The Shortline Railroad Operation industry comprises railroads that primarily handle the switching of Class 1 railroad cars, forming an important part of the short-range logistics of long-distance rail transport. Like the other rail industries, demand is tied closely to the performance of the economy at large, particularly the mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors. Thus, the recession caused industry revenue to fall sharply in 2008 and 2009; with the uptick in downstream markets in 2010, the industry recovered quickly. Changing environmental concerns, however, such as the trend away from coal and toward natural gas, may damage the industry's long-term prospects.
Industry operators fall into two categories: local railroads and switching and terminal railroads. Local railroads are line-haul railroads that generate less than $34.7 million in operating revenue. Switching & Terminal railroads are those jointly owned by two parties to facilitate the transferring of cars between railroads. By conventional standards, all Class III railroads are called shortline railroad operators while Class II operators are referred to as regional railroads.
This report covers the scope, size, disposition and growth of the industry including the key sensitivities and success factors. Also included are five year industry forecasts, growth rates and an analysis of the industry key players and their market shares.