Shortline railroad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Short Line is also one of the four railroads in the popular board game Monopoly, possibly[citation needed] named after the Shore Fast Line, an interurban streetcar line.

A shortline railroad is a small or mid-sized railroad company that operates over a relatively short distance relative to larger, national railroad networks. The term is used primarily in the USA and Canada. In the United States, railroads are categorized by operating revenue, and most shortline railroads fall into the Class III or Class II categorization defined by the Surface Transportation Board.

Shortlines generally exist for one of three reasons: to link two industries requiring rail freight together (for example, a gypsum mine and a wall board factory, or a coal mine and a power plant); to interchange revenue traffic with other, usually larger, railroads; or to operate a tourist passenger train service. Often, short lines exist for all three of these reasons.


In the beginning of the railroad age, nearly all railway lines were shortlines, locally chartered, financed and operated; as the railroad industry matured, local lines were merged or acquired to create longer mainline railroads.

Especially since 1980 in the USA and 1990 in Canada, many shortlines have been established when larger railroad companies sold off or abandoned low-profit portions of their trackage. Shortline operators typically have lower labor, overhead and regulatory costs than Class I railroads and therefore are often able to operate profitable lines that lost money for their original owners.[1]


Because of their small size and generally low revenues, the great majority of shortline railroads in United States are classified by the Association of American Railroads as Class III. As defined by the Surface Transportation Board, a Class III is a railroad with an annual operating revenue of less than $28 million.[2] In Canada, Transport Canada classifies short line railroads as Class II.

There are three kinds of shortlines in the United States: handling, switch, and ISS (Interline Settlement System).

  • Handling shortlines exist only to move cars along their tracks for larger railroads. They are not listed in the route on a railcar's waybill. Handling short lines may have compensation agreements with the larger railroads they serve that do not depend on per car rates.
  • Switch shortlines are similar to handling shortlines except that they are listed on a railcar's route, and they collect a fee for each car they move on their tracks.
  • ISS shortlines operate the same as Class I and II railroads. They are included in the routes of railcars. Also, they serve as the billing railroads for loads that originate on their lines. For loads not originating on their lines, ISS shortlines still collect a portion of the freight rate.

List of short lines by State[edit]

Current short line railroads in operation in the United States are:


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Alabama and Tennessee River Railway ATN
Alabama Southern Railroad ABS
Alabama Warrior Railway ABWR
Birmingham Southern Railroad BS
CG Railway CGR
Chattahoochee and Gulf Railroad CHAT
Conecuh Valley Railroad COEH
Autauga Northern Railroad AUT
Wiregrass Central Railroad WGCR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Apache Railway APA
Arizona and California Railroad ARZC
Arizona Central Railroad AZCR
Arizona Eastern Railway AZER
Copper Basin Railway CBRY
San Pedro and Southwestern Railroad SPSR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Arkansas and Missouri Railroad AM
Arkansas Southern Railroad ARS
Fort Smith Railroad FSR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Almanor Railroad AL
California Northern Railroad CFNR
Carrizo Gorge Railway CZRY
Central California Traction CCT
McCloud Railway CZRY
Pacific Harbor Line PHL
Pacific Sun Railroad PSRR
Richmond Pacific Railroad RPRC
San Diego and Imperial Valley Railroad SDIY
San Francisco Bay Railroad SFBR
Santa Maria Valley Railroad SMV
Sierra Northern Railway SERA
Trona Railway TRC


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Denver Rock Island Railroad DRIR
San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad SLRG


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Branford Steam Railroad BRFD
Central New England Railroad CNZR
Connecticut Southern Railroad CSOR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Delaware Coastline Railroad DLCR
Maryland and Delaware Railroad MDDE


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Apalachicola Northern Railroad AN
Bay Line Railroad BAYL
Seminole Gulf Railway SGLR
South Central Florida Express SCFE


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Chattahoochee Industrial
Georgia Central Railway GC
Georgia Northeastern Railway
Georgia Southwestern Railway
Sandersville Railroad SAN
St. Mary's Railroad SM
Valdosta Railway VR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Bloomer Line BLOL
Central Illinois Railroad CIRY
Crab Orchard and Egyptian Railroad COER
Decatur Junction Railway DT
Eastern Illinois Railroad EIRC
Foster Townsend Rail Logistics FTRL
Illinois Railway IR
Keokuk Junction Railway KJRY
Peoria and Western Railway PWRY
Tazewell and Peoria Railroad TZPR
Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad TPW


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Bee Line Railroad BLEX
Central Indiana and Western Railroad CEIW
Central Railroad Company of Indiana CIND
Central Railroad Company of Indianapolis CERA
Chesapeake and Indiana Railroad CKIN
Chicago Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad CFE
Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad CSS
Dubois County Railroad DCRR
Elkhart and Western Railroad EWR
Evansville Western Railway EVWR
Fulton County Railroad FC
Grand Elk Railroad GDLK
Honey Creek Railroad HCRR
Hoosier Southern Railroad HOS
Indian Creek Railroad ICRK
Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad IHB
Indiana Northeastern Railroad IN
Indiana Southern Railroad ISRR
Indiana Southwestern Railway ISW
Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern Railroad KBSR
Louisville and Indiana Railroad LIRC
Lucas Oil Rail Line LORL
Madison Railroad CMPA
Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway TPW
Vermilion Valley Railroad VVRR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Appanoose County Community Railroad APNC
Burlington Junction Railway BJRY
Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway CIC
Iowa Northern Railway IANR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Kaw River Railroad KAW
Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad KO
Kansas City Terminal Railway KCT
South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad SKOL


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Baton Rouge Southern Railroad BRS
Louisiana Southern Railroad LAS


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Eastern Maine Railway (1995) EMRY
Maine Eastern Railroad MERR
Maine Northern Railway MNRY
St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad SLR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Bay Coast Railroad BCR
Maryland and Delaware Railroad MDDE
Maryland Midland Railway MMID


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Grafton and Upton Railroad GU
Massachusetts Central Railroad MCER


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Adrian and Blissfield Railroad ADBF
Charlotte Southern Railroad CHS
Detroit Connecting Railroad DCON
Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad ELS
Grand Elk Railroad GDLK
Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad LSI
Lapeer Industrial Railroad LIRR
Tecumseh Branch Connecting Railroad TCBY


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Progressive Rail, Inc. PGR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Kansas City Terminal Railway KCT
Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis TRRA


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Meridian Southern Railway MDS
Mississippi Southern Railroad MSR
Mississippian Railway Cooperative MSRW
Vicksburg Southern Railroad VSOR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Brandon Corporation BRAN
Fremont and Elkhorn Valley Railroad FEVR
Kyle Railroad KYLE
Nebkota Railway NRI
Nebraska Central NCRC
Nebraska Northeastern Railway NENE
Nebraska Northwestern Railroad NNW
Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado RailNet NKC
Omaha, Lincoln and Beatrice Railway OLB
Sidney and Lowe Railroad SLGG

New Jersey[edit]

Railroad AAR rep. mark
Belvidere and Delaware River Railway BDRV
Morristown & Erie Railway ME
New York and Greenwood Lake Railway (1996) NYGL
SMS Rail Lines SLRS
Southern Railroad of New Jersey SRNJ
Winchester and Western Railroad WW

New Mexico[edit]

Railroad AAR rep. mark
Arizona Eastern Railway AZER
Santa Fe Southern Railway SFS
Southwestern Railroad SW
Texas-New Mexico Railroad TNMR

New York[edit]

Railroad AAR rep. mark
Bath and Hammondsport Railroad BH
Batten Kill Railroad BKRR
Depew, Lancaster and Western Railroad DLWR
Falls Road Railroad FRR
Finger Lakes Railway FGLK
Livonia, Avon and Lakeville Railroad LAL
Ontario Central Railroad ONCT
Ontario Midland Railroad OMID
Buffalo Southern Railroad BSRR
Arcade and Attica Railroad ARA
New York and Atlantic Railway NYA
Rochester and Southern Railroad RSR
Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad WNYP

North Carolina[edit]

Railroad AAR rep. mark
Aberdeen, Carolina and Western Railway ACWR
Aberdeen and Rockfish Railroad AR
Alexander Railroad ARC
Atlantic and Western Railway ATW
Carolina Central Railway
Caldwell County Railroad CWCY
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad GSMR
Winston-Salem Southbound Railway WSS
Yadkin Valley Railroad YVRR

North Dakota[edit]

Railroad AAR rep. mark
Red River Valley and Western Railroad RRVW


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Arkansas Southern Railroad ARS
Blackwell Northern Gateway Railroad BNG
Farmrail FMRC
Hollis and Eastern Railroad HE
Kiamichi Railroad KRR
Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad NOKR
Sand Springs Railway SS
Stillwater Central Railroad SLWC
Texas, Oklahoma and Eastern Railroad TOE


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Ashland Railway ASRY
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad CVSR
Ohio Central Railroad OHCR
Ohio Valley Railroad OVR, OVRX
Toledo Lake Erie & Western TLEW


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Albany & Eastern Railroad AERC
City of Prineville Railway COPR
Coos Bay Rail Link CBR
Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad INPR
Klamath Northern Railway KNOR
Modoc Northern Railroad MHRR
Mount Hood Railroad MH
Oregon Pacific Railroad OPR
Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad PCC
Peninsula Terminal Railroad PT
Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad POTB
Portland Terminal Railroad PTO
Wallowa Union Railroad Authority WURR
Willamette Valley Railway WVR
Wyoming & Colorado Railway WYCO


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Allegheny Valley Railroad AVR
Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad DL
East Penn Railroad ESPN
Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad PN
Pittsburgh and Ohio Central Railroad POHC
Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad MIDH
New Hope and Ivyland Railroad NHIR
Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad RBMN
Shamokin Valley Railroad SVRR

South Carolina[edit]

Railroad AAR rep. mark
Carolina Southern Railroad CALA
Greenville and Western Railway GRLW
Hampton and Branchville Railroad HB
Lancaster and Chester Railroad LC
Pee Dee River Railway PDRR
Pickens Railway PICK
South Carolina Central Railroad SCRF

South Dakota[edit]

Railroad AAR rep. mark
Dakota Southern Railway DSRC
Ellis and Eastern EE


Railroad AAR rep. mark
East Tennessee Railway ETRY
Nashville and Eastern Railroad NERR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Alamo Gulf Coast Railroad AGCR
Alliance Terminal Railroad ATR
Angelina and Neches River Railroad ANR
Austin Western Railroad AWRR
Blacklands Railroad BLR
Dallas, Garland and Northeastern Railroad DGNO
Fort Worth and Western Railroad FWWR
Galveston Railroad GVSR
Georgetown Railroad GRR
Gulf, Colorado and San Saba Railroad GCSR
Moscow, Camden and San Augustine Railroad MCSA
Pecos Valley Southern Railway PVS
Point Comfort and Northern Railway PCN
Sabine River and Northern Railroad SRN
Texas and Northern Railway TN
Timber Rock Railroad TIBR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Utah Railway UTAH


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Green Mountain Railroad GMRC
New England Central Railroad NECR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Bay Coast Railroad BCR
Buckingham Branch Railroad BB
Chesapeake and Albemarle Railroad CA
Commonwealth Railway CWRY
North Carolina and Virginia Railroad NCVA
Shenandoah Valley Railroad SV
Virginia Southern Railroad VSRR
Winchester and Western Railroad WW


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Ballard Terminal Railroad BT
Cascade and Columbia River Railroad CSCD
Columbia and Cowlitz Railway CLC
Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad PSAP
Tacoma Rail TMRW

West Virginia[edit]

Railroad AAR rep. mark
Big Eagle Railroad BER


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Wisconsin Southern Railroad WSOR


Railroad AAR rep. mark
Bay Line Railroad (AL and FL) BAYL
Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad CFE
Chicago SouthShore and South Bend Railroad (IL and IN) CSS
Cimarron Valley Railroad (CO,KS, and OK) CVR
Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern Railroad (IL and IN) KBSR
Rail Link, Inc, (operates 26 short line railroads) RLIX
New York New Jersey Rail, LLC (NJ and NY) NYNJ
New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NJ, NY, and PA) NYSW
St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad (ME, NH, and VT) SLA
Utah Railway (CO and UT) UTAH
Watco Companies (owners of 17 short lines) WATX, WAMX
Wichita, Tillman and Jackson Railway (OK and TX) WTJR
Housatonic Railroad (HRRC) HRRC


It was reported in 2009 that short-line railroads employ 20,000 people in the US, and own 30 percent of nation's railroad tracks. About a quarter of all US rail freight travels at least a small part of its journey over a short-line railroad.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Little Engineers That Could by Sandra D. Atchison (Business Week), 1992-7-27
  2. ^ Link text,.
  3. ^ Shortline Railroads Keep American Towns Humming By Ben Dobbin (Associated Press), 2009-08-26

External links[edit]