Regional and Local Line Rail Freight Transport in North America
Operation of rail freight service in North America, measured by line (route) length and traffic volume, is concentrated on the systems of two railway companies in Canada, two in Mexico, and seven in the United States. Within the full structure of the North American railway network, the systems of these 11 carriers are dominant but not exclusive. Feeding shipments into and delivering shipments from the 11 are regional and local railways ranging from a half-dozen in Mexico to more than 30 in Canada and 558 in the US (AAR 2011, Harris and Tee 2010). This chapter examines conditions that have driven the creation and evolution of regional and local railways and shaped their operational and commercial policies, practices, and performance, primarily onward from the 1970s.