Average Speed of Class I Railroads, 1945-2015

Average Speed of Class I Railroads, 1945-2015

Source: Association of American Railroads. Note: Data between 2010 and 2013 is not available.

With deregulation, rail performance, as measured by average speed, improved in the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s. However, the strong growth of rail traffic eventually imposed constraints on the system with a notable degradation of the average speed in the late 1990s and early 2000s due to congestion. As a result, the average speed declined to the 30 kilometers per hour range. However, because of infrastructure investments and the decline of rail traffic resulting from the 2008-09 recession, average speeds improved substantially.