What is a short line railroad?
A short line railroad provides the same services as a larger railroad, just over a smaller area than one of the Class 1 railroads (such as Norfolk Southern or CSX).
If a short line provides the same services as a larger railroad, why should I use a short line?
The short line is a local company with local offices, and people who pay personal attention to your shipments and needs. This personal attention allows you to better schedule your material movements, and manage your transportation costs.
My supplier isn't located on the short line. Can I still use the short line?
Absolutely. All of New Jersey's short lines connect with the North American rail network, allowing shipments from the US, Canada, and Mexico to be shipped both in and out of the state. The short line can help you with setting up rates and getting cars to move your shipment in, and many of the railroads are served by more than one Class 1 carrier, so competitive rates can be created.
I don't have a rail siding at my business location, can I still get rail service?
Yes. If your business is located next to a railroad, but you don't have a siding to unload on, the short line can help your business to build a siding. If your business is not near a railroad, most short lines have public team tracks available at little or no cost that your business could use to receive and unload cars. A short-haul trucker can be used to move your shipments to your place of business.
Why don't I just use truck for the whole shipment?
A railcar can hold three to four times what a single truck can hold. The railcar does not have the same unloading time cost requirements that a truck has, so you can unload the car to your schedule, not the trucker's. The freight rate for a single car is usually very competitive to the three or four truck load equivalents, and when combined with the ease of scheduling and the superior service provided by the short line, the scales are usually tipped in the short line's favor.