Industry Database

Operations SIG is compiling a list of industries throughout North America for use in creating waybills for traffic moving to, from or via model railroads.

Some operators feel that offline origin/destination information is unnecessary or a distraction for crews "in the heat of" an operating session. These persons are excused at this point. If you would like to add offline, customer or commodity information to the waybills or switchlists you use to move model traffic, read on.

Currently there are about 40,000 industries in our directory (still being accumulated). Industries are predominantly actual companies located on prototype railroads, but we also include some industries on model railroads because some users enjoy including them in their routings. These are specifically identified, however, so those who prefer to exclude them can do so.

We welcome submissions of industry data from more model railroads. Ideally data can be sent by email, or single-file attachments to email, to . Best formats are Excel or CSV.

The files contain the following data for each industry ("industries" are not just factories but also grain elevators, mines, etc -- customers -- but omit freight stations, team tracks, icing facilities, etc which are "everywhere"):

1Era or approx date of facility observation (eg 50 for year 1950) - > means "after"
2Industry/company name
4State (2 characters, capitalized eg OH) or province (MX=Mexico)
5 Serving railroad initials; if model railroad, follow with "*"
Railroads are, to extent possible, 1950s era.
Where more than one RR serves a town and we do not know which serves the plant, all (or several) are shown prefixed by "*" Our assumption is that the industry is open to reciprocal switching. Shortlines are listed with their (Class I connections) in parentheses. 
6S=ships, R=receives (predominant type of shipment) - "blank" means either S=ships or else "not sure whether S or R"
We assume inputs received may be inferred from the product produced. For example, paper mills receive pulpwood, chemicals, woodpulp, fuel, kaolin, etc. The file InputOutput.txt provides suggestions for such relationships. For paper in particular, see also PaperChemicals.txt
7Commodity (principal product[s] shipped or received)
8STCC (commodity grouping code) if available
9where shown, "yes" means open to reciprocal switching, "no" means not open
10Source of data (from whom received)

Files are text format with tabs separating columns.

The following information is provided for industries on model railroads, so users know how to route traffic to/from their own lines. This is compiled in OfficialGuide.txt:

1model RR initials followed by "*"
2line number (see fields 9 & 10 below)
3railroad name - if portion of a prototype RR, fields 7-10 not needed, refer to prototype Official Guide
4owner name
5owner's location city & state
6owner email address (or phone)
7for ENTIRE railroad, extreme north or east location (eg Chicago IL)
8for ENTIRE railroad, extreme south or west location (eg Memphis TN)
9principal connecting PROTOTYPE railroads (eg SOU) - one per line, use field 2 line numbering, as many lines as needed, other data need not be repeated
10junction city for field 9 railroad (eg Carbondale)
11description of portion of 7-8 MODELED (eg Champaign IL - Carbondale IL)
12comments (eg "Dec 95 and Apr 00 MR" or "connects with all Chgo and Memphis lines")

The database consists of four files of approximately 10,000 records each. The files and states contained are as follows:

OpSigSTH.txt - VA NC SC GA FL AL MS KY TN WV MO AR LA TX OK KS plus Mexico. Some Kansas City industries show state=MK
OpSigWST.txt - WA OR ID MT WY AK CO NM UT AZ NV CA plus all Canada

We have begun an update of the text files above, and the first two files are available in Excel format:
These files have additions, but are otherwise unchanged from the original data:

Dave Husman of the Yahoo! Group has made the data 'database friendly', in his words:
"I made three passes through it changing all the years to 4 digit years, identifying commodities with multiple listings, separating the listings into individual records, adding a few alternative listings and finally correcting and normalizing commodity names."

Jerry Britton, publisher of the Keystone Crossings web site specific to the Pennsylvania Railroad, offers industry files for the PRR's vast network. Please visit

Tom Jacobs provided a link to the Reading Lines 1954 Freight Shippers' Guide available in PDF format. 

We welcome corrections and additions, especially industries on other operating model railroads. Note that this is only an exchange of information and we are not planning or offering any physical exchange of cars. I look forward to hearing from you.

A list of "all" current UP shortline connections is at Each one has a description, many including specific customer names.

Current UP industries at reciprocal switching locations are listed at