Overview of America’s Freight Railroads

From one end of the country to the other, America is connected by the best freight rail system in the world. The seven large “Class I” railroads, working with hundreds of smaller railroads and tens of thousands of rail customers, deliver economic growth, support job creation, and provide crucial environmental benefits such as reduced highway gridlock and cleaner air.

America’s freight railroads are almost entirely privately owned and operated: unlike trucks and barges, freight railroads operate overwhelmingly on infrastructure that they own, build, maintain, and pay for themselves. In recent years, railroads have been spending more than ever before on maintaining and growing their nearly 140,000-mile U.S. freight rail network.

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