With 140,000 miles of railroads, the United States is home to the most efficient, reliable and affordable rail system in the world. This railroad network is privately owned and operates almost entirely free of taxpayer support. From 1980 to 2014, railroads reinvested approximately $575 billion in the railroad to improve capacity while maintaining safety.
The Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad (PSAP) is a short line railroad, which means it carries freight for its first or last mile before reaching ports, businesses or interchanges with other railroads. PSAP transports freight over 108 miles of track in Northwest Washington. Larger railroads form the arterials of the nation’s railroad network, receiving freight from short lines like PSAP and transporting them across the country. These larger railroads are classified as Class 1 railroads and include transcontinental carriers such as Union Pacific and BNSF Railway. Short lines are important because of their relationships with communities that rely on rail transportation for many of their small businesses. Read about the history of short line railroads.
Freight rail can move one ton of goods 473 miles on a single gallon of fuel, making it the most environmentally sound way to move goods over land. In today’s global economy, American railroads also play a key role in America’s ability to compete in markets around the world by hauling approximately one-third of U.S. exports to ports and other distribution centers. PSAP employs 43 highly skilled professionals who enjoy high wages and benefits, technical training and professional growth opportunities. In Washington State, there are 4,000 railroad employees and the freight rail industry employs more than 180,000 nationwide.
Throughout its history, PSAP has been the vital link and has brought jobs and prosperity to Washington. As a military strategic railroad, it continues to play an important role in our region’s strength and prosperity.