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Western Railroad Discussion > largest railroad?


Date: 02/02/09 08:52
largest railroad?
Author: stuart

With all the shortlines, regionals and other lines being purchased by various Class 1 railroads, who or what is the largest by track in North America?

I sort of figure it is UP, then BNSF, then CN?

I know I could google this but sure if the right answer would be found with recent changes and purchases.
I think if the listed was made by horse power it would still be headed by UP based on numbers of locomotives on paper.
So anyone know the top 10 railroads by trakage with the recent changes in ownership?
thanks
stuart in canada



Date: 02/02/09 09:50
Re: largest railroad?
Author: Espeenut

...any and all the sources I have on hand indicate the UP is still the largest, and that includes both ways of tallying trackage...
...if you look at the maps it makes the BNSF look like it has more, but the actual trackage figures give the lead to UP...

cheers,

Lorne Miller



Date: 02/02/09 10:16
Re: largest railroad?
Author: fredkharrison

"In business for 146 years, Union Pacific Railroad is the largest railroad in North America, covering 23 states across two-thirds of the United States. In all, the company runs 2,500 trains per day over 32,200 track miles."

"The Union Pacific Railroad, the oldest railroad company still operating under its original herald, also has to be, by most accounts, the largest railroad in the world. Especially if you define largest by sheer numbers. For example: almost 39,000 miles of track, more than 6,800 locomotives (and climbing), over 100,000 pieces of rolling stock, and operations covering 23 states. With 51,000 employees, UP also ranks right up there with some of the largest corporations in America."

"Union Pacific had been inspected proportionally less than the other railroads. It ranked third in FRA inspections per million train miles in calendar years (CY) 1998 through 2000 and CYs 2001 through 2003, as shown in Figure 5. It seems counterintuitive to us that the railroad with the most track miles and the worst accident rate and defect ratio would be inspected at a lower rate than two of the three other major railroads that had fewer miles and better rates."

"At its peak the Pennsylvania was the largest railroad in the world. It operated 28,000 miles of track, directly served half of the U.S., and hauled more freight and passengers than any other railroad in the world."

"In 1969, the Pennsylvania Railroad merged with the New York Central Railroad to become the Penn Central. At the time, the Penn Central was the largest railroad in the world."

"Miles of Road is the aggregate length of roadway, excluding yard tracks and sidings, and does not reflect the fact that a mile of road may include two, three, or more parallel tracks. Miles of road operated figures will be higher than mileage owned since more than one railroad can operate the same roadway by having trackage rights."

Fred Harrison
Central Point, OR
CORPpower/JSS/EORS



Date: 02/02/09 10:23
Re: largest railroad?
Author: csxengineer

if your meaning sales $ i read last week that bnsf had passed up the up to be the larger.



Date: 02/02/09 10:35
Re: largest railroad?
Author: stuart

where does CN rate in the picture, it has to be gaining on the leaders by now for trackage , not sidings or passing tracks but distance and area covered, nearly coast to coast in Canada, south to the gulf of Mexico and west into western Iowa. plus various other pieces of track running in various other directions in Canada and the USA
just wondering



Date: 02/02/09 11:18
Re: largest railroad?
Author: TheOssman

UP owns three routes across the Continental Divide (Wyoming, Moffat Tunnel and the Sunset Route), BNSF only two (Marias Pass and the ex-ATSF). I would have to figure most of the route mileage is there.



Date: 02/02/09 12:02
Re: largest railroad?
Author: lowwater

TheOssman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> UP owns three routes across the Continental Divide
> (Wyoming, Moffat Tunnel and the Sunset Route),
> BNSF only two (Marias Pass and the ex-ATSF). I
> would have to figure most of the route mileage is
> there.


Four actually.....you are forgetting Tennessee Pass, which is idle, not abandoned.

lowwater



Date: 02/02/09 12:35
Re: largest railroad?
Author: fredkharrison

stuart Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> where does CN rate in the picture, it has to be
> gaining on the leaders by now for trackage , not
> sidings or passing tracks but distance and area
> covered, nearly coast to coast in Canada, south
> to the gulf of Mexico and west into western Iowa.
> plus various other pieces of track running in
> various other directions in Canada and the USA
> just wondering

Reply: Had that CN-BNSF merger taken place, it would have made the largest Class One.

Fred Harrison
Central Point, OR
CORPpower/JSS/EORS



Date: 02/02/09 13:10
Re: largest railroad?
Author: RD10747

Thanks to Abe Lincoln for having the UP start on the east side
of the Mossour River at Coucil Bluff. Ah, Government Money..



Date: 02/02/09 14:21
Re: largest railroad?
Author: KoloradoKid

Agt-Highland Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thanks to Abe Lincoln for having the UP start on
> the east side
> of the Mossour River at Coucil Bluff. Ah,
> Government Money..


What does this have to do with the question????

KK



Date: 02/02/09 19:40
Re: largest railroad?
Author: czephyr17

> Four actually.....you are forgetting Tennessee
> Pass, which idle, not abandoned.
>
> lowwater

You are forgetting two more. UP actually owns track over six crossings of the Continental Divide. Lets make the additional two a trivia question.

BNSF actually owns three crossings over the Continental Divide (Marias, ex-ATSF, and another trivia question for the third crossing). BNSF also operates over a fourth crossing on trackage rights (UP Moffat).



Date: 02/02/09 21:06
Re: largest railroad?
Author: truxtrax

The other UP crossing is in Montana (can't recall the name without looking it up) between Idaho Falls and Silver Bow. It's also unknown to most that there is a continental divide in North Dakota, where those rivers that flow onto the Red River basin all empty in Hudson's Bay in Canada. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong

Butch



Date: 02/02/09 21:10
Re: largest railroad?
Author: truxtrax

czephyr17 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> BNSF actually owns three crossings over the
> Continental Divide (Moffat, ex-ATSF, and another
> trivia question for the third crossing). BNSF
> also operates over a fourth crossing on trackage
> rights (UP Moffat).

Huh? I don't want to argue about Moffat, but I can count the other three in Montana. Marias, Homestake, and the one between Butte and Helena.

Butch



Date: 02/02/09 21:12
Re: largest railroad?
Author: lowwater

czephyr17 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > Four actually.....you are forgetting Tennessee
> > Pass, which idle, not abandoned.
> >
> > lowwater
>
> You are forgetting two more. UP actually owns
> track over six crossings of the Continental
> Divide. Lets make the additional two a trivia
> question.
>
> BNSF actually owns three crossings over the
> Continental Divide (Moffat, ex-ATSF, and another
> trivia question for the third crossing). BNSF
> also operates over a fourth crossing on trackage
> rights (UP Moffat).

Well, UP main does cross the divide in three places within a few miles along the south side of the Great Divide Basin, but The Ossman pretty much took care of that by using the words "routes" and Wyoming. Or do you have something else in mind?

I presume you mean Marias, not Moffat, as one of BNSF's owned crossings.....<g> I know where there's at least one other crossing, but whether it's the one you're thinking of I don't know, so I'll wait to see if anyone else comes up with it.

lowwater



Date: 02/02/09 21:19
Re: largest railroad?
Author: lowwater

truxtrax Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The other UP crossing is in Montana (can't recall
> the name without looking it up) between Idaho
> Falls and Silver Bow. It's also unknown to most
> that there is a continental divide in North
> Dakota, where those rivers that flow onto the Red
> River basin all empty in Hudson's Bay in Canada.
> I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong
>
> Butch

Dang -- forgot about that one!! Actually that makes a total of at least 7 for UP......<g>

Hudson Bay is actual technically part of the Atlantic, as is the Gulf of Mexico, but some call the divide between the rivers that flow directly into the Atlantic vs. those that flow into the Gulf the Eastern Continental Divide, so why not?

lowwater



Date: 02/02/09 21:20
Re: largest railroad?
Author: stuart

Union Pacific Route Miles 32,200
Locomotives 8,700
Freight Cars Not listed
( above information from the UP website )

BNSF Route Miles: 32,000
Locomotives: 6,700
Average Freight Cars on System: 220,000
( above information from BNSF website )

Canadian National now know as CN
Has approximately 20,421 route-miles of track in Canada and the United States
could not find a Locomotive count
Canadian Pacific Railroad
18,100 miles of track approximately in Canada and the USA
No locomotive count found

Conrail
7,200 miles of track
Norfolk Southern
7,000 miles of road
( above information from the NorfolkSouthern website )

there are the numbers i found on various websites.
I guess the CN needs to take over a few more roads to catch up and get out of 3rd place
i wonder had CN not gone private if it would be as large as it is now or a distance 4th after CPP?
just my thoughts and research
stuart in canada



Date: 02/02/09 22:23
Re: largest railroad?
Author: czephyr17

OK, I'll give my answers. I am only going to concentrate on the divide between the Atlantic and Pacific, not the Hudson Bay / Gulf divide (often called the Laurentian or Northern Divide).

<UP actually owns track over six crossings of the Continental Divide. Lets make the additional two a trivia question.>

Butch pretty much got this one, though he didn't point out that the line to Silver Bow actually crosses the divide twice. Going north from Idaho Falls, the line crosses from the west side to the east side of the divide at Monida Pass on the Idaho/Montana border. It then crosses back to the west side of the divide just south of Silver Bow (I don't recall the name of the pass at this time). So that gives UP a total of six crossings of the Atlantic/Pacific divide.


<BNSF actually owns three crossings over the Continental Divide (Marias, ex-ATSF, and another trivia question for the third crossing). BNSF also operates over a fourth crossing on trackage rights (UP Moffat).>

First I apologize, Butch pointed out that I originally typed "Moffat" instead of "Marias" as one of BNSF's owned passes. I corrected my original post. The third pass that BNSF owns is the former Homestake Pass just east of Butte, though the line is out of service (kind of like Tennessee Pass on UP). Butch mentions Butte-Helena, that former GN line is long gone. Technically it would also be possible to add the MRL Mullan Pass to the list of BNSF owned passes, since BNSF leases this trackage to MRL. However since it is operated by MRL, BNSF does not operate over it, and the track mileage is shown as MRL miles, not BNSF, I chose to not count it as one of BNSF's owned lines. One could argue either way though.



Date: 02/03/09 07:26
Re: largest railroad?
Author: calumet

In terms of route miles, and in round figures:

UP: 33000
BNSF: 32000
CSX: 21000
NS: 21000
CN: 20000
CP: 16000

Figures are from the railroads' websites. CN is in 5th place, not 3rd.



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