Short line railroads are looking for some $400 million for infrastructure improvements in the next three months and approximately $1.2 billion over the next six months, according to the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). The railroads believe such funds could also help them win more freight business from the trucking industry.

Short line railroads, which operate approximately 50,000-track mi., said that unlike highways, they control right-of-way and the timing of traffic, making them a more efficient choice for freight movement. “Replacing rails and ties and rebuilding equipment is an on-going process for railroads,” said ASLRRA President Frank Turner. “It is just a matter of money.”

Last year, Turner added, a study commissioned by ASLRRA found that that nation's short lines needed to spend $6.86 billion to upgrade their physical plant to allow for the safe and effective operation of the new heavier rail cars being introduced by the Class I, or longhaul, railroads.