Railroad classes

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Class I railroads in North America in 2006

In the United States, railroads are Class I, II, or III, depending on how big they are. The Surface Transportation Board decides how big the railroads need to be to be in the classes.

There are six US Class I freight railroad companies. Canada has two Class I freight railroads. Both of the Canadian companies have trackage in the US. Mexico has two Class I freight railroads, one with trackage in the US. The national passenger railroads in the US and Canada, Amtrak and Via Rail, are both Class I.

Classes[change | change source]

Class I[change | change source]

In the United States, the Surface Transportation Board says a Class I railroad is a railroad that gets $250 million or more in revenue every year. It was 1991 when they said it had to be at least $250 million. In 2012, $452,653,248 is how much it would be.[1] In 2011, the Association of American Railroads says that Class I railroads had to get at least $433.2 million.[2]

In Canada, a Class I rail carrier is a company that has earned at least $250 million (CAD) in revenue for each of the previous two years.[3]

Class I railroads are some of the most efficient kinds of transportation. They move a ton of freight almost 500 miles with each gallon of diesel fuel (0.47 l/100 km to move 0.91 metric tons).[4]

In 2013, eleven railroads in North America were Class I. In the United States, Amtrak and seven freight railroads are Class I based on 2011 measurements released in 2013.[2](p1)

Railroad Trackage
Canada United States Mexico
Amtrak Yes Yes No
BNSF Railway Yes Yes No
Canadian National Railway Yes Yes
[Note 1]
No
Canadian Pacific Railway Yes Yes
[Note 2]
No
CSX Transportation Yes Yes No
Ferromex No No Yes
Kansas City Southern Railway No Yes Yes
[Note 3]
Norfolk Southern Railway Yes Yes No
Union Pacific Railroad No Yes No
Via Rail Yes No No
  1. Operated by Grand Trunk Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian National Railway.
  2. Operated by Soo Line Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Railway.
  3. Operated by Kansas City Southern de México, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kansas City Southern.

Class II[change | change source]

A Class II railroad in the United States takes freight and is mid-sized in terms of revenue. As of 2011, a Class II railroad is a railroad with that earns more than $37.4 million but less than $433.2 million in revenue for at least three years in a row.[5] Switching and terminal railroads are can't be Class II railroads.

Class III[change | change source]

The Buckingham Branch Railroad is an example of a Class III shortline in Virginia

A Class III railroad earns less than $20 million (1991 dollars) in revenue every year.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Class I Railroad Statistics" (PDF). Association of American Railroads. April 17, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-31.[dead link]
  3. Branch, Legislative Services (June 3, 2019). "Consolidated federal laws of canada, Transportation Information Regulations".
  4. Warren Buffett (2016). "Berkshire Hathaway 2016 letter to shareholders" (PDF). p. 11. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  5. "ASLRRA FAQ". Archived from the original on May 6, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. 49 CFR Part 1201, General Instructions 1-1, GPO, 2007

More reading[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]