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Freight Rail

The economic vitality of Washington state requires a strong rail system capable of providing its businesses, ports and farms with competitive access to North American and international markets.

Screenshot of the Rail by Owner map
Enlarge Rail System Map
(pdf 2 mb)

There are over 3,000 miles of railroad lines in Washington, providing mobility for freight and passengers moving into, out of, within, and through the state.

Two Class I railroads, the BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific Railroad, as well as 23 short-line railroads, operate through communities in Washington.

The Palouse River and Coulee City (PCC) rail system, owned and operated by WSDOT, is the longest short-line freight rail system in Washington. WSDOT contracts with private railroads to operate each of the branches.

Railroads in Washington play a major role in the movement of a broad range of products and commodities--consumer electronics to heavy bulk goods--for local production and consumption, as well as for consumer markets in the U.S. and internationally.

What's Recent:

Request for Proposals to manage and operate a branch of short line railroad
WSDOT’s Rail, Freight, and Ports Division has issued a Request for Proposals to provide rail management and operating services for the P&L branch of the Palouse River and Coulee City Railroad. Letters of intent to submit are due March 22, 2019.

The 2017-2027 Grain Train Strategic Plan pdf 2mb is complete. This plan includes history of the program and outlines the vision and goals for the program as well as identifying operational improvements and policy changes that will ensure the program continues to enhance the economic competitiveness of Washington state. (Those needing the plan in an alternate format should submit a request at

The Washington Produce Rail Car Program is no longer funded. Therefore this program is no longer available.


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