BASIC TYPES OF RAILROADS


  • Logging
  • Industrial
  • Belt Lines
  • Short Lines
  • Transfer Lines
  • Main Lines

General Description of the types

  • 1. LOGGING RAILROADS are usually less than 30 or so miles long and are used to haul timber from in the woods to the nearest branch of another larger line. These roads use smaller locomotives, and many times are narrow gauge.
  • 2. INDUSTRIAL RAILROADS are used primarily in large industrial plants. Smaller switch engines are used to relocate and spot carloads of materials which were delivered to or will be picked up at the interchange by another line.
  • 3. BELT LINE RAILROADS are usually joint ventures of several larger lines and are used to transfer carloads of material between yards of these lines. Belt lines use a variety of engines from switchers to large road types. Belt lines vary in length from a few miles to several hundred.
  • 4. SHORT LINE RAILROADS are created by some large industries to connect from the industry to the nearest Main line. Freight traffic, from other industries on this line, are carried to the Main line. Short lines can be a few miles or several hundred in length. A variety of engines are used, often switchers running in multiple or the smaller road types.
  • 5. TRANSFER RAILROADS are specialty types of operations generally used to transfer freight traffic from the Short line or Main line to a water based carrier such as ships or barges. Transfer lines are usually very short, say less than 10 miles. A variety of engines are used, switchers in multiple, road types or sometimes units designed specifically for transfer duty.
  • 6. MAIN LINE RAILROADS are those which move a variety of freight over long distances and which have several branch lines connecting along the way. Many main lines are transcontinental in operation and connect to many other main lines at various points. All types of engines are used, generally in multiple lash-ups.
  • S.A. McCall