When we look at railroads today, it’s easy to focus on the large, Class I railroads. But they’re only one part of the story.
A significant portion of the railroad story is the more than 600 short line and regional railroads. Some run just a few miles, while others cover hundreds of miles.
To the shippers on these lines, short lines and regional railroads are an indispensable part of the nation’s rail network.
To gain a better understanding of short line and regional railroads, their outlook for the year and how they are weathering the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the opportunity to connect with Chuck Baker, president of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association.
Here is what he had to say.
— Todd DeFeo
- Intro: “Waiting on My Train to Come,” recorded live at the Southeastern Railway Museum on Aug. 2, 2020. Written by Todd DeFeo, (c) 2006, 2020 by Todd DeFeo (ASCAP). From “A Guy Walks Into a Train Museum.”
- Diesel Horn: Recorded at the Southeastern Railway Museum on Nov. 14, 2020.
- Steam Train: 1880s Train, recorded Sept. 12, 2020, in Hill City, South Dakota.
- This conversation has been edited slightly to remove some brief moments of silence and snippets of dialogue for the sake of clarity.