20,000 Containers?

When I first heard of the ship being grounded cross-ways in the Suez Canal, I immediately had an idea. Maybe instead of building the canal, they should have just built a railway overland. The ships could unload and the cargo could be carried by rail. Then the ships could be reloaded and they would be on their way.

It is true that it would take time to load and unload, but the speed of the train would partially make that up. After all, the rail could be reasonably straight, which would allow the trains to run at, maybe 80 or 90 miles an hour. Then I heard that they had 20,000 containers on the ship.

Bear in mind, this is a rough calculation because I don’t have the exact numbers to work from. However, containers come in 10, 20 and 40 feet sizes. Train cars are up to 60 feet. That means you could put one 20 and one 40 foot container on each car. That assumes there are an equal number of 20 and 40 foot containers. Invariably, not all the railroad cars would not be fully loaded. For my calculation, I would consider that they are.

That would mean that it would take 10,000 railroad cars. That would mean that the train would need to be over a hundred miles long, actually more like 115 miles when you consider distance between cars and who knows how many locomotives.

My conclusion… I don’t think it would work. It would never be practical, though it could be done.

However, it does illustrate how big those ships are.