Volunteer State Vies for Top Spot as “America’s Distribution Center”
With multiple state-of-the-art intermodal yards and a solid grounding in the “four R’s” of rail, road, river and runway, Memphis is challenging Chicago as the nation’s principal rail hub. Freight rail in Tennessee doesn’t end in Memphis, however. The Volunteer State’s automotive industry, other manufacturers and communities also look to the state’s solid rail network to connect to national and global markets.
Tennessee's 28 freight railroads operate over 2,604 miles of track and employ 3,305 in the Volunteer State.* It would have taken approximately 11.5 million additional truckloads to move the 206.5 million tons of freight that moved by rail in Tennessee in 2019. Moving freight by rail prevented 2.66 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking 522,000 cars off the road or planting 40.3 million trees. Intermodal traffic make comprises the majority of rail shipments beginning and ending in the state.