Illinois Anchors America’s Freight Rail Network

Illinois is literally at the center of the freight rail network, with nearly 50 freight railroads and North America’s busiest rail hub in Chicago. The commitment of the private sector, the city of Chicago and the state and federal governments to the CREATE program shows how important Illinois is to freight rail operations nationwide.

Illinois's 52 freight railroads operate over 6,883 miles of track and employ 11,772 in the Prairie State.* It would have taken approximately 28.2 million additional truckloads to move the 507.4 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Illinois in 2019. Moving freight by rail prevented 12.5 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 2.45 million cars off the road or planting 189 million trees. Intermodal shipments and farm products make up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in Illinois. Intermodal shipments and coal are the largest imports to the state.

*2019 data

Rail at Work


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Featured Rail Advocates

Marcus C. Evans, Jr.
Marcus C. Evans, Jr.
Illinois State Representative
Clayton Harris III
Clayton Harris III
Executive Director, Illinois International Port District

Featured Rail Supply Companies


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Rail Management Services
Professional Transportation, Inc.
Ragnar Benson Construction
Wabtec Corporation
TTX Company
RJ Corman Railroad Group
RailWorks Corporation
Progress Rail Services
New York Air Brake
L.B. Foster Company
Koppers Inc.
Hulcher Services Inc.
Holland LP
EVRAZ North America
Amsted Rail


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. 

State Director

Emily Traiforos

Emily Traiforos

State Director

Emily Traiforos joined GoRail in March 2006 and oversees its operations in the Upper Midwest and Colorado.