Freight Rail Ready to Facilitate Future Growth in Montana
With the Treasure State’s population forecast to grow by more than 60 percent between 2005 and 2030, freight transportation demand can be expected to rise sharply. Freight rail already plays a lead role in transporting Montana coal, minerals, ores and grain to global markets and it will continue to be a key tool as the state accommodates future growth.
Montana's six freight railroads operate over 3,570 miles of track and employ 3,170 in the Treasure State.* It would have taken approximately 7 million additional truckloads to move the 125.2 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Montana in 2019. Moving freight by rail prevented 4.19 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 822,000 cars off the road or planting 63.5 million trees. Coal and farm products make up the majority of freight rail shipments beginning in Montana. Petroleum and chemicals are the largest rail imports to the state.