Rail Powers Idaho’s Economy

Since Idaho’s statehood in 1890, rail transportation has been vital to the Gem State’s growth. Two of Idaho’s most important industries, agribusiness and the extraction of raw materials, continue to rely on rail service to connect to markets across the continent.

Idaho's 10 freight railroads operate over 1,654 miles of track and employ 1,176 in the Gem State.* It would have taken approximately 486,000 additional truckloads to move the 6.7 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Idaho in 2021. Moving freight by rail prevented 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 333,000 cars off the road or planting 25.7 million trees. Food products and nonmetallic minerals make up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in Idaho. Nonmetallic minerals, farm products and chemicals are the largest rail imports to the state.

*2021 data

Rail at Work


See All

Featured Rail Supply Companies


See All
Wabtec Corporation


44 percent

in rail rates on average from 1981 to today.

That means the average rail customer today can ship significantly more freight for about the same price they paid 40 years ago.