Railroads’ involvement in the automotive industry dates back to the early 1900s and Henry Ford’s innovative Highland Park assembly plant.
As demand for new automobiles grew, railroads designed a railcar specifically to move automobiles, increasing the number of autos carried per railcar from two to ten or more. Today, freight railroads offer North American automakers safe and reliable rail service, laying the groundwork for continued growth and vehicle sales that span the globe. No matter where the plants are located, the rail network is the backbone of the auto supply chain. In fact, railroads are involved in all stages of auto manufacturing. For example, they move iron ore and coke needed to make steel; deliver semi-finished goods to manufacturing plants where they are used to produce auto parts; and move finished parts and final vehicles.