Articles - Modernday Railroads
01/30/2015
On this page I wish to capture the current state of railroading in the United States. It is mostly a general overview of where things stand today.

There are currently six Class I (class one) freight-carrying railroads operating in the United States. They are the Union Pacific, BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific. There is one major passenger service railroad, called Amtrak.

There are two remaining freight diesel locomotive builders in the United States, which are Electro-Motive Diesel and GE Transportation.

BNSF

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The BNSF Railway is the second largest U.S. railway company (the UP is larger). Its territory covers the Midwestern and Western states of the U.S. The eastern-most state served is Alabama. The BNSF was created to merge the former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway and the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1996. The BNSF is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (which is owned by Warren Buffett), and it is head-quartered in Fort Worth, Texas (Texas has a law that a railroad must be head-quartered in Texas in order for the railroad to be able to operate in Texas - part of Article X of the Texas Constitution of 1876). (photo source unknown)
Modernday Railroads

Canadian National

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The CN is head-quartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It serves all of Canada, and some of the Midwestern states of the U.S., all the way down to Louisiana and Mississippi, which it got by purchasing the Illinois Central. The company was created in 1918. Up until 1960 it was known as the Canadian National Railways (CNR). Via Rail was created to handle the CN's passenger service. (photo source unknown)
Modernday Railroads

Canadian Pacific

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The Canadian Pacific Railway Limited is the owner of the Canadian Pacific Railway ("CPR", a.k.a. CP Rail, or "CP") after a restructuring in 2001. However, the railroad has been in existence since 1881. It is head-quartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It operates over most of Canada, some Midwestern states (as far south as Missouri) and Eastern states (Pennsylvania and New York). It got the U.S. track by acquiring the Soo Line (formerly the Milwaukee Road) and several other smaller U.S. railroad companies. (photo source unknown)
Modernday Railroads

CSX

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The CSX Transportation "CSXT" is head-quartered in Jacksonville, Florida. It serves the Eastern U.S. and up into Ontario and Quebec, Canada. The company was created in 1986 by merging the Chessie System (former Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, which had merged with the Baltimore & Ohio and Western Maryland railroads), and Seaboard System Railroad (former Seaboard Air Line Railroad). The CSX was basically created out of splitting up Conrail between it and the Norfolk Southern. Conrail was a U.S. federal government-owned railroad that was created out of the failed Penn Central, itself a merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the New York Central, and a number of other smaller railroad companies. The CSX got 42% of Conrail, predominantly former New York Central track, and the Norfolk Southern got the remaining 58%. (prototype photo from John Pluta's web site)
Modernday Railroads

GE

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GE Transportation, owned by General Electric (of lightbulb fame) is head-quartered in Chicago, Illinois and their manufacturing facility is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. GE builts the AC4400, the Dash 7, 8, and 9, and the Evolution Series locomotives. The photo below is of a BNSF Dash 8. (photo source GE)
Modernday Railroads

Norfolk Southern

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The Norfolk Southern Railway covers most of the Eastern U.S. reaching as far west as Louisiana and Missouri. It is head-quartered in Norfolk, Virginia. It was created in 1982 and includes what was part of the former Southern Railway, Norfolk & Western, and the 58% split of Conrail that it got (42% went to the CSX). The NS therefore includes the track and facilities formerly owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad. (photo source unknown)
Modernday Railroads

EMD

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Electro-Motive Diesel, Inc., a.k.a. EMD, is owned by Caterpillar, via Progress Rail Services Corporation, and is head-quartered in McCook, Illinois. Originally the company started as Electro-Motive Company, which was bought by General Motors (of automobile fame) and renamed the Electro-Motive Division (EMD) in 1941. GM sold EMD in 2005. For the U.S. market, EMD builds the SD70ACe and SD80ACe freight locomotives. (photo source EMD)
Modernday Railroads

Union Pacific

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The Union Pacific is the largest railroad company in the U.S. It covers all of the Midwestern and Western states. It was created in 1862 and is head-quartered in Omaha, Nebraska. It grew by acquiring most of the major railroads formerly serving the Midwestern and Western states. It also owns 26% of the Mexican railroad company Ferromex. (photo source unknown)
Modernday Railroads