Rapid Growth Means Increased Demand for Freight Rail in Grand Canyon State

Long a “bridge state” with rail and highway freight passing through between West Coast ports and markets to the east, Arizona is a rapidly growing destination in itself, with the combined Phoenix and Tucson markets of 2030 on pace to equal or exceed the current scale of greater Los Angeles. The state is looking to railroads to accommodate massive increases in freight transportation demand, and all Arizonans stand to benefit from railroads’ ability to deliver goods safely and efficiently while also saving on fuel and reducing carbon emissions.

Arizona’s 12 freight railroads operate over 1,820 miles of track and employ 2,825 in the Grand Canyon State.* It would have taken approximately 7.2 million additional truckloads to move the 129 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Arizona in 2017. Intermodal and nonmetallic minerals comprise the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in Arizona. Coal is the largest rail import to the state.

*2017 data

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Railway Supply Institute
ITS ConGlobal
TTX Company
Stella-Jones Inc.
RJ Corman Railroad Group
Ames Construction


43 percent

in rail rates, 1981-2014.

That means the average rail customer today can ship nearly twice as much freight for about the same price it paid more than 30 years ago. 

State Director

Brett Sebastian

Brett Sebastian

Brett Sebastian joined GoRail in August 2019 and oversees its operations in the South-Central United States and Arizona.