In 2019, the following states loaded the most freight:
- Wyoming (273 million tons)
- Illinois (126 million tons)
- Texas (118 million tons)
- Minnesota (90 million tons)
- California (64 million tons)
The following states received the most rail freight:
- Texas (208 million tons)
- Illinois (107 million tons)
- California (95 million tons)
- Minnesota (70 million tons)
- Georgia, Ohio and Washington (66 million tons each)
Overall, the busiest place for railroads in the nation is Chicago, a status it has held for 125 years. Daily, nearly 500 freight trains and 760 passenger trains operate through the region. About 25% of all U.S. freight rail traffic and 46% of all intermodal traffic begins, ends or travels through the Chicago region.
Chicago is also a great example of partnerships between intercity passenger, commuter and freight railroads. The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program is an innovative public-private partnership involving six of the Class I railroads, Amtrak, Metra, the state of Illinois, the city of Chicago, and seven regional counties. Launched in 2003, the $4.6 billion plan includes 70 projects (31 of which are already completed) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Chicago’s freight, commuter and intercity passenger railroads. For example, the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (CIP) will reduce congestion where 30 Metra trains, roughly 90 freight trains and one Amtrak train cross each other daily. Many of the projects will also separate local street traffic and rail traffic, improving safety and easing congestion for local residents.