trainload

lizy

Senior Member
Spain-Spanish
So this is the sentence:

"Before the war the city received 120 trainloads of fuel; now it received none."

Does it really mean 120 trains loaded with fuel? 120 are quite a lot! Could trainloads mean here "wagons"?

Thank you all.
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    lizy said:
    So this is the sentence:

    "Before the war the city received 120 trainloads of fuel; now it received none."

    Does it really mean 120 trains loaded with fuel? 120 are quite a lot! Could trainloads mean here "wagons"?

    Thank you all.
    Well, in the absence of context, we can make educated guesses....a 'carload' usually refers to the contents of a single rail car, thus a trainload implies the load carried by all the cars in a train. Assuming that to be, for example, 50 railcars, and again in the absence of context assuming this to be a daily delivery, that would yield 50x120 or 6000 railcar loads of fuel.
    That's not a huge amount to provide electricity and/or heat to a large city.

    On the other hand, perhaps the frequency of delivery is weekly or monthly?

    Lizy, your question is a good one, but we don't have the facts to give it a sound answer.

    Saludos,
    Cuchu
     

    lizy

    Senior Member
    Spain-Spanish
    The author talks about 120 trainloads A DAY. Sorry I left that out. I didn't do it on purpose. I've been thinking about it and maybe it's not too much fuel for a city like Petersburg, with 2.000.000 people and an average temperature of several degrees (Farenheit) below zero during the coldest months of the winter.
    However, I'll give you the next sentence:

    "Fuel was as short as anything else. Before the war the city received 120 TRAINLOADS of fuel A DAY; now it received none; now it received none and people gathered three to four trainloads firewood at best. Kerosene had been rationed in September, but by October there was none to give out."

    Thank you, Chuchu
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    lizy said:
    So this is the sentence:

    "Before the war the city received 120 trainloads of fuel; now it received none."

    Does it really mean 120 trains loaded with fuel? 120 are quite a lot! Could trainloads mean here "wagons"?

    Thank you all.
    Yes, I would say that the normal interpretation of this would indeed be 120 full trains (all carriages). Regards
     

    Nick

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    lizy said:
    "Fuel was as short as anything else. Before the war the city received 120 TRAINLOADS of fuel A DAY; now it received none; now it received none and people gathered three to four trainloads firewood at best. Kerosene had been rationed in September, but by October there was none to give out."
    I would have said that trainloads means full trains full of something, but this part makes me wonder. People do not gather 3 or 4 trainloads of firewood at all, let alone in a day. Maybe the author did mean wagons or wheelbarrows instead of trains.
     

    lizy

    Senior Member
    Spain-Spanish
    Nick said:
    I would have said that trainloads means full trains full of something, but this part makes me wonder. People do not gather 3 or 4 trainloads of firewood at all, let alone in a day. Maybe the author did mean wagons or wheelbarrows instead of trains.
    Yeah... I'm confused too, but considering that it was a very populated industrial region, and that people had to keep warm and get the factories going, maybe 120 wagons wouldn't be enaugh. I don't know.

    Thanks a lot, guys, I really appreciate your help.
     

    mjscott

    Senior Member
    American English
    I think you're going to have to refer to what the "accepted" value of a "trainload" was at the time of the writing. Except for living a short time in South America, I have lived in the EEUU. It wasn't until your provoking question that I gave any more thought to the meaning of a "trainload" in my vocabulary.

    Being brought up in the San Joaquin Valley, trainloads and trainloads of fruits and vegetables would travel up and down the valley daily. Some of the trains had a hundred cars or more on them--while others had only 15 cars behind the engine. If a trainload was measured by all that it had in all its boxcars, the measure of a "trainload" could not be very standardized when some trains were extremely long, and others were short. Maybe in this vein, myself and my peers grew up believing that a trainload was an empty boxcar full of whatever it is (wood, coal, an oil car filled with oil, etc.) This does not mean that I am correct!--it just means that this matter needs more research before being accurate in your answering! I remember hearing things such as, "This train is carrying 15 loads of tomatoes, 20 boxcars full of hay, 3 loads of new cars,...."--which might infer that at least in some part of the world, a "train load" is looked upon as one train car full.
    ....Interesting question!
     

    lizy

    Senior Member
    Spain-Spanish
    Thank you Mjscott for your interesting answer. I've really enjoyed it.The text was written in Chicago in 2003 so I don't think the meaning of trainload has changed all that much in a couple of years.
    Maybe I should try to get in touch with the author and ask him straight away. If I ever get an answer, I'll let you all know.
    Thanks again.
    I never thought my innocent question would start such a learned debate! ;-)
     
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