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Freight Railroad Ton-Miles & Intermodal Volume

This page includes two tables of U.S. freight railroad volume statistics. The first table uses ton-miles, a measure of freight weight and distance hauled, to illustrate the growth of railroad traffic since 1890. The second table shows rail intermodal volume (containers and trailers) since 1961. Data was compiled from Association of American Railroads (AAR) reports with charts and analysis by RailServe.com.

See also: State Railroad Statistics, Rail Traffic Mix Stats, Crude By Rail Stats, Railcar Stats, Financial Statistics

Note: This page is copyright RailServe.com. Content may not be reproduced in whole or in part on any website, message board, or other medium. A link to this page is required when citing figures or charts. Please contact us with any questions.

FREIGHT VOLUME (TON-MILES)
Year Ton-Miles
(billions)
           
1890 76
1900 142
1910 255
1920 414
1930 386
1940 375
1950 592
1960 575
1970 771
1980 932
1990 1064
2000 1546
2010 1691
2014 1851
RAIL INTERMODAL VOLUME (CONTAINERS & TRAILERS)
Year Total Units
(millions)
  Year Containers
(millions)
Trailers
(millions)
Total Units*
(millions)
 
1961 0.9   1988 2.3 3.5 5.8  
1962 1.2   1989 2.5 3.5 6.0  
1963 1.3   1990 2.8 3.5 6.2  
1964 1.4   1991 3.0 3.2 6.2  
1965 1.7   1992 3.4 3.3 6.6  
1966 1.9   1993 3.7 3.5 7.2  
1967 2.0   1994 4.4 3.8 8.1  
1968 2.4   1995 4.4 3.5 7.9  
1969 2.5   1996 4.8 3.3 8.1  
1970 2.4   1997 5.2 3.5 8.7  
1971 2.2   1998 5.4 3.4 8.8  
1972 2.4   1999 5.7 3.2 8.9  
1973 2.7   2000 6.3 2.9 9.2  
1974 2.7   2001 6.3 2.6 8.9  
1975 2.2   2002 6.8 2.5 9.3  
1976 2.5   2003 7.3 2.6 9.9  
1977 2.9   2004 8.1 2.9 11.0  
1978 3.3   2005 8.7 3.0 11.7  
1979 3.4   2006 9.4 2.9 12.3  
1980 3.1   2007 9.4 2.6 12.0  
1981 3.2   2008 9.0 2.5 11.5  
1982 3.4   2009 8.2 1.6 9.9  
1983 4.1   2010 9.6 1.7 11.3  
1984 4.6   2011 10.2 1.7 11.9  
1985 4.6   2012 10.8 1.5 12.3  
1986 5.0   2013 11.4 1.5 12.8  
1987 5.5   2014 12.0 1.6 13.5  
      * 1988 is the first year containers and trailers were reported separately;
      total units may not sum due to rounding
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