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.