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Freight and freight capacity

  • 56.2 million tons of freight originated in Iowa and 42.9 million tons of freight terminated in the state. (2011)

  • Railroads are critically important to Iowa’s agricultural industry. Farm, food, chemicals and ethanol products  account for 90 percent by weight of the rail shipments originating in Iowa.  (2011)

  • Coal, farm products, chemicals and food products make up 88 percent by weight of the rail shipments terminating in Iowa.  (2011)

  • 259.3 million tons of freight traveled through the state to other destinations. (2011)

  • Since 1985, the tons of rail freight originating, terminating or traveling through Iowa has more than doubled.  (2011)

  • Iowa railroads move goods in 100 to 110-ton cars and in trains that are 100-plus cars long. One covered hopper car is capable of hauling 3,500 - 3,900 bushels of grain, which is equivalent to approximately four semi tractor-trailers.

  • It would require over  500,000 semi tractor trailer loads to move the same amount of grain originated by Iowa's railroads (13.2 million tons) in the year 2011.

  • Iowa's rail system moves more freight over fewer miles of track. Between 1985 and 2010, net ton-miles have tripled while rail-miles have fallen by nearly 800 miles. (2011)