Freight Rail Key to Economic Future in Great Lakes State

From the auto industry and other manufacturers to mining and agriculture, Michigan’s productive freight rail network provides key connections to keep the Great Lakes State economy moving forward. Accounting for about one-third of all U.S. exports, freight rail is a big reason Michigan is a top-10 exporter state.

Michigan's 29 freight railroads operate over 3,429 miles of track and employ 2,352 in the Great Lakes State.* It would have taken approximately 1.2 million additional truckloads to move the 20.9 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Michigan in 2021. Moving freight by rail prevented 6.97 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.37 million cars off the road or planting 105.6 million trees. Motor vehicles and parts and intermodal shipments make up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in Michigan. Intermodal and coal are the largest rail imports to the state.

*2021 data

Rail at Work


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Featured Rail Supply Companies


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Parsec, Inc.
Gregori Construction
Wabtec Corporation
TTX Company
Progress Rail Services
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.