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U.S. Railroad Route Miles and Revenue

This table presents U.S. Class I railroad route (road) miles, track miles, revenue, and revenue per mile from 1916 through 2014.

Route Miles or Road Miles: Total length of Class I railroad routes in the U.S. excluding yards, sidings, and parallel (multiple main) tracks. U.S. railroad route mileage peaked in 1916 and began a steady decline that accelerated in the 1970s through 1990s. Much of the mileage decline since the 1970s is the result of Class I railroads selling and abandoning lower density branches. Many of these routes were acquired by the smaller Class II and Class III railroads which today own around 43,000 route miles. As of 2014, the total U.S. rail network (all classes) consists of approximately 137,000 routes miles.

Track Miles: Total length of Class I railroad trackage in the U.S. including yards, sidings, and parallel (multiple main) tracks. The ratio of track miles to route miles has remained consistent around 1.7-to-1 since the 1920s.

Revenue Per Mile: A simple measure of efficiency, calculated by dividing operating revenue by route miles. In 2014, Class I railroads produced $77.7 billion in revenue and operated 94,372 route miles, yielding an average of $823,337 in revenue per mile. This revenue-per-mile is nearly 60 times the $14,171 produced per mile in 1916. Adjusted for inflation, 2014's revenue-per-mile is still 2.7 times that of a century ago.

Data from Association of American Railroads (AAR) reports, with calculations and analysis by RailServe.com. Revenue figures have not been adjusted for inflation.

See also: State Railroad Statistics, Traffic Volume Statistics, Financial Statistics, and Employment 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.

  Year Route Miles Track Miles Revenue
(billions)
Revenue Per Route Mile  
  1916 254,037 397,014 $3.6 $14,171  
  1918 253,529 402,343 $4.9 $19,248  
  1921 251,176 407,531 $5.5 $21,977  
  1926 249,138 421,341 $6.4 $25,608  
  1929 249,433 429,054 $6.3 $25,177  
  1932 247,595 428,402 $3.1 $12,642  
  1933 245,703 425,664 $3.1 $12,617  
  1935 241,822 419,228 $3.5 $14,267  
  1936 240,104 416,381 $4.1 $16,868  
  1937 238,539 414,572 $4.2 $17,481  
  1938 236,842 411,324 $3.6 $15,073  
  1939 235,064 408,350 $4.0 $17,017  
  1940 233,670 405,975 $4.3 $18,402  
  1941 231,971 403,625 $5.3 $22,848  
  1942 229,174 399,627 $7.5 $32,726  
  1943 227,999 398,730 $9.1 $39,912  
  1944 227,335 398,437 $9.4 $41,349  
  1945 226,696 398,054 $8.9 $39,260  
  1946 226,438 398,137 $7.6 $33,563  
  1947 225,806 374,027 $8.7 $38,529  
  1951 223,427 371,782 $10.4 $46,548  
  1952 222,508 370,738 $10.6 $47,639  
  1953 221,758 369,622 $10.7 $48,251  
  1954 221,098 368,367 $9.4 $42,515  
  1955 220,670 366,406 $10.1 $45,770  
  1956 220,221 365,158 $10.6 $48,133  
  1957 219,067 362,974 $10.5 $47,931  
  1958 218,399 361,449 $9.6 $43,956  
  1959 217,565 359,704 $9.8 $45,044  
  1960 217,552 358,520 $9.5 $43,668  
  1961 216,445 355,848 $9.2 $42,505  
  1962 215,090 352,743 $9.4 $43,703  
  1963 214,387 351,073 $9.6 $44,779  
  1964 212,603 347,107 $9.9 $46,566  
  1965 211,925 345,422 $10.2 $48,130  
  1966 211,107 344,001 $10.7 $50,685  
  1967 209,826 341,499 $10.4 $49,565  
  1968 208,648 339,781 $10.9 $52,241  
  1969 207,526 338,795 $11.5 $55,415  
  1970 206,265 336,332 $12.0 $58,178  
  1971 205,220 334, 932 $12.7 $61,885  
  1972 203,299 331,129 $13.4 $65,913  
  1973 201,585 328,625 $14.8 $73,418  
  1974 200,916 327,285 $16.9 $84,115  
  1975 199,126 324,156 $16.4 $82,360  
  1976 192,386 312,770 $18.5 $96,161  
  1977 182,380 295,500 $20.1 $110,209  
  1978 175,912 283,573 $21.7 $123,357  
  1979 169,927 277,240 $25.2 $148,299  
  1980 164,822 270,623 $28.3 $171,700  
  1981 162,160 267,589 $30.9 $190,553  
  1982 159,123 263,330 $27.5 $172,822  
  1983 155,879 258,703 $26.7 $171,287  
  1984 151,998 252,748 $29.5 $194,082  
  1985 145,764 242,320 $27.6 $189,347  
  1986 140,061 233,205 $26.2 $187,061  
  1987 132,220 220,518 $26.6 $201,180  
  1988 127,555 213,669 $27.9 $218,729  
  1989 124,236 208,322 $28.0 $225,378  
  1990 119,758 200,074 $28.4 $237,145  
  1991 116,626 196,081 $27.8 $238,369  
  1992 113,056 190,591 $28.3 $250,318  
  1993 110,425 186,288 $28.8 $260,811  
  1994 109,332 183,685 $30.8 $281,711  
  1995 108,264 180,419 $32.3 $298,345  
  1996 105,779 176,978 $32.7 $309,135  
  1997 102,128 172,564 $33.1 $324,103  
  1998 100,570 171,098 $33.2 $330,118  
  1999 99,430 168,979 $33.5 $336,920  
  2000 99,250 168,535 $34.1 $343,577  
  2001 97,817 167,275 $34.2 $349,632  
  2002 100,125 170,048 $35.3 $352,559  
  2003 99,126 169,069 $35.7 $360,148  
  2004 97,662 167,312 $40.5 $414,696  
  2005 95,830 164,291 $46.1 $481,060  
  2006 94,942 162,056 $52.2 $549,809  
  2007 94,440 161,114 $54.6 $578,145  
  2008 94,209 160,734 $61.2 $649,619  
  2009 94,048 160,781 $47.8 $508,251  
  2010 95,700 161,926 $58.4 $610,240  
  2011 95,514 162,393 $67.4 $705,656  
  2012 95,391 162,306 $69.9 $732,774  
  2013 95,235 161,980 $72.9 $765,475  
  2014 94,372 161,240 $77.7 $823,337  
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