Railroads provide transportation and vital commercial links for Minnesota farmers, the mining industry, manufacturers, and other businesses.
There are 21 railroad companies operating in Minnesota on 4,481 route miles of track. It is the eighth-largest rail system in the nation.
The system carries 3.6 million total carloads or nearly 228 million total tons of freight.
The railroads provide an important pathway for movement of taconite pellets from plants on the Iron Range to Lake Superior ports and inland steel mills and a wide variety of agricultural commodities to market.
Minnesota railroads rank first in the nation in the movement of iron ore and third and fourth, respectively, in the origination of farm and food products.
The railroads are divided into three classes by the Surface Transportation Board:
A total of 3,246 miles, or 72 percent of the track mileage, is owned by the state's Class I railroads.
Regional railroads are line-haul carriers operating at least 350 miles of road and/or earning revenue exceeding $40 million, but less than a Class I railroad. Regional and short-line railroads generally are lighter-density lines that have been spun off by a Class I carrier.
Class I Railroads and Their Minnesota Track Mileage
Class II Railroads and Their Minnesota Track Mileage
Class III Railroads and Their Minnesota Track Mileage
All carrier-owned railroad track in Minnesota must comply with safety standards set forth by the Federal Railroad Administration and is subject to periodic inspections.
About two-thirds of the track in the state is FRA Class 3 or 4, permitting freight trains to operate at speeds up to 40 and 60 mph, respectively.
Passenger and Commuter Rail