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 seven freight railroads operate over 1,351 miles of track and employ 1,659 in the Beehive State.* It would have taken approximately 3.5 million additional truckloads to move the 63.2 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Utah in 2014. Intermodal shipments and coal comprise the majority of freight rail shipments beginning and ending in Utah.