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Freight Rail in the News


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Freight Rail Issues


Freight Rail Facts

  • A Private Network
    America’s freight rail industry is one of the most efficient and cost-effective transportation networks in the world. Fueled by billions of dollars in annual private investment — averaging about $27 billion the past five years — railroads maintain and modernize the nation’s nearly 140,000-mile rail network to deliver for America.
  • Economically Critical
    In 2017, Class I railroads’ operations and capital investments supported over 1.1 million jobs, $219.5 billion in economic output and $71.3 billion in wages, while creating nearly $26 billion in total tax revenues. One job in the rail sector supports eight others across the economy.
  • Safe & Getting Safer
    Recent years have been the safest for the rail industry, with  2017 marking the lowest rate of track-caused accidents ever. Railroads train 20,000 first responders annually. More than 99.999% of all hazmat moved by  rail reaches its destination without  a release caused by an incident.
  • Future Focused
    Innovative technologies like ultrasound and drones allow railroads to inspect infrastructure and equipment with greater precision and frequency. America’s freight railroads continue to meet all Positive Train Control (PTC) deadlines.
  • Sustainable
    As the most sustainable way to move goods over land, a freight train, on average, moves one ton of freight 479 miles on one gallon of fuel. Moving goods by rail instead of truck reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 75%.
  • Trade Connector
    Global commerce is directly tied to 42% of rail traffic and 50,000 domestic rail jobs, worth $5.5 billion in annual wages and benefits. Railroads haul roughly 33% of U.S. exports, allowing U.S. industries to compete abroad while providing consumers access to a greater variety of goods.
  • Employee Driven
    In 2017, freight railroads employed roughly 170,000 people — the vast majority of whom are unionized and earn an average of $125,400 per year in total compensation — 60%  more than the average U.S. employee.

Rail Industry Links

  • The Surface Transportation Board (STB)
    The STB is a federal, bipartisan, independent adjudicatory board that has economic regulatory oversight of railroads.
  • The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
    The FRA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that promulgates and enforces rail safety regulations.
  • Railinc
    Railinc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the AAR and is the leading provider of information technology, related network operations and financial services, and near rail-time network data to North America’s railroads.
  • The Transportation Technology Center, Inc. (TTCI)
    TTCI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the AAR is and the railroad industry’s world-class rail research and testing facility that works to improve the safety and efficiency of freight railroads throughout North America and the world.
  • GoRail
    GoRail works with thousands of community leaders across the country to tell the local story of freight rail — stronger economies, more jobs and cleaner skies.
  • The American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association
    Founded in 1913, ASLRRA represents approximately 600 owners and operators of short line and regional railroads throughout North America.
  • Operation Lifesaver, Inc.
    Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit public safety education and awareness organization dedicated to reducing collisions, fatalities and injuries at highway-rail crossings and trespassing on or near railroad tracks.
  • League of Railway Women (LRIW)
    The LRIW is a professional association that advances the representation, recognition, and opportunities for women in the railroad industry by providing networking opportunities, sponsoring industry educational activities and supporting mentoring partnerships.