Ever since the train was invented as a beneficial mode of transport, people have been using freight trains for shipping goods such as food, fuel, large cargo, bulk, containers, specialized cars, and more. Freight trains are used specifically to transport cargo. There are a number of benefits to using a freight train to transport products, especially with their ability to transport large and heavy items. A single powerful train can pull a very long train of freight cars over great distances and terrain. They usually contain at least one engine and a string of train cars which are joined together. People use trains to transport freight all over the world. Freight transport by rail is more economical and energy efficient than by road, especially over long distances. Freight trains are less flexible than road transport because they run on a specific track, and much freight transported has been transferred from rail to road or sea. Costs for shipping by train are usually lower than air freight or truck freight. Two types of freight trains that used to ship cargo are the Through Freight Train and the Local Freight Train.
If a train travels through one or more terminals before it arrives at its final stop, it is referred to as a Through Freight Train because it has run through the terminals without loading or unloading cargo. Sometimes the train crew is replaced at one of these terminals, but the train itself still continues to its final destination. A “through” freight train will only stop at the scheduled final destination and nowhere else along the route. A through freight travels across a subdivision without stopping. Long distance bulk freight such as coal, steel, and vehicle parts are usually transported using through freight trains.
Local Freight Trains consists of a collection and distribution system where freight cars are left with the shippers. For instance, if a freight car is scheduled to pick up a large quantify of bulk material from a processing plant, empty cars will be dropped off and the workers at the plant will load the cars with the material. Once loaded, the train will return, reattach the cars, and continue to transport the material to its scheduled destination. It can also work the other way where the train drops off loaded bulk cargo and returns to pick up the empty cars after the material has been removed. This type of operation can usually be found in such areas as the pulp and paper mills and the coal industry. The process usually takes place at all hours of the day and night. A local freight train can stop at almost most every small town along its route. Also, local freights might travel within a single urban area or between two manufacturing plants. A local freight train will transport just about anything and will stop to pick up or set out cars along the route. Local freight will travel for short distances such as between dock yards and factories, warehouses, goods depots, etc.