Shortline railroad

Last updated
Short Line is also one of the four railroads in the popular board game Monopoly, named after the Shore Fast Line, an interurban streetcar line. [1] [2] [3] [ self-published source ]

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 United States and Canada. In the U.S., 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 U.S. 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. [4]


Because of their small size and generally low revenues, the great majority of shortline railroads in the U.S. 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. [5] In Canada, Transport Canada classifies short line railroads as Class II.

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

List of short lines by state

Current short line railroads in operation in the U.S. are:


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


RailroadAAR 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


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Arkansas and Missouri Railroad AM
Arkansas Southern Railroad ARS
Dardanelle and Russellville Railroad DR
Fort Smith Railroad FSR


RailroadAAR rep. mark
California Northern Railroad CFNR
Carrizo Gorge Railway CZRY
Central California Traction CCT
Disneyland Railroad (DRR)
McCloud Railway CZRY
Northwestern Pacific Railroad NWP
Pacific Harbor Line PHL
Pacific Sun Railroad PSRR
Richmond Pacific Railroad RPRC
San Diego and Imperial Valley Railroad SDIY
San Francisco Bay Railroad SFBR
San Joaquin Valley Railroad SJVR
Santa Maria Valley Railroad SMV
Sierra Northern Railway SERA
Trona Railway TRC


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


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


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Delmarva Central Railroad DCR
East Penn Railroad ESPN
Maryland and Delaware Railroad MDDE
Wilmington and Western Railroad WWRC


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Apalachicola Northern Railroad AN
Bay Line Railroad BAYL
Seminole Gulf Railway SGLR
South Central Florida Express SCFE
Walt Disney World Railroad (WDWRR)


RailroadAAR 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


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Boise Valley Railroad BVRR


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


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Algers, Winslow and Western Railway AWW
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


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Burlington Junction Railway BJRY
Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway CIC
Iowa Northern Railway IANR


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


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Baton Rouge Southern Railroad BRS
Louisiana Southern Railroad LAS
New Orleans & Gulf Coast NOGC


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


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Delmarva Central Railroad DCR
Maryland and Delaware Railroad MDDE
Maryland Midland Railway MMID


RailroadAAR rep. mark
East Brookfield & Spencer Railroad EBSR
Grafton and Upton Railroad GU
Massachusetts Central Railroad MCER


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Adrian and Blissfield Railroad ADBF
Ann Arbor Railroad AA
Charlotte Southern Railroad CHS
Coopersville and Marne Railway CPMY
Delray Connecting Railroad DC
Detroit Connecting Railroad DCON
Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad ELS
Grand Elk Railroad GDLK
Grand Rapids Eastern Railroad GR
Huron and Eastern Railway HESR
Indiana Northeastern Railroad IN
Jackson and Lansing Railroad JAIL
Lake State Railway LSRC
Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad LSI
Lapeer Industrial Railroad LIRR
Marquette Rail MQT
Michigan Shore Railroad MS
Michigan Southern Railroad MSO
Mid-Michigan Railroad MMRR
West Michigan Railroad WMI


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Progressive Rail, Inc. PGR
Twin Cities & Western Railroad TCW
Red River Valley & Western Railroad RRVW


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Meridian Southern Railway MDS
Mississippian Railway Cooperative MSRW
Mississippi Delta Railroad MDR
Mississippi Southern Railroad MSR
Vicksburg Southern Railroad VSOR


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


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

New Jersey

RailroadAAR rep. mark
Belvidere and Delaware River Railway BDRV
Black River and Western Railroad BRW
Dover and Delaware River Railroad DD
Dover and Rockaway River Railroad DRRV
Morristown & Erie Railway ME
SMS Rail Lines SLRS
Southern Railroad of New Jersey SRNJ
Winchester and Western Railroad WW

New Mexico

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

New York

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

North Carolina

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

North Dakota

RailroadAAR rep. mark
Red River Valley and Western Railroad RRVW


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Ashland Railway ASRY
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad CVSR
Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railroad ND&W
Ohio Central Railroad OHCR
Ohio Terminal Railway OHIO
Ohio Valley Railroad OVR, OVRX
Toledo Lake Erie & Western TLEW
Cincinnati East Terminal Railway CET


RailroadAAR 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
Wichita Tillman and Jackson WTJR


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Albany & Eastern Railroad AERC
City of Prineville Railway COPR
Coos Bay Rail Line CBR
Goose Lake Railway GOOS
Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad INPR
Klamath Northern Railway KNOR
Mt. Hood Railroad MH
Oregon Pacific Railroad OPR
Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad PCC
Peninsula Terminal Railroad PT
Portland Terminal Railroad PTRC
Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad POTB
Rogue Valley Terminal Railroad RVT
Wallowa Union Railroad Authority WURR
Willamette Valley Railway WVR
Wyoming & Colorado Railway (Oregon Eastern Division) OERR


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

Colebrookdale Railroad

Strasburg Rail Road Company SRC

South Carolina

RailroadAAR rep. mark
Carolina Piedmont Railroad CPDR
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

RailroadAAR rep. mark
Dakota Southern Railway DSRC
Ellis and Eastern EE


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


RailroadAAR 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
Texas-New Mexico Railroad TNMR
Timber Rock Railroad TIBR


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Utah Railway UTAH


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


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Buckingham Branch Railroad BB
Chesapeake and Albemarle Railroad CA
Commonwealth Railway CWRY
Delmarva Central Railroad DCR
North Carolina and Virginia Railroad NCVA
Shenandoah Valley Railroad SV
Virginia Southern Railroad VSRR
Winchester and Western Railroad WW


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Ballard Terminal Railroad BDTL
Cascade and Columbia River Railroad CSCD
Columbia and Cowlitz Railway CLC
Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad EWG
Pend Oreille Valley Railroad POVA
Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad PSAP
Tacoma Rail TMRW

West Virginia

RailroadAAR rep. mark
Big Eagle Railroad BER


RailroadAAR rep. mark
East Troy Electric Railroad ETER


RailroadAAR rep. mark
Bay Line Railroad (AL and FL)BAYL
Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad CFE
Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad (IL and IN)CSS
Cimarron Valley Railroad (CO,KS, and OK)CVR
Deseret Power Railroad (CO and UT)DPRW
Rail Link, Inc. (operates 26 short line railroads)RLIX
Housatonic Railroad (HRRC)HRRC
Kankakee, Beaverville and Southern Railroad (IL and IN)KBSR
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


It was reported in 2009 that short-line railroads employ 20,000 people in the U.S., and own 30 percent of nation's railroad tracks. About a quarter of all U.S. rail freight travels at least a small part of its journey over a short-line railroad. [6]

In other countries

In France, the equivalent of short-lines railroads are the "opérateurs ferroviaires de proximité" (local railways operators). [7]

See also

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  1. Borgnis, Mervin E. "We Had A Shore Fast Line," 1979 (Exposition Press)( ISBN   0682494119).
  2. Orbanes, Philip E. (2006). 'Monopoly: the world's most famous game & how it got that way' . Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. p.  52 and 53. ISBN   0-306-81489-7.
  3. Anspach, Ralph (2000). The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle (Second ed.). Xlibris Corporation. p. 132. ISBN   0-7388-3139-5.
  4. The Little Engineers That Could by Sandra D. Atchison (Business Week), 1992-7-27
  5. Link text Archived 2014-05-06 at the Wayback Machine ,.
  6. Shortline Railroads Keep American Towns Humming By Ben Dobbin (Associated Press), 2009-08-26
  7. "Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire". Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire (in French). Retrieved 2017-12-18.