption as it breaks up the airflow. And, covering the top of the wagons all together gave a 43% reduction in drag and a 9% fuel saving.

The discovery is of equal relevance to designers of open top lorry and car trailers. Though most UK operators do cover their tops, many lorries such as those transporting scrap metal do not. This is often because of difficulties associated in climbing up the side of a vehicle and putting appropiate covers in place.

Tom Shelley

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