Founded in 1913, ASLRRA proudly represents the entrepreneurial owners and operators of short line and regional railroads throughout North America. These approximately 600 small businesses play a vital role in the hub-and-spoke transportation network, often providing the first-mile/last-mile connection between farmers and manufacturers and the ultimate consumer.
Taken together, short line railroads operate 50,000 miles of track or nearly 30 percent of the national railroad network and handle in origination or destination one out of every four rail cars moving on the national system. They have grown from 8,000 miles of track in 1980 to 50,000 miles today. They operate in nearly every U.S. state, literally serving every corner of the country from the forests, to the heartland to the coal fields. In five states short lines operate 100 percent of the state’s total rail network, and in 15 states they operate more than 50 percent of the railroad network. Short lines haul a wide range of goods, including chemicals, food products, aggregates and intermodal.
Today’s short lines come in all shapes and sizes. Some are members of rail holding companies, some are large regional entities, and many are small, family-owned businesses. Together they represent a diverse, dynamic and entrepreneurial collection of small businesses that are aggressive and agile companies that make wise use of resources available to them. They employ a skilled, productive workforce, offering them a good quality of life and they place considerable emphasis on training that workforce to be as safe as possible. Above all, they are aggressive marketers that fight as hard for single carload business as they do for unit trains. And that fight for business helps keep transportation costs as competitive as possible — which is good for our customers and ultimately for the nation’s consumers.
Our membership consists of over 1,000 companies including Class II and III railroads, railroads that provide railroad switching, terminal and tourist/excursion services and companies that supply goods and services to the short line industry. ASLRRA serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities including training, meetings and conferences.
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