BVM August, 2016 - page 110

110 Business View Magazine - August 2016
The American Short Line and
Regional Railroad Association
Small customers are not small customers to small railroads
All railroads in America began as short lines. From the
first commercial railroad, the Granite Railway, built in
1826, to haul granite blocks from Quincy, Massachu-
setts to the Neponset River for trans-shipment to Bos-
ton, these independent, short line operations were fi-
nanced and built by 19th century, entrepreneurial risk
takers, within the communities they served, in order to
move freight and people in local commerce.
As the nation grew, and by the time the century had
ended, more and more short lines were consolidated
into regional systems that served ever widening areas
of the country. These large railroads were owned by a
coterie of wealthy industrialists (sometimes known as
barons), and their shareholders. Those independent
railway lines that either were not subsumed into these
systems, or over time, became marginal and unprofit-
able branches for the major lines that did own them,
became the core of today’s short line railroad industry.
The American Short Line and Regional Railroad As-
sociation (ASLRRA) has been the voice of the short
line industry since 1913, when 22 short line railroad
managers met in Atlanta, GA, to form the Short Line
Railroad Association (SLRA) of the Southeast. The new
organization’s central purpose was to deal with legis-
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