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2018 Market Analysis & Industry Outlook: Short Line Railroads

Overview of the U.S. Short Line Railroads Industry

This section provides answers to key questions about the industry:
  1. What is the total market size (industry revenue)?
  2. What is the industry outlook?
  3. Market Analysis: Is the market growing or declining, and how quickly?
  4. Are long-term forecasts positive or negative?
  5. What is the average company size in the industry?
  6. How many companies are in the industry?

Market Size & Industry Statistics

The total U.S. industry market size for Short Line Railroads: Industry statistics cover all companies in the United States, both public and private, ranging in size from small businesses to market leaders. In addition to revenue, the industry market analysis shows information on employees, companies, and average firm size.

Investors, banks, and business executives use growth rates and industry trends to understand the market outlook and opportunity.

market size 2018
Charts and graphs can be copied to Microsoft Word and Powerpoint presentations.

Statistics 2012        2013        2014        2015        2016        2017
Market Size
(Total Sales/Revenue)

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Total Firms
Total Employees
Average Revenue Per Firm
Average Employees Per Firm
Statistics Source: U.S. Census, AnythingResearch Market Analysis

Market Forecast[PREMIUM]

Market forecasts show the long term industry outlook and future growth trends. The following five-year demand forecast projects both short-term and long-term trends.

market forecast

Forecast / Industry Outlook 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Market Forecast ($ millions)
Projected Industry Growth Rate (%)
Source: AnythingResearch Economic Analysis

U.S. Geographic Distribution: Revenue Statistics by State

Market Size by State ($ millions) indicates how the industry's competition is distributed throughout the country. State-level information can identify areas with higher and lower industry market share than average.

U.S. map of Short Line Railroads by state

Income Statement (Average Financial Metrics)

Financial metrics provide a snapshot view of a benchmark "average" company. Key business metrics show revenue and operating costs. The data collected covers both public and private companies.

Industry AveragePercent of Sales
(Industry Benchmark)
Total Revenue

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Operating Revenue
Cost of Goods Sold
Gross Profit

Operating Expenses
Pension, profit sharing plans, stock, annuity
Rent paid on business property
Charitable Contributions
Domestic production activities deduction
Compensation of officers
Salaries and wages
Employee benefit programs
Taxes and Licenses
Bad Debts
Other Operating Expenses
Total Operating Expenses
Operating Income
Non-Operating Income
EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes)
Interest Expense
Earnings Before Taxes
Income Tax
Net Profit
Source: AnythingResearch Analysis of U.S. federal statistics

Financial Ratio Analysis

Financial ratio information can be used to benchmark how a Short Line Railroads company compares to its peers. Accounting statistics are calculated from the industry-average for income statements and balance sheets.

Profitability & Valuation RatiosIndustry Average
Company valuation can be measured based on the firm's own performance, as well as in comparison against its industry competitors. These metrics show how the average company in the Short Line Railroads industry is performing.
Profit Margin
Gross Profit Margin, Operating Profit Margin, and Net Profit Margin. Show company earnings relative to revenues.
Return on Equity (ROE)
Return on Equity (ROE) is net income as a percentage of shareholders' equity. Shareholders' Equity is defined as the company's total assets minus total liabilities. ROE shows how much profits a company generates with the money shareholders invested (or with retained earnings).
Return on Assets (ROA)
Return on Assets (ROA) is net income relative to total assets. The market research on Short Line Railroads measures how efficiently the company leverages its assets to generate profit. ROA is calculated as Net Income divided by Total Assets.

Liquidity RatiosIndustry Average
Bankers and suppliers use liquidity to determine creditworthiness and identify potential threats to a company's financial viability.
Current Ratio
Measures a firm's ability to pay its debts over the next 12 months.
Quick Ratio (Acid Test)
Calculates liquid assets relative to liabilities, excluding inventories.

Efficiency Ratios - Key Performance IndicatorsIndustry Average
Measure how quickly products and services sell, and effectively collections policies are implemented.
Receivables Turnover Ratio
If this number is low in your business when compared to the industry average in the research report, it may mean your payment terms are too lenient or that you are not doing a good enough job on collections.
Average Collection Period
Based on the Receivables Turnover, this estimates the collection period in days. Calculated as 365 divided by the Receivables Turnover
Inventory Turnover
A low turnover rate may point to overstocking, obsolescence, or deficiencies in the product line or marketing effort.
Fixed-Asset Turnover
Generally, higher is better, since it indicates the business has less money tied up in fixed assets for each dollar of sales revenue.

Compensation & Salary Surveys for Employees

Compensation statistics provides an accurate assessment of industry-specific jobs and national salary averages. This information can be used to identify which positions are most common, and high, low, and average annual wages.

TitlePercent of WorkforceBottom Quartile Average (Median) SalaryUpper Quartile
Management Occupations 6%

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Chief Executives0%
General and Operations Managers1%
Office and Administrative Support Occupations 7%
Construction and Extraction Occupations 9%
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations 14%
Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers 7%
Heavy Vehicle and Mobile Equipment Service Technicians and Mechanics 6%
Rail Car Repairers 5%
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations 52%
Rail Transportation Workers 45%
Locomotive Engineers and Operators 18%
Locomotive Engineers 17%
Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators 9%
Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators 9%
Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters 18%
Railroad Conductors and Yardmasters 18%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Short Line Railroads Industry Market Share [PREMIUM]

Largest companies in the industry and related industries, with private company revenue estimates.

CompanyAddressRevenue Estimate

Top Innovators

CompanyInnovation Score
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District

Additional companies, details and innovation scoring in the full report.

Latest Industry News

  • Council approves short line rail comp plan changes - The first step in implementing new state legislation regarding short line railroad development has reached its stride as the Clark County Councilors approved an overlay map and comprehensive plan changes during their Jan. 9 meeting. The councilors voted ... (01/16/2018)
  • Central Maine & Quebec announces new operations leaders - He joined CMQ in March 2015 after 16 years in transportation, engineering and mechanical management positions with railroads owned by short-line holding company RailAmerica and its successor, Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Mowery's new appointment recognizes the ... (01/16/2018)
  • The short line freight railroad tax credit is good public policy - The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill Short line and regional freight railroads are an American success story connecting the rural and industrial heartland to the national rail network, creating jobs and sustaining ... (01/10/2018)
  • FRA proposes giving railroads one-year extension on submitting safety training programs - The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association submitted the petition. According to the Federal Register notice, the petition states that, “extending the one-year delay will allow adequate time to comply with FRA’s review and approval ... (01/08/2018)
  • VIDEO: Short line railroad is a three-generation operation - Two long whistles. A short whistle. And then another long one. There’s no other sound in the world like it. It’s the signal that represents a train is approaching a crossing at a grade. Perched high in the engineer’s seat on one of three locomotives ... (01/01/2018)
  • Dickson Co. industry-supplying railroads threatened, officials say - The short line railroad that serves Dickson County industries is threatened say local leaders and rail officials. Advocates for the South Central Tennessee Railroad, the local short line authority, are looking for “bridge” funding — literally and ... (12/29/2017)
  • Short Line Freight Rail – A Critical Provider Of Cost-Effective Transportation - And Federal Railroad Administration data show short line freight rail is one of the safest modes of transportation, with record low numbers of FRA reportable accidents in 2016. The Short Line Safety Institute, formed in 2015, has assisted in this effort by ... (05/10/2017)
  • Hauling the freight: Oklahoma's short-line railroads keep economy rolling in rural areas - WILBURTON — Listening to Chad Donoley talk of the A-OK Railroad you could tell that he is extremely proud of his family’s short-line railroad. Founded by his father David Donoley in 1996, with only 70 miles of track, the A-OK (Arkansas Oklahoma ... (04/02/2015)
  • Berkshire Hathaway sells 2 short-line railroads - OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett's company has sold two short-line railroads it recently discovered it owned to satisfy regulators who might have reviewed Berkshire Hathaway's 2010 acquisition of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. Berkshire told ... (12/26/2012)

Government Contracts

In 2016, the federal government spent a total of $240,954 on Short Line Railroads. It has awarded 16 contracts to 6 companies, with an average value of $40,159 per company.   

Top government vendors:

CompanyFederal ContractsTotal Award Amount

Segments classified within this market research report

This industry market research report includes companies whose primary business is any of the following:
Railway transportation, short-line or beltline, Beltline railroads, Railroads, Freight railways, Short-line railroads, Railroad transportation, Logging railroads, etc.

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