Railroads Industry Profile

Report Page Length: 10-12
Last Quarterly Update: 6/3/2024
SIC Codes: 4011
NAICS Codes: 482
Chapters Include:
Industry Overview Trends & Challenges Industry Forecast
Quarterly Industry Update Call Prep Questions Website & Media Links
Business Challenges Financial Information Glossary & Acronyms
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Excerpt from Railroads Industry Profile

Companies in this industry transport freight and passengers by rail. Major companies include Amtrak, BNSF Railway, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific (all based in the US), along with Deutsche Bahn (Germany), East Japan Railway (Japan), RZD (Russia), and SNCF (France).

The global rail transportation market is forecast to reach about $560 billion by 2026, at a 4.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), according to Global Industry Analysts Inc. The rail transport market in the US is about $100 billion in 2021, accounting for about 25% share in the global market. China, Japan, Canada, and Germany are forecast to have a significant growth.

The US railroad industry includes about 630 freight railroads with combined annual revenue of about $80 billion, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Commuter, switching and terminal, and tourist railroads are not included in the industry.


Demand is driven by sales of bulk commodities and other items best transported by rail. The profitability of individual companies depends on operating efficiently and controlling maintenance expenses. Large companies have advantages in owning systems that connect numerous markets and enable them to serve national customers. Small companies can compete effectively by serving local markets.

The US government classifies freight railroads into three classes, based on operating revenue. Seven line-haul Class I railroads -- BNSF Railway, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, Canadian National Railway, and Canadian Pacific ...

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