Present at the Creation, Beehive State Still Vital Link in Transcontinental Rail Network
Those present in May of 1869 when the “golden spike” was driven at Promontory Summit to commemorate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad could little have imagined what railroads would become in the 21st century. Yesterday’s steam locomotives have been replaced with double-stack intermodal trains, and Utah is now a major mid-continent staging area for goods destined to reach consumers all across America.
Utah's eight freight railroads operate over 1,385 miles of track and employ 1,371 in the Beehive State.* It would have taken approximately 3.1 million additional truckloads to move the 55.8 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Utah in 2019. Moving freight by rail prevented 1.46 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 286,000 cars off the road or planting 22.1 million trees. Intermodal and coal comprise the majority of freight rail shipments beginning and ending in Utah.