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Missouri Department of Transportation

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Long-Range Transportation PlanPolicy and Implementation: Freight Rail 


Freight rail is another area studied in the Long-Range Transportation Direction.  Since the freight rail lines are owned by private companies, no government funding is provided, nor is any planned in the foreseeable future.  MoDOT, however, is adopting policies that will help to ensure the continued survival of the small rail lines.

There are three levels of rail carriers:  Class I, Class II and Class III.  Class I carriers are large entities, with annual gross revenues of at least $250 million.  Class II Carriers are slightly smaller operations with annual gross revenues being between  $20 and $250 million. The needs that will be addressed by MoDOT and the Long-Range Transportation Direction are based on the condition of the 130 main-line track miles owned and operated by Class III carriers.  These carriers are small, with annual gross revenues of less than $20 million and usually do not have the capital to upgrade their systems.  These small rail carriers are important economic generators for the communities and businesses they support.

Approximately half the 130 miles operated by Class III carriers need immediate major upgrades to enable them to connect to the larger freight line systems.  Much of the remaining Class III system needs minor upgrading.  An estimated 40 bridges on the Class III system need complete reconstruction and another 70 bridges require rehabilitation. 

Table 5
Class III Freight Rail Investment Goals
(millions of dollars)

20-Year Capital Investment

Freight Rail

Cost to Achieve Desired Result

Major Upgrades


Minor Upgrades


Bridge Upgrades




To ensure continued viability of freight rail in Missouri, MoDOT will implement the following policies.

MoDOT will coordinate with Class I and II carriers to address track abandonment in an effort to help preserve the rail right-of-way for future rail use and work to minimize adverse economic impacts on communities affected by rail abandonments.

MoDOT will work to enhance access of Class II and Class III carriers with Class I carriers and to support efforts to maintain the Class III rail system at appropriate condition levels.

MoDOT will continue the grade-crossing improvement program.MoDOT will work with railroads to provide a safe and efficient railroad system that operates at minimum risk to persons and property.

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