Strategic Innovations in North American Railroad Management

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

organisation - competition, organisation - management, place - north america, mode - rail


Strategic alliances, Railways, Railroads, North America, Management, Innovation, Freight transportation, Corporate alliances, Competition


Although the railroad industry is often regarded as a declining industry with a decreasing modal share of the nation's freight movement, innovations in railroad management are changing the way rail carriers operate and are leading to operational efficiencies for the rail mode. The formation of strategic alliances is transforming the way North American railroads do business and increasing the hope of creating new opportunities for rail as an economically viable and technologically sophisticated element of North America's surface freight transportation network. This conceptual paper examines the pressures and challenges driving the alliance trend of North American railroads from the standpoint of different competitive arrangements in the context of recent strategic management literature. The competitive dimensions and outcomes of recent railroad alliances are analyzed from a business perspective. The paper concludes with insights about the implications of the emerging alliance paradigm not only for railroad management but also for intermodal freight planning and policy in the new millennium.