Home Skip to main content

Research Reports
Report Details

Title:Grain Transportation in the Great Plains Region in a Post-Rationalization Environment, Volume 1: Railroad Rationalization: Efficiency Gains and Impacts in Grain Producing Regions
Authors:Denver Tolliver and John Bitzan
Publication Date:Dec 2005
Report #:DP-170
TRID #:01681529
Keywords:abandonment, economic impacts, freight transportation, grain, railroad traffic, railroad transportation
Type:Research Report – Department Publications



Railroad and grain elevator rationalization have changed farm-to-market transportation in the western United States. Railroad route miles have declined from approximately 230,00 in 1929 to 171,000 today. Over the same period, average railroad traffic density (as measured in revenue ton-miles per mile of road) has increased from 1.95 million to 14.42 million. The concentration of railroad traffic on mainline routes has resulted in significant economies of scale or utilization and lower real freight rates. However, fewer elevators exist today. As a result, farmers are facing longer delivery trips than ever before.

Related Reports

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050