Freight Rail Helps Keep Washington Evergreen and Ever Growing
More than twice as export-intensive as the average U.S. state, Washington and its manufacturers, farms and communities rely on freight rail to move commodities and products from inland locations to seaports. By one conservative estimate, well over 300,000 jobs — or 10 percent of total Evergreen State employment — exist because of the economic dynamism enabled by freight rail.
Washington's 30 freight railroads operate over 2,891 miles of track and employ 4,435 in the Evergreen State.* It would have taken approximately 7.4 million additional truckloads to move the 133.4 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Washington in 2019. Moving freight by rail prevented 5.92 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.16 million cars off the road or planting 89.7 million trees. Intermodal, mostly originating at the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, make up the largest part of freight rail shipments beginning in Washington. Intermodal and farm products are the largest rail imports to the state.