Blue Grass Auto Industry Riding Rail to Success

Kentucky produced more than 1.3 million motor vehicles in 2016, with the Bluegrass State ranking first in the nation on a per capita basis in light vehicle production. Freight railroads play a key role in this success, carrying steel and other inputs to manufacturers and finished autos and auto parts out of Kentucky for distribution.

Kentucky's 13 freight railroads operate over 2,673 miles of track and employ 2,457 in the Bluegrass State.* It would have taken approximately 1.3 million additional truckloads to move the 22.6 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Kentucky in 2021. Moving freight by rail prevented 3.58 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 702,000 cars off the road or planting 54.2 million trees. Coal makes up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning and ending in the commonwealth.

*2021 data

Rail at Work


See All

Featured Rail Advocates

J.D. Chaney
J.D. Chaney
Executive Director/CEO, Kentucky League of Cities

Featured Rail Supply Companies


See All
API Global Solutions
Gregori Construction
The Okonite Company
TTX Company
Stella-Jones Inc.
RJ Corman Railroad Group
RailWorks Corporation
Progress Rail Services
L.B. Foster Company
Koppers Inc.


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

Michael Gaynor

Michael Gaynor

Assistant Vice President, Field Operations

Michael Gaynor manages the field staff and operations for GoRail.