41 railroads currently operate in Illinois
Illinois is at the center of the nation’s rail network with approximately 9,982 miles of railroad tracks.
Large freight Class I railroad companies, such as BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad, operate 7,792 miles of railroad track. Smaller regional Class II and Class III railroad companies operate the remaining 2,190 miles of track. A total of 49 freight railroads currently operate in Illinois. They range in size from a short one-mile interstate carrier to larger railroads extending from Illinois to the West and East Coasts, Gulf of Mexico, Canada, and Mexico.
These 49 freight railroads are able to provide service from Illinois to every part of the United States. Chicago is the largest US rail gateway. Rail’s importance to the Chicago region and State of Illinois is highlighted by the fact that over 1,300 freight, passenger and commuter trains pass through the Chicago region every day. Illinois has over 12,000 freight railroad workers. Illinois handles over 488 million tons of freight that originates, terminates or moves through Illinois.