Two major railroads serve the state of Nebraska – Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and the Union Pacific. Two short line railroads serve the region surrounding Norfolk. The Nebraska Central serving Norfolk and communities to the south and west connecting with the Union Pacific in Columbus, Nebraska and the Nebraska Northeastern serving communities along U. S. Highway 20 west from Sioux City connecting to the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe at South Sioux City, Nebraska. Both short lines are customer service oriented and provide multiple car movements per day. No major city in the United States is more than five days by rail from Nebraska. An inter-model facility is available in Sioux City eighty-five miles to the northeast.

The Union Pacific maintains headquarters in Omaha and is one of the largest railroads in North America with more than 1,110 miles of track in Nebraska. North Platte, located in west-central Nebraska, is the site of Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard, the largest rail freight car classification yard in the world. Union Pacific’s main line in central Nebraska is the busiest rail freight corridor in the world, with more than 130 trains operating over the line every 24 hours.

The Burlington Northern Santa Fe, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, is one of the nation’s largest railroads with 33,500 route miles of track in 28 states and two Canadian provinces, including approximately 1,700 route miles in Nebraska. Burlington Northern Santa Fe has rail yards in Alliance, Lincoln, McCook, and Omaha and mechanical shops in Alliance and Lincoln.