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Top 5 North American railroads (operating revenue)

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What are the biggest railroads in North America as judged by operating revenue?

According to 2009 results the largest railroads were:

  1. BNSF $ 14,124,000,000
  2. Union Pacific $ 14,117,000,000
  3. CSX $ 8,170,000,000
  4. Norfolk Southern $ 7,969,000,000
  5. Canadian National $ 6,451,000,000

Out of these revenues, the railroads must pay their expenses including salaries, operating costs, taxes (Federal, State, Local) and also reinvestment in their infrastructure.

These "super-railroads" have been formed through mergers of many smaller railroads over the last 40 years.

The question always will be, are there more mergers coming? The last round of mega-mergers in the industry in the late 1990s caused severe traffic issues and has lead many to believe that future mergers would be more difficult to approve.

Source: American Association of Railroads (


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